CORK rower Fintan McCarthy captured a bronze medal in the lightweight men’s single sculls at the European Rowing Championships in Poznan recently.
The Skibbereen RC member was happy with his latest medal, but he knows there is room for improvement if he wants to keep progressing.
“I knew there was going to be a pretty competitive field, but I had been hitting some good speeds in training so I was confident I’d be able to produce a good performance. Obviously you don’t go into a race wanting to come third and it would have been nice to have won. However, I’m content with how I performed given the circumstances. I know where I can improve so that’s good enough for now."
McCarthy had been disappointed with his starts in previous races, which ensured he worked hard in training on improving his slow starts which have hindered him greatly. The Skibbereen rower was delighted with his starts at the European Championships.
“I was happy. I had been practicing a lot of starts in the lead up to the championships, mainly as a way of avoiding slogging out the last few kilometres of some long sessions, so I was happy that worked out. From a tactical perspective I also learnt a lot from the recent championships.
"I think the main thing would be the preparation. I took things a little easier than usual training-wise. I think I needed that to be able to just enjoy the summer and be ready and refreshed for next season. Looking back now, I think I could have paced the race a little better, but whether or not that would have given me a better ranking I don’t know.”
He made great use of the squad training camp in Italy prior to the recent championships to hone his technique even further. He was delighted to get away and really train hard which will stand to the Cork man going forward.
“Training went really well.
"Once some countries got green listed we were able to go to a training camp in Italy for a couple of weeks which was a nice change of scenery after being at home for so long. As we were so far away from the Olympics my main focus in training was to make sure I was enjoying the sessions.
"I wasn’t taking things too seriously and I worked a lot on my technique. My aim was to ensure I was mentally and physically fresh for the winter ahead.”
The Team Ireland rowers overall enjoyed a very strong European Championships campaign. Sanita Puspure retained her European title, while Ronan Byrne, Daire Lynch, Fiona Murtagh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Aifric Keogh also captured medals.
"There was such a strong showing from the whole team that made the regatta really fun. Everyone performed really well and I think that really pushed each other on. It was amazing to see such good results from the men’s double and women’s four who are both relatively new crews.
"Sanita’s performance was great. She is unstoppable.
"The lightweight girls in the double and Lydia Heaphy in the single really stepped up too. They are improving their results leaps and bounds.”
Skibbereen RC enjoyed strong representation at the recent European Championships. Fintan, Lydia Heaphy, Emily Hegarty and Aoife Casey all enjoyed very positive results in Poznan. Legendary coach Dominic Casey was also part of the national coaching team at the European Championships.
“All the club members did so well. It is really nice to be able to race abroad with people you’ve been at regattas with since you were junior. Sometimes it is no different from being in the Skibbereen tent at the National Championships in Inniscarra.”
Along with his talented twin brother Jake, Fintan spent the duration of the first lockdown in their home in Skibbereen. The talented duo made the most of their enforced lay off from rowing with sessions on the rowing machine and toning their physique. It was time well spent.
“We were fortunate we had some indoor rowing machines, bikes and some gym equipment to use which was provided by the NRC. It was extremely tough to keep motivated sometimes when we didn’t know when the next race was going to be and we didn’t even know if the Olympics were going to go ahead or not. Jake training with me was a great help.
"We also talked each other into not training some days as well which was a bit counterproductive. This time around, we will be allowed access to the Rowing Centre. We will now be able to train as a team at a social distance.”
After a short break, McCarthy is back training in preparation for some huge international events next year. He remains well poised to make the lightweight men’s double sculls boat for the next Olympics. There is a huge battle to fill the two places.
“I am really looking forward to getting stuck into winter training and seeing some big gains. I have learned a lot from last year. It is great to have a big group fighting for places.
"It makes you really ensure you’re at the top of your game and looking for that extra edge.”