Yesterday we went as a family to Eton Dorney where Britain won so many rowing medals last week to cheer on Rachel Cawthorn and sample the atmosphere for ourselves.
We have all known Rachel for several years as she was a member of the local swimming club where our four children still swim and I am the club secretary. Rachel was talent spotted through her secondary school by GB Canoeing when she was just 15 years old and has had a meteoric rise through the world of kayaking leading to her Olympic debut this week at London 2012.
At Wey Valley Swimming Club we are very proud of Rachel and Michelle and I are delighted to support Rachel through Meaco.
Yesterday we watched Rachel compete in her 500m K1 sprint heat which she won to get a centre draw for the semi-final. On Monday Rachel had qualified with her team-mates for the K4 final and she pushed hard with the support of 20,000 plus spectators yesterday to finish second in the semi-final and qualify for her second Olympic final.
It was a fantastic experience for us to be there and an amazing reaction from the crowd as she came past in her specially decorated red, white and blue boat. As soon as she came into sight the crowd where on their feet, chanting her name and waving their union jacks. Afterwards Rachel thanked the crowd for helping her so much when her body was feeling the pain over the last 250 metres.
Our grandstand was asked to wait for the other grandstand to empty first to avoid congestion outside and during those twenty minutes or so Rachel was amongst a few paddlers doing a gentle warm down on the water and she got another massive cheer from the grandstand as she went past.
Yesterday was a fantastic experience and Rachel’s family must be so proud. In about an hours time she goes in the K4 final and tomorrow we will be back at Eton Dorney again to cheer Rachel on in the K1 family.
Good luck to Rachel in her two Olympic finals from everyone here at Meaco.
Post final update : Rachel and her team mates Jessica Walker, Louisa Sawers and Angela Hannah finished 5th in the final which was won by Hungary ahead of Germany and Belarus. They should be proud of their achievements this week.