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Thursday, 26 May 2016
Jaimee Lovett, Caitlin Ryan, Aimee Fisher and Kayla Imrie will be the sole Kiwis at the Racice, Czech Republic, regatta this weekend, with Lisa Carrington and Marty McDowell preparing instead for World Cup 3 in Portugal next week. The K4 impressed in Germany last weekend at the first World Cup of the season, finishing fifth in the 500m and picking up bronze in the non-Olympic K4 200m.
It's been nine months since the K4 qualified for Rio at the world championships and 18 months since Olsen started working with them but the former Danish athlete coach believes they're a vastly different crew this season. "World Cup 1 really showed how far we have come, over the last nine months, with our speed and our strength work," Olsen said. "It was a much stronger appearance at international level - they just handled themselves way, way better. They're very disciplined and professional with what they're doing - you can really see they know what to do as a team and as individuals. They really believe they belong up there and they're not afraid of going out and giving the world champions a run for their money."
The proof of that came in both the K4 500m and 200m finals last weekend, where Lovett, Ryan, Fisher and Imrie led off the start in both races ahead of world champions Belarus. That surpassed speed goals they'd set after the world championships and left Olsen greatly encouraged as he plans the next 10 weeks of training.
"Analysing the race out of World Cup 1, we could see that we were the crew with the most distance per stroke, which shows that the girls really have the strength they need. It's much easier for us, over the last 75 days, to gain the speed endurance than it is for the other crews to try to be stronger than they are right now."
Lovett and Fisher will also combine in a K2 boat, racing a straight-final on Saturday night (NZ time), with the K4 heats and semifinals set to go later in the day, followed by the final on Sunday.
The K4 will skip the final World Cup in Portugal, with Carrington and McDowell as New Zealand's sole representatives.
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