Floods not getting in the way of Rio 2016 preparations

Well-timed training camp in Seville should stand to Irish crews at Olympics

Paul O’Donovan (left) and Gary O’Donovan, trained hard in Seville as they prepare to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games. Photograph: Debbie Heaphy.

Floods and how to get around them are on people's minds. "The water is a foot into the boat house right now," said James Mangan, the head coach of Castleconnell Boat Club. But training has not stopped, the gym work goes on at the University of Limerick.

The water level at the National Rowing Centre – which is upriver from Inniscarra dam – has also been very high, though rowers were able to get out on Thursday. The forecast of more wind and rain in the coming days is a worry.

Well timed

The Ireland training camp in Seville, which ended on Thursday, was well timed. Three crews managed to make the mileage on the water that could stand to them come Rio 2016.

The men's and women's lightweight doubles which qualified the boat for the Olympics, along with single sculler Sanita Puspure, were busy. Sinéad Jennings and Claire Lambe were well north of the 400-kilometre mark and Paul and Gary O'Donovan sculled over 500 kilometres over the 14 days. The O'Donovans also competed against the German lightweight double.


Ireland high performance director Morten Espersen hopes to be able to put in place a system which would give proper financial support to Dominic Casey, the coach of the men's lightweight double, all the way to Rio.

In the immediate future, the Ireland boats will remain in Spain, and there will be further camps beginning on January 7th and 28th. The latter should include a women’s pair and double and the men’s lightweight four.

The list of competitors invited to the Ireland assessment on the weekend of December 19th and 20th features a big lightweight men’s development group. The aim is to give these young men a push and a chance to move up towards the level set by the O’Donovans. “It’s their opportunity to mix it with the big guys,” said junior coach Pat McInerney.

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman

Liam Gorman is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in rowing