'It was just one crew onto the slip after another with medals'

'It was just one crew onto the slip after another with medals' 'It was just one crew onto the slip after another with medals'
Bella Johnson

Last weekend, para rower Katie O’Brien took home the gold medal and set a new world record in the PR2 single sculls event at the World Cup II in Poznan, Poland.

The Galway rower raced in her last individual event around three years ago, and has been training and preparing for her next race since.

“It's been obviously a frustrating three years having to put in that amount of work and not get to see where you are or what kind of level you're at,” said O’Brien. “[It] was a huge kind of gratification to go out and to be able to show them what I have been working on and what I can do. It was brilliant. I'm absolutely delighted to put a marker down now.” 

Katie O’Brien wasn’t the only Irish rower who stood out this past weekend. The Irish team as a whole gathered six medals in total. 

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“It was such a good weekend for Irish rowing. It was just performance after performance,” said O’Brien. “It was just one crew onto the slip after another with medals—and just waving them all in—it was unbelievable.”

The success from this past weekend showcases the improvements and hard work put in on and off the water from the team.

“There's a lot of girls there and they all want to be the fastest and the best. One of the best ways to get better is to have someone there trying to take your seat,” said O’Brien. “It drives you on and makes you want to be faster, and I suppose that internal competition is probably driving the girls on.”

After a long search for a doubles partner in order to race at the Paralympic games, O’Brien has finally found a partner in Steven McGowan. 

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“Every time we race the double we're picking up speed,” said O’Brien. “It seems to be just getting quicker and quicker all the time. He's doing brilliantly and managing really well.”

McGowan has only been rowing for about 18 months, but in his debut appearance with O’Brien at the World Cup II, the pair took 4th place—just 8 seconds shy of the fastest boat. 

O’Brien hopes that the pair will get to compete in the European Championships in Munich this August and then hopefully advance to the World Championships in Czech Republic.

Watch the full interview with Katie Mullan below and be sure to tune into The Her Sport Show every Wednesday for all of your sporting news and interviews.

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