4:42pm Friday 27th June 2014
Exclusive By Andrew Simpson
LUCY Burgess knows what she wants.
In truth she has for a long time, except now it feels within reach.
“I’ve been clear for a while on where I want to get to,” she said.
That destination is Italy, where next month the World Championship for under 23s takes place.
If selected, the Northwich Rowing Club star wants to return from there with a medal.
Gold in colour, of course.
Before then there is work to do, time to improve.
Burgess, now 20, has been training with a newly-formed quad scull in the past couple of months.
After wins during the Metropolitan Regatta and then at Henley Women’s Regatta last Sunday, the signs are encouraging.
She said: “We’ve gelled unbelievably quickly considering how new everything is.
“That’s boosted our confidence, now we want to crack on.
“This is the most positive I’ve felt, which is great.
“We still need to be faster, but it’s achievable to find the speed we’re missing in the time we have before the world championships.
“We won’t get cocky though.”
And with good motive.
Burgess, talking to the Guardian at her home club with the River Weaver basking in the sunshine as a backdrop, is cautious for a reason.
She has represented Great Britain twice at a junior world championship, finishing seventh both times.
“That’s what is spurring me on,” she added.
“It’s keeping everybody focused, because the other girls in the boat have been through a similar experience of not quite reaching a target.
“I’ve noticed a change as you get older too.
“As under 23s, we’re expected to step up eventually to the senior ranks and later the Olympic Games.
“If we can win medals at this level, then we’ll be taken seriously.”
Not that Burgess, who juggles her time between training alone at Northwich and with the British squad at Caversham, does not find time for fun.
She laughs loudly when recounting tales from training of teasing GB Rowing coach Peter Sheppard along with crewmates Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne, Jo Wratten and Holly Nixon.
“We drive him mad,” she added.
“When you live in each other’s pockets, you become very close. We miss each other now when we’re apart.
“In this boat it’s clear already there are big characters.
“I prefer that though – we’re comfortable saying what we think without worrying about it. If that means it’s tense sometimes, then I don’t mind. It just shows how much we care.”
Next up is the Holland Beker Regatta in Amsterdam this weekend.
After that, Henley.
Burgess said: “These are a series of stepping stones to help us move in the right direction.
“Women’s Henley last weekend was one, the Met regatta another.
“Each time we’ll hopefully be pushed harder – it’s hard to hit top speed on the water when you know a race is won already.
“Everything is in place for us; we’ve just got to worry about doing well.”
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