Persse, Smith upbeat | SASCOC - SASCOC

Persse, Smith upbeat

By Mark Etheridge

Despite ending sixth and last in the women’s pairs at the recent World Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland, our two rowing aces are both confident ahead of the final pull to the London Olympics.

Lee-Anne Persse and Naydene Smith did well to reach the final given the circumstances surrounding the build-up.

A back injury saw Persse unable to take to the water from mid-February to 1 May, meaning young Kate Christowitz had to sit in for her with Smith.

But Presse is in a confident frame of mind, especially when one considers the combination of her and Smith also placed fourth in an A final in Italy before the Lucerne World Cup.

“Lucerne was a really good regatta for Naydene and myself. I had only been back in the boat for about two weeks when we left for Lucerne after suffering the back injury. We had nothing to lose in Lucerne and so just went out to see what we could achieve. Our first race wasn’t great but we certainly learnt from it and came back all guns firing for the rope which we won comfortably and made our way into the semi- final.

“The semi was a tough race for us but we really had a cracker last 750m to row through the Great Britain second crew and earn our spot in the A final

“We were obviously pleased with the race and ready to really gun the final. We had a good start in the final and where in fourth place for the first 1000 metres, but unfortunately ran out of a bit of steam and couldn’t hold the speed to the finish line and were pipped by both Australia and Argentina.”

Like the men’s lightweight fours who came second in their A-final, there is always room for improvement. Says Persse: “Considering where we came from we were very pleased with our performance and know that we only going to get faster from here on in.

“We also rowed a personal best time which was a great confidence booster for us. We are both very excited for the final weeks of preparation before the Games, we know exactly what we want to work on and achieve before we arrive in London!”

And Smith also got a word in: ” Lucerne was amazing ÔÇô┬áwe accomplished an incredible result coming sixth and grew much closer as a pair. We have come back as strong as ever so it’s onward and upward from here.”