GB Canoeing athletes leave no inch of water un-paddledSubscribe
GB Canoeing 13 March 2012
A 270m by 12m shipping tank, in Gosport is last place you would expect to find a bunch of sprint kayakers and canoeist training, but over the last 10 months GB Canoeings 200m squad have been found pacing its narrows waters.
In a race that lasts just over 30 seconds, with the field of 9 boats finishing within a second of each other, every little detail is crucial to for getting on to the podium. Sprint Canoeing is a sport that is open to the elements every day of training, making it incredibly difficult to find a platform to fine tune and test training effects precisely.
This is where the once top secret ex Ministry of Defence water tank comes into play. The 270m by 12m stretch of water sits within a large hanger and was designed to test surface ships, submarines and offshore structures and is the largest tank in the UK. For GB Canoeing 200m squad it provides the ideal conditions for controlled testing over their racing distance, with mirror like water day after day, taking away the unpredictable conditions of wind, water temperature air temperature normally associated with outdoor sport like canoeing.
Double European Champions and World Silver Medallists Jon Schofield and Liam Heath have been using the tank regularly since the middle of the 2010 racing season to keep a check on technical changes and training methods they have been working on, ensuring they have left nothing to chance whilst trying to obtain their Olympic ambitions.
Liam Heath said: “I feel very privileged to be able to use the facility; it’s been providing us with a zero condition environment to do our time trials and testing in, enabling us to gain precise results and data on how our training is working. It’s at the opposite end of the spectrum to our usual training environment.”
Jon Schofield added: “Using the tank at QinetiQ is pretty cool; we are honoured to be here and be able to use the facility knowing what has previously gone on. It’s enabling us to standardise conditions and see what effect our training is really having, and helping us to achieve our dream.”
Every athlete wants to enter their final Olympic preparations having left no stone unturned, which is what GB Canoeing with the help of UK Sport are facilitating for the Canoeists with this new environment for testing - allowing the data to be analysed without any questions from one month to another.
Gavin Atkins, UK Sport Research and Innovation Coordinator said: "It’s our responsibility to ensure we can optimise all the factors we are able to control, winning margins in sport are very small and any performance advantage that can be derived by studying the components of performance is one that is an avenue worth pursuing."
If the numbers being produced on the serene water in Gosport is anything to go by, the British paddlers are sure to get us up and on our feet this coming summer.