UofG Athletes: Meet Natasha
Hi, I’m Natasha and I’ve been canoeing since I was 13!
Canoeing is an exhilarating sport and it is constantly developing with changes to equipment and evolution of new techniques.
The nature of competing on moving water also keeps things interesting as the water is constantly changing and reading the water as you are approaching and making split-second decisions is essential for success.
You might think that because a race run usually ranges from around 90 to 120 seconds that’s not that difficult, but it is. Canoe slalom is all about a balance of speed, skill, strength, and endurance. It promises to be interesting as the difference in size and strength will make the tactics and technique very complex.
We train all year round, including throughout the winter (not fun in Scotland!). Most of our training happens on the water (7 sessions a week), strength and conditioning are also very important for us as a good strength to weight ratio is key to acceleration (3 sessions a week) I also do land-based cardio sessions (2 a week).
During the week, I train at Pinkston White Water Centre in Glasgow, this is a very small artificial course. However, we can still practice basic technique here. At weekends, we have training camps. Three weekend camps a month in Scotland, either at Pinkston, Grandtully or Ratho (in Edinburgh). The final camp each month alternates between lee valley in London and the British National Watersports Centre in Nottingham. We all look forward to the camps!
In summer, we get to travel around slalom sites in Europe. Last year I spent a month training abroad, it’s amazing to train on international level white-water sites in the warmer weather!
Canoeing has given me so many opportunities. I have been able to travel, meet new people and compete in high-level competitions which is an incredible experience.
I love how it motivates me to do something constructive with my free time and has also given me a huge amount of knowledge on how to look after myself both physically and mentally. I really enjoy challenging myself and sport presents opportunities to do this daily, whether it's hitting a new PB in the gym or nailing a technique which I have been working on.
It’s never too late to get involved in a sport and I’d definitely recommend canoeing!