It’s been a busy few months for cox Autumn Mackay who was selected to represent GB at the U23 world championships in Poznan this summer.
Off the back of winning the Championship 8+ category with the GB U23/FISU composite crew at Women’s Henley, Autumn spent several weeks at the GB training centre trialling for a seat at the World Championships. Once several crew combinations had been tested it was confirmed an 8 would be selected for the Worlds team. Up against tough competition Autumn worked hard during the final trials period and in mid-July she learnt she had been successfully selected for the seat.
The hard work continued as the crew were training full time heading into the championships, training 2-3 times a day including water and land training. After several weeks the boats were loaded onto the trailer and the athletes packed their bags to fly out to Poznan. With 6 days of water training ahead of the event the team were able to acclimatise to their surroundings and take time to practice on the lake.
Racing started for the Women’s 8+s with heats on the Thursday. Knowing that the first two crews to cross the finish line would progress directly to the A final, the GB crew put down a confident row, winning the race to secure their spot alongside the Netherlands (beating Australia and Romania). Avoiding the repechage meant the crew had two days recovery and preparation for their Sunday final.
Sunday morning saw the GB crew line up against Canada, USA, Netherlands, Germany and Australia for the A Final. Autumn described her race experience:
“It was the closest race from start to finish that the members of the crew had ever experienced with the positions changing every few strokes. This meant I had to be thinking very quickly to keep the girls updated with what position we were in at all times. Coming into the final stages of the race we knew that a medal was within our grasp. As we approached the finish line we were moving through the USA, however the race finished just a fraction too soon for us to overtake for the bronze medal, leaving us in 4th position by just 0.2 seconds. The whole experience was incredible and despite the initially disappointing result the overriding emotion became pride. We were proud of the row knowing we left everything we had out there on the water. Such a close finish has left us all with fire in our bellies for the upcoming year. I was extremely proud to represent Great Britain at the U23 World Championships and look forward to seeing what the year ahead may bring with the support of UB Sport”.
And proud coach Tania Griffin said that Autumn’s achievement was well-deserved.
“Autumn has worked so hard this year and we couldn’t be prouder to see her representing on the world stage. She has excelled and I’m excited to see her progression in the sport”.
1 CAN Canada 06:04.610
2 NED Netherlands 06:06.580
3 USA United States 06:08.040
4 GBR Great Britain 06:08.230
5 GER Germany 06:08.940
6 AUS Australia 06:17.230
Photo credit: Tania Griffin