Whoosh News

This month we have had Lizzie Reaves , Olympic slalom paddler visiting Whoosh Explore at our pool session at Great Dunmow pool, to practice her C1 rolling technique along with coach Paul Ratcliffe, Silver medallist at Sydney, so taking the opportunity to have a chat in between busy coaching sessions we asked Lizzie a few questions on London 2012 and her future aspirations.
When did you first get into paddle sport?
When I was 8 years old

Did you have an interest in other sports prior to paddling?
Yes, I did a lot of other sport when I was growing up, including ballet, swimming, gymnastics, netball and athletics. 

What do you love about canoeing?
I love the excitement of paddling on white water, and the variety. There is always a different river to go and paddle, or a different skill to master. 

What has been you best canoeing moment to date?
Competing in the Olympics Games. 

What was the Olympic paddling sensation like in front of the home crowd at the London Olympics?
I remember sitting on the start line, hearing the roar from the crowd and feeling like I couldn't wait to race. The atmosphere was amazing, and it was such a buzz to have so many people cheering me on. 

What are your thoughts about paddling in Rio in 4 year’s time?
It'll be tough to make the team again, with only 1 place available in the women's kayak, but I'll be doing my best to get that place. I'd love to have a second chance at the Olympics after a disappointing result this year, and Rio would definitely be an exciting place to compete. 

What challenges have you overcome in the sport to get to the position you are today in British Slalom.
I've had a lot of injuries, including a dislocated shoulder requiring surgery, which ruled me out of Olympic selection in 2008, an instability in my neck, and a broken rib at the end of 2011 which I fortunately recovered from in time to gain selection for the Games this year. It's hard dealing with injury and getting back to full strength and fitness, but every time I've come back better. 
What is your ultimate goal as a canoeist?
My dream is to win the Olympics, and the World Championships, but my goal is to do the best I can do, and to enjoy it. 

What type of diet and nutrition is good to ensure that you are fit for paddling during competitions?
Our training is physically demanding, so it's important to ensure we're adequately fueled. I'd usually have 7 meals or large snacks a day, and try to follow a healthy diet. This typically includes lots of fruit and vegetables, lean sources of protein such a low fat mince or chicken, carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and potatoes, and calcium rich foods such as yoghurts and milk. To get extra energy I'd things such as add olive oil, nuts and seeds to my meals, and allow myself the odd treat such as chocolate or cake. 
What could be done to improve women into canoeing and slalom at a grass roots level?
Canoeing is a male dominant sport, but it doesn't have to be. It's a sport where there something for everyone, so increased publicity of women already involved in the sport would hopefully encourage others to give it a go.
What are you most looking forward to this year (now that the training for the Olympics is over)
Enjoying paddling with a bit less pressure, and a bit more flexibility to try different things. I'm back training again but a bit less on the water, and doing some more fun land-based sessions, including training with Pegasus Military Fitness to try and get really fit! 
What is your latest canoeing challenge?
I've started doing a bit of C1, so learning to roll that and hopefully mastering white water!

Who do you take inspiration from (in paddle sport?)
Many people. Because canoeing is such a varied sport, different people tend to have strenths in different areas. My coach, Paul Ratcliffe, was silver medallist in Sydney, and the hard work he is putting into helping others reach their potential is always inspiring. Because canoeing is such a varied sport, different people have strengths in different areas, and the dedication, professionalism and talent of many of my team mates is very inspirational. 

When are you next in competition?
The British Open the first weekend of November, then after that not until next March or April.

Thank you