As you know, last week took place the olympic trials in Pau. This event was the main goal for me since 2012, since I started picturing myself at the olympics. Despite two long years of knee injuries, I managed to get to these selections strong and confident. I know I’ve worked well since I started paddling again in last april, especially this year in Prague, and race simulations in Pau as well as national races made me confident in my chances to go to Rio.
Tuesday, on the first day of competition, I managed to respect my project (rare thing before this year) and did a great run in final. I was really disappointed to finish 6 with a run so close to my best level… Why ? First, because you don’t get the Olympic spot by paddling near to your best level, you need to be better than that, and Denis Gargaud, Marie-Zelia Lafont, Sebastien Combot, and Klauss/Peche have shown that this week ! Also because my navigation, and I understood that by watching Denis, had limits. « Don’t confound speed and precipitation », how many times did my former coach Medhi Deguil said this to me ? Finally because I didn’t learnt the lessons from the best paddlers before the trials, cause I was so centered on myself.
Knowing that if I kept paddling like that, I would do great races but would never achieve something better than a 5th place, I decided to change my paddling. More efficiency, more power, let the boat live on its own, and sometimes go for kayak trajectories ! Of course, you don’t change your paddling style in 2 days, and I paid it thursday as I didn’t passed through the qualifications. But I saw the intentions were better, and I kept in this direction. The result is this nice 2nd place in qualifications saturday, despite some approximations. And I got myself to a position in final where I had every cards in my hand, aware that most paddlers did a bad final, and that I could win the race and go to the senior team.
I screwed it. Which will be second main lesson of my week.
In the end, I’m both disappointed and satisfied of these trials. Disappointed because I made a huge mistake in choosing the way I wanted to paddle these recent years. Of course the injury kind of forced me to focus on getting back to my best level before changing everything, but I can’t accept that as an excuse. Disappointed also because I could do it saturday and I missed my shot.
Satisfied because all my other choices were good, and I got much better physically and mentally this year. The paddling style I want to enhance now is also a reason to be satisfied, as it’s the first time since 2012 I have a clear paddling style objective.
Now I’ll take some rest after these 3 exhausting days on the road, and get back to work tomorrow to go for the world title U23 in july !!!
See you, and big thanks to my family, friends and club who cheered for me, and big thanks to my sponsor that allow me to keep going in this adventure 🙂