It’s official, the European Championships are open!
We had a busy day ahead but everyone was definitely excited. It kicked off with our team meeting at 3pm. Team meetings personally are one of my favourite things when competing in a Championships outside of the UK purely because it really does remind you, you are part of team. At the meeting we were told arrangements for the upcoming training session then it was go go go. Our training slot was 16:39 – 18:00. These slots are very tight, it works out as 3 and a half minutes per paddler, not much at all. But non the less this time is crucial as higher water levels are set. A time keeper, a clock watcher, a video recorder and of course the coaches were all there to maximise our time on the water.
We split into 3 groups so there weren’t too many people in the eddy at one time. The first 2 rides for everyone were competition rides meaning we could paddle back up the eddy as well. This being especially useful as it’s good competition practice. The time flew and everyone was nailing moves, competition rides and the occasional good beat down. Smiles all around and the first team training was done.
We then had an hour to get ready for the opening ceremony. The ceremony this year was hosted the same place as the last time the Europeans were hosted here, an extremely beautiful castle. Everybody from Team GB had their team tracksuits on, supporters had their hoodies or polo shirts and even Tim had his black bowler Union Jack hat – I have to say myself we did look really smart. Everybody arrived in their nations kit and after socialising and positioning flags, the ceremony began. A group called the Drumatics started it off and the crowd just got bigger and bigger at the front watching them. The group played the drums on two old stripped out Pyranha boats. It was absolutely fascinating. Then there were a few speeches made by public figures from the town council and local government. This was when you really felt thankful and honoured to be part of such a great event. A great party followed with many new friendships made. My cheeks were hurting from all the photos… I think that itself sums up the evening! It was a fantastic night and now you can really feel the European Championships have began.
Written by Kim Aldred