Katherine closed in on her sixth world gold when, along with crew-mate Anna Watkins, she cruised to victory in her double sculls semi-final on Friday at the World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia.
Katherine and Anna will now paddle onto the start-line in Saturday’s final as clear favourites to retain their world title and keep their unbeaten record together intact.
The British duo had a quick start to establish an early clear water lead and then sat ahead of the field. Eventually, they won their semi, comfortably ahead of New Zealand and third-placed Czech Republic, while Australia, last year’s silver medallists, came home ahead of Ukraine and 2009 world champions Poland in the other semi.
In reaching the final, Katherine and Anna qualified their boat class for next year’s London Olympic Games, and, as Katherine said, “London – here comes our boat – and hopefully we’ll be in it”.
Speaking about the race itself, she said, “overall, we’re absolutely pleased with today’s race. It’s the first time we’ve had the semi-final and final one day after the other, so obviously we wanted to win it, but we also wanted to stay ahead of any battles that might develop behind us because all the finalists qualify (for London 2012), so we knew there could be a real fight on for the top three spots. We had to stay out of trouble, but do it with the minimum fuss and save the most effort for tomorrow’s final. Job done!”
Looking forward, Katherine added, “Paul Thompson, our coach, said ‘recovery, recovery, recovery’. It’s annoying because you come off a race full of adrenalin and you stay at that level for a while, but we need to come back down as soon as possible and just stay relaxed and calm and get the energy back to start the emotional and physical recovery as soon as possible. Now, we’ll get some food in, get some massage – a pretty dull day to be honest”.
Speaking about Saturday’s final, she confirmed, “I wouldn’t have thought that we’ll change anything that we do for the final. We’ll make sure that we’re ready to get the right result”.