Spare Time

For the GB squad training sometime feels as if it goes on 24/7. Well, not quite. So, when they manage to sneak some spare time what do they do? The answer is sometimes surprising.

While some perhaps sleep and eat and then return to training, others are following the traditional route of exercising their minds with PHDs and other further studies. And a few rowers are, of course, learning Mandarin this year for the impending trip to China. More recently, others have taken to more enterprising pursuits.

Take eight girls, a set of fetching overalls and Wednesday nights at a north-west London college and what do you get? Rowers from the GB women’s squad testing their skills as fledgling car mechanics. At least we’re reassured that if the team vehicles break down this year there will be some trained help to hand.

Then, rumours abound, of a "strictly" new activity which is sweeping through the squad. Some say it’s every week, others say not so often, everyone’s convinced it proves the power of television. The truth, though, is that a growing cluster of GB rowers has taken to the thrall of ballroom dancing.

Finally, in this current squad, there were some pre-existing talents in the world of music – from French horn players via the piano and saxophone to the double bass – so for a few there is the option to play in orchestras in the evenings and weekends.

It’s an interesting world in which we live.