Doubling up in Belgrade holds no fears for Rebecca Girling

Rebecca Girling is one of six athletes in the GB Rowing Team women’s squad to race in two boats at World Cup 1 in Belgrade

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Rebecca Girling with Anastasia Chitty in the women's pair (Naomi Baker)

As if racing in one boat class wasn’t demanding enough, Rebecca Girling is one of six members of the GB Rowing Team who will be competing in two at World Cup 1 in Belgrade this weekend.

Girling and Anastasia Chitty will reprise their successful pairs partnership, which saw them place second at the GBRT Trials in April, and will also race in the eight.

Rebecca Shorten, Karen Bennett, Holly Nixon and Fiona Gammond will also double up in the eight and the four – each having up to six races over the course of the three-day regatta.

But Girling is confident that performance won’t suffer with the extra racing.

“We’ve worked really hard on it, especially with Sarah [Moseley] in the physiology team. We did a practice run last weekend and they timed it so we had the rough amount of time that we’re likely to have for the finals on Sunday,” she said.

“It has been a really good learning experience and it has been really well managed by the coaches and support staff.

“When we practised it, it was really fun – there was no thoughts of ‘oh, we’ve got to get on the water again when everyone is going home’. I think it’s because we went from slower boats into a faster boat, and there is a good crowd of us meaning we just get the energy going.”

>>> All you need to know about World Cup 1 in Belgrade

Only three entries in the women’s eight means that doubling up is slightly more palatable – instead of heats and repechages, the crew will take part in an exhibition race on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s final.

Should Girling and Chitty make the A final in the pair, they’ll have three hours to recover and prepare for the eights final – the last event of the regatta.

“Having not raced in an eight at international level before it’s a great experience. When we pick up the pace it goes really fast!” Girling said.

“It’s very different to rowing the pair, which is a lot more mentally tiring – there’s only two of you so you have to be communicating and thinking about what we’re doing to make a slower boat go as fast as possible.

“In the eight we’ve got Matilda [Horn] coxing us and telling us what to do, which takes a whole load of pressure off. One of the biggest challenges has been learning how to move between the boats, without taking a session to get used to being in the different boat.”

World Cup 1 begins on Friday morning in Belgrade, with over 50 GB athletes competing over the course of the weekend. You can follow all the action on British Rowing’s social media channels with the A finals being shown live on the BBC Red Button and online from 09:30 (BST).

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