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London 2012 date has been ten years coming for Bucks pair
THEY might live just five miles apart, but Louisa Sawers and Jessica Walker have come an awful long way together.
Ten years ago the Bucks girls met at a kayaking development camp for the first time.
They were barely into their teens but they instantly connected and that friendship blossomed over the next decade as they rose together through the GB ranks.
European Championships, World Championships and World Cups have all come and gone in that time, with podium places at many.
Nothing though, will feel like Dorney Lake in the first week of August.
Sawers said: “I have spent so many years in a boat with Jess so being on that start line with her on the Olympic final with be amazing.
“We live near each other, we have the same sense of humour and she is basically another member of our family with the amount of time she spent round mine.”
London 2012 might have thrown a spanner in the works though, with seven girls competing for six places.
Sawers, who will make her Games debut in London, said: “When I crossed the finish line at the April selection for our K1, coming second, I knew I had done all I could and was happy with my performance.
“ I think all athletes have had their bad days when you start to have little doubts popping into your head.
“But when I found out I’d made it couldn’t stop smiling. I was imagining racing in the Team GB kit, in the back of the K4, with the crowds cheering us on “The first people I called were my mum and dad, then I literally went down my phone book calling everyone I knew.”
Sawers and Walker will be joined by Berks pair Rachel Cawthorn and Angela Hannah for the K4 500m, and a medal is not beyond them.
They have a first, second and fifth place in their last three World Cups, and after coming home sixth at last years European Championships they upped their level to finish fourth at the World Championships in Hungary.
Sawers said: “After coming fourth last year at the Senior World Championships, we hope to go one better at Dorney.
“But you can’t control this medal outcome so we aren’t focusing on it.
“Yes, it is a dream to be on that podium but we want to have the best race and cross that line saying that we did all we could.”
Sawers and co haven’t got much time to daydream though.
Today they are in Croatia for the European Championships (the finals are tomorrow), on July 2 they will be back in England to receive their Olympic kits, and then it’s off to Barcelona for a two-week training camp before the Games.
Sawers said: “It feels like it’s just around the corner now.
“With the announcement day and the Olympic workshop we’ve had recently it is becoming more real.
“Dorney Lake is on lock down now so we’re going to Barcelona, then when we come back we’re off to opening ceremony. It’s going to be unforgettable.”
* Walker, who competed in the K2 500m in Beijing, is also competing in the K1 500m event at Dorney Lake.