One of the most notable rowing events of this year was Olivia Caesar narrowly missing out on making the Great Britain team against France in their annual rowing match by 0.8 of a second.¬† However later she found out that she was selected as the travelling reserve. Caesar‚ôs campaign for her first opportunity of National representation started with a time trial event at the National Watersports Centre, Nottingham.¬† All eleven girls who were put forward for contention for the event had proved themselves in National events during the season.
The single scull is the most prestigious sculling event and one which has been filled previously by current GB Rio squad rowing stars. Trialling is always a very tough business. The criteria stated that the winner would gain selection but a race off would be held if less than a second split the fastest scullers.¬† Olivia rowed an impressive time trial and had barely set her boat on the racks when she was asked to take to the water again.¬† She was one of two scullers within a second of each other, Monkton‚ôs Caesar (the fastest English sculler) and Strathclyde‚ôs Payne (the fastest Scottish sculler).¬† The two girls had effectively to race off for the opportunity of gaining their first British vest.¬† Match racing is tough at the best of times but this was brutal; a real case of winner takes all. On the line it was a photo finish, both girls collapsing with sheer exhaustion.¬† They sat on the water with no idea of the verdict.¬† It was declared a dead heat ‚ď very, very rare in rowing as a result.¬† On count back to the time trial the Scottish girl had put down the quickest time and so gained the right of passage to represent Great Britain.¬† Olivia‚ôs amazing performance had her coach and watching family in complete awe; this girl can certainly do it in the future. A massive step forward. In recognition of her potential the GB team selectors asked if she would be the travelling spare so, although it isn‚ôt what she had trained for all year, Olivia gained her first GB Vest.
The race against the French reserve was a tight affair with the French sculler using her home advantage and taking the win. The whole experience has whet Olivia‚ôs appetite for international recognition - something which she will work hard to achieve. #ThisGirlCan