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WTC's interview with Will Satch

In our interview with Will Satch, he talks about the GB men's eight 2013 winning gold and what he looks for whilst away on camp.



WTC - Firstly, a huge congratulations on winning Gold at the World Championships in  Korea, 2013; stroking the GB Men’s 8.

WS - Thank you, it was awesome.

WTC - How would you rate your Olympic bronze in the pair in London 2012 to the Gold this year?

WS - Winning Gold is what you dream about  but the Olympics is something very special. It only comes around every 4 years, so it is  much bigger than the Worlds. Also, whilst I’d medalled at U23s World championships, 2012  was my first year on the main International  stage.

From a personal performance, winning bronze was special because I'd achieved that with someone I’d known since we were both 14 years old. We’d grown up together and raced each other through the age groups. We have a very close bond on and off the water.

The Worlds was a different event. But beating the reigning Olympic Champions is a big confidence boost at the start of this next Olympiad, leading to Rio 2016.  

WTC - The Men’s 8 broke the record at Henley Royal and came fourth in Lucerne. But it appeared that there was some work to be done if you were to challenge for Gold at the Worlds. What turned things around?

WS - In training, the boat had been moving quickly. The paddling speed was good and we achieved speed progression with increase in rates. But it wasn’t happening in races.

Lucerne was a massive kick up the backside. It wasn’t a good row and we weren’t happy with the performance. That race in Lucerne was probably the best thing that happened to us.

The key to moving forward wasn’t putting me in the stroke seat, but getting everyone in the right seats, linking athletes together, forming partnerships throughout the boat.

We went to Silvretta, Austria for our pre Worlds altitude camp and spent the first three days land training. The night before our first water session Jurgen Grobler (Men’s Chief Coach) met with all of us and told us the new seating order.

Jurgen was immensely positive about the individuals, the boat and our chances.

We again achieved good speeds in the training but now the combinations within the boat made things work smoother. But you never really know if it is going to work until you get side by side on race day.

WTC - Would this make Silvretta your favourite camp?


WS - Definitely not!

WTC - What are the things you look for in a training venue?

WS - The simple stuff. Somewhere that’s clean and tidy, somewhere that allows you to switch off from the training. I need somewhere to go for a coffee, to chill away from the intensity of the camp. Silvretta doesn’t offer that.

My biggest priority though is the food. I’m a quality rather than quantity person. I need the correct nutritional intake to get the best out of myself. Some athletes on other teams are known for eating vast amount of the “wrong” food. That doesn’t work for me. If I’m not eating properly, I get a bit grumpy.

I’ll even put up with a bed that’s a bit small or slightly uncomfortable as long as the quality of food is good.

WTC - So where is your favourite training venue?

WS - For me, it’s Seville.

We went about October 2011 which was the first camp in the Olympic training year. We boated from the FISA training centre but our hotel was only a short bike ride away.

The team hired bikes so the journey wasn’t long. You have to be aware that the brakes are the other way around; I didn’t realise so I went over the handle bars on my first day.

The weights and ergo facilities were pretty basic. The ergo room in particular got very hot.

We were able to row 6 km before having to turn around at the lock. We rowed through the city which was a big positive. Some of the places we go and train you can row mile after mile with fantastic scenery. But that’s not for me.

Seville also offered some excellent cafes near to the hotel and allowed us to relax whilst not training. Again, some venues there is nothing to do, nowhere to go between sessions or at the end of the day.

WTC - What did you do immediately after the Worlds, before starting training for 2014?

WS - The 2013 Worlds were in Korea so a lot of us took the opportunity to carry on our journey east and went to Tokyo for one week. It took several days for the win to sink in and to unwind.

After I got back I went with my girlfriend, Olivia, to her grand-parents' house in Mijas, Spain.

WTC - So now you are a World Champion, what is the target for 2014?

WS - I want to win again but as for boats, Jurgen hasn’t said anything yet. Just keep it simple otherwise I may get confused.


Categories: All topics, Interviews, Rowing

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