By Tom Harle
Esme Booth is relishing stretching the limits of rowing as she once again doubles up at the European Championships.
The Stratford-upon-Avon star won silver medals in the pair and the eight on debut in 2022.
She had a day to recover last year but this time there are only 90 minutes between the two finals, a challenge that she is meeting head on.
“We’ve done a few things in training to get used to that turnaround and recovery, asking the questions around warm-ups and nutrition, there’s a lot to factor in,” said Booth.
“It’s exciting to push those boundaries and it shows how much the body can do.
“You can go out and blast it in the pair for five or six minutes, you’re keeled over at the finish line and you’ve got no more, and then an hour later, you go again.
“The fact that your body can turn itself around and get yourself in a state to go again, it’s a good showcase for the sport.”
The European Championships will be staged at Lake Bled, Slovenia from May 25-28.
Buoyed by Booth, Great Britain finished top of the medal table last time out in Munich with ten medals and six golds.
Booth rowed with Emily Ford last year and they took the pair on to the World Championships, where they reached the A final but missed out on a medal.
“Last year was a fifth - that was fine, that’s where we’re at, now it’s about where we can step on to,” said Booth.
“The project was completely fresh last year and we stepped into it for the first time. Now we’ve got a season under our belt and we know where we need to improve.
“Europeans are another opportunity for us.”
The women’s eight has been a ‘project’ boat for Britain for some years but has gained new traction under Australian head coach Andrew Randell.
A new-look crew will travel to Slovenia, now benefiting from the experience of Rio Olympic silver medalist Karen Bennett, Olympic bronze medal-winning coxswain Henry Fieldman and Tokyo Olympian Hattie Taylor.
Sam Redgrave - world champion in the four last year - Lauren Irwin, Annie Campbell-Order and Natasha Morrice complete the crew to race alongside Ford and Booth.
“Everyone in the eight is so focused on getting it going and excited for the project to happen,” said Booth. “It’s an enjoyable experience.
“We’ll just have to see where it measures up. If we add expectation onto it, that can create stress and we want to know where we’re going to land.”
British Rowing is the governing body for the sport and is responsible for the development of rowing in England and the training and selection of rowers to represent Great Britain. The GB Rowing Team is supported by the National Lottery Sports Fund. To find out more, and to follow the team, head to https://www.britishrowing.org/