Debut delight on Bennett’s mind ahead of second World Championships

Debut delight on Bennett’s mind ahead of second World Championships

10 August 2017 / 17:38

When it comes to World Championship or Olympic Games debuts, rower Karen Bennett made sure to leave her mark.

And as she prepares to take to the boat for her second Worlds, two years after her maiden silver-medal success, the achievements of the past are still yet to sink in.

Bennett heads to Florida next month as part of the women’s eight team, the same boat in which she won Olympic silver in Rio last year, already feeling like a different rower since then.

Success has seemingly come in the stride of the 28-year-old, and with thijusts her second crack at the worlds, the onus is on finding out just how much she has learnt about herself.

“It’s really exciting, to be named in the squad for a second time is fantastic, I’ve got some great memories from my debut two years ago in France and I’m loving racing again,” she explained.

“From two years ago I feel very different as a rower, I’ve learnt a lot along the way with the Olympic Games and now I’m able to bring that forward, pass on to the other girls and make the squad as strong as possible.

“I’ve learnt relaxation is the way forward because I found you can easily get too tense and you get into a position where you don’t perform as well as you want to.

“Mentally it’s been about keeping my cool, that’s something I’ve picked up so much in the past two years and it's given me so much confidence.

“The girls I rowed with last year gave me a massive step forward, they helped me learn as much as I could and the chance to row with them was something I wanted to take forward as much as possible.”

Bennett will be part of a 64-strong team which includes four Olympic gold-medal winning athletes, and 14 Olympians in total, as they steel themselves for the Championships in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, between September 24 and October 1.

Her selection in the eights was far from a straightforward choice for someone who has become rather versatile, picking up either an Olympic, World or European medal in the coxless pairs, coxless fours and eights.

Now, as she prepares to once again marshal a relatively inexperienced crew in the eight in Florida, her focus is undoubtedly looking forward after finishing the World Cup series with bronze in Lucerne.

“Even now, everything I’ve done feels very surreal,” she explained. “Sometimes when I do get the time to sit and relax, it’s not always the first thing you think of but you do remember all the achievements from people who you aspired to.

“I have so much respect for them and thought how amazing it would be to follow in their footsteps and now, as an Olympic and world medallist, I still can’t believe I am one of those people I used to look up to.

“My aim was to make sure 2017 started well, I would have been quite disappointed if I hadn’t done as well as previous years, things have been up and down this year with fitness, new people battling to be in the squad and having a longer break took its toll early on.

“I’m really pleased with how the season has gone so far, if we keep progressing with how we want to into the World Championships then that would be a great way to end the first year of the Olympic cycle."

Sportsbeat 2017

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