Back-to-back Head of the Charles champions, and 2009 US National Team members Pete and Tom Graves have once again qualified for the squad, winning Trials following a year of more consistent training together. Despite some early season setbacks, the brothers have put everything together at just the right time, and now are gearing up for Bled, just a week from Sunday.
RR: Following your second straight win in the men's champ double at the Charles, you two have finally had the chance to train together for an extended period of time, building toward your performance at Trials. How did you benefit from your more focused training, and how were you able to modify your race plan from NSR 2 to give you the success that you earned at Trials?
PG: Leading up to NSR2 we were very fit and were rowing decently together. Unfortunately we weren't mentally ready for a fight. Since that is one of the most important aspects in racing, we had an unfortunate final result. We changed our training plan quite a bit since then to train ourselves to be racers. It may sound like a silly problem, but when you do millions steady state meters without a coach things can get lost along the way. I always thought I was born a racer, but now I know I need to train that instinct and keep it sharp. I felt far more ready to race in august than I did in may. Were we faster? I don't know. I do know that no matter what our speed was in August, we were going to fight for every inch, against anybody, every time. That was the difference.
RR: What was your experience of Trials? Did you take with you an added edge following your disappointment at NSRs?
PG: We were able to move past the NSR2 result. We learned from it, but did not dwell on it. After about a week we put it in our review mirror and began moving forward. The experience at Trials felt different from previous years. Two races instead of five or six is quite a difference. On the plus side, the hotel bill was cheaper and the regatta was less taxing mentally.
RR: How have you conitinued your preparation for Worlds? What did you learn in your last trip in 2009 that will benefit you this time around?
PG: After Trials, we flew back to California and got right back into our training groove. We have had 2+ weeks training there and it has been beneficial. The entire 2009 Worlds was a learning experience for us. We are grateful to have another opportunity to get it right, to perform when it counts the most.
Thanks very much to Pete for checking in with us!