OLYMPIAN Beth Rodford is hoping her racing experience will pay dividends at the European Championships.
After finishing fourth in the women’s eight at the World Championships last season, the Gloucester Rowing Club member is back in the boat in which she has experienced both the ecstasy of victory and the agony of defeat – the quadruple scull.
Hucclecote's Rodford was crowned world champion in the quad in 2010, but missed out on the medals on home water when coming sixth in the London 2012 Olympic final.
But the 31-year-old is now set to race the 2014 season alongside up-and-coming talents Lucinda Gooderham, Tina Stiller and Victoria Meyer-Laker.
This dynamic blend of youth and experience has already made the project an exciting one to be part of for Rodford.
She said: “I’ve been in the quad for a while now; I know the racing and I know the competition.
“But it’s exciting to have three new people in that boat with me – I feel I can use my experience but they will bring new ideas and an energy level.
“Mixing youth and experience is a really positive thing.
“I think the experience will show through but the youngsters and the newer ones will bring some fresh ideas and excitement.
“It’s an exciting project – it always is when you bring a new crew together but this one is especially exciting.
“We have only been together for a couple of weeks but it is getting stronger and stronger every time we go out.
“We just need to get some racing done to see where we stand and hopefully move on through the World Cups and onto the World Championships.”
Rodford was disappointed to finish third in the women’s single at the GB trials in April, in challenging conditions, after a slow time-trial in the morning left the double Olympian on the back foot in the semi-final and final.
But with a solid winter of training under her belt, plus a win at the women’s head of the river in March, Rodford is full of confidence for the racing season ahead – and ultimately for the World Championships in Amsterdam at the end of August.
She added: “It’s been, overall, a good winter – a couple of injuries, but nothing outrageous to keep me out of the boat – it was mainly things we were being cautious with.
“We’ve got a while yet until the World Championships, which is the ultimate goal for the year and we will be pushing the training on from now.”