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Helene's Diary

21/09/2010: Media Day

Worldrowing2010

Today is the team announcement of the GB Rowing Team for the 2010 World Championships and I am named as the AS Women’s Single Scull. On a Tuesday in March, I put the handles down on the ergo under the realisation that my health had to come first and I did not think I would ever race again and certainly had no comprehension that I would be returning to racing this season! By the time the World Championships arrive, I will have been training three and a half months and clearly the Worlds are a stepping stone for me and it would be unreasonable to expect a return to the top of the podium so soon. I am going out to New Zealand to see how I fair internationally training slightly differently, to prove to myself that I have not let this beat me and hopefully to show other young people with heart conditions that they too can fight back. I won the British trial on what was my 9th outing in a rowing boat since I have been back and it did not feel real probably as I knew there were still a few more hurdles to overcome but I think it is finally starting to sink in. Thank you to everyone who has helped me and especially those who encouraged me even when my thoughts of returning to racing seemed a tad on the crazy side!

BBC - Helene Raynsford back in GB Rowing Team after illness

Telegraph - Great Britain rowing champion Helene Raynsford come out of retirement

GB Rowing Team - GB Rowing Team's World Championship squad announced


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2/09/2010: Dorney Lake

Dorney 1


It is two years to go until the Paralympic Games and the Adaptive British Rowing Team are rowing at the venue for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Rowing – Dorney Lake, Eton. Dorney is special to me as it is the place I first saw rowing in person and where I won my first World Championships. The weather has been very light wind and beautiful sunshine and as I sat on the pontoon before the session it was exciting to think what the lake will look like in two years time!



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27/08/2010: Paralympic Potential Camp

Paralympics GB hosted a Paralympic Potentials camp this weekend at Bath University which will be the Holding camp venue for GB Paralympic Team. Most of the athletes present are development athletes or have not been to a Paralympic Games and the camp gives these athletes an idea of what it is to be in a Paralympic Village / Venues environment. Saturday night was a planning session for athletes and support staff alike. I presented to both groups looking at my experience of a home World Championships in 2006. Having been to a Paralympic Games I felt the camp was a great learning experience for newer athletes and certainly will help them prepare and find the potential areas for slipping up now rather than when it matters in 2012. I returned to training following surgery at this camp and things are going well even if I am still very tired. When I arrived at the camp I was asked to give an interview for Channel 4 Evening News.

Channel 4 Interview


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14/08/2010: Water Trials

Today was trials to nominate crews for the Rowing World Championships 2010. It was an odd day for me… I am used to meticulous planning well in advance of events like this and thus having been officially back in the programme just three weeks and the trial being my 9th time in a sculling boat it felt very disconcerting. I won the trial but I did not feel the excitement that I should. I think some of that is that I went into it so unprepared and I know that I have to have surgery in 5 days time. My surgery is not performance related but complications after it could still put pay to my aspiration of racing at Worlds this year. This trial does not guarantee selection as there are still more trials to ensure the crews that won these trials are going fast enough to be sent to a World Championships.


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28/07/2010: Back in the Mix!

Being back in the squad is fantastic! I does sometimes feel like I am dreaming but it great to be working with the support team and training alongside my fellow athletes. Water trials are in three weeks and in that time I will not spend much time in a sculling boat as any changes we make to my training need to be done very slowly.


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25/07/2010:

I arranged a meeting with the GB Rowing Adaptive Team Manager to talk about the possibility of coming back into the squad maybe next year or 2012 year. The day before I decided to casually get on the ergo and see how quick I could do 1km. Having done all of 30mins on an ergo since I had retired I was surprised at how quick I went and how I did not feel totally broken at the end of it. This soon meant that my conversation with my Team Manager turned to discussing the potential of returning to the squad and trialling for this year’s World Championships. This does sound a bit crazy considering water trials are in three weeks!


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12/07/2010: Back on the water but going in the other direction!!

Since I had retired, I took up kayaking. My cardiologist told me I had to do “exercise for health”, I was missing being on the water and it felt too soon to go in a rowing boat for recreational sport. Traditionally rowers and kayakers are not the best of friends in the water as both groups get in the others way and thus it was a move that amused my rowing friends! What started out as very gentle exercise for health has slowly started to turn to very light training. Kayaking races are much shorter than rowing races and thus my heart recovers much better following exertion.


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09/04/2010: Retiring

Well it is a sad day… I met with my Team Manager Louise Kingsley to give her my decision of retirement. It has been a very difficult decision to retire, my passion for rowing, striving for excellence and drive to be part of the international rowing community is very much still there but I have to let my body recover fully and this is something I can not do while continuing to try to train. As I became increasingly unwell after Beijing and following diagnosis last year, the support team from the GB Rowing Team that has been integral to my success as an athlete worked hard to stabilise my condition and left no stone unturned in a bid to find a way of reintroducing me to training.

I am going to return to my career but will still maintain links with the Rowing world and I am keen to help publicise the sport.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way, I am so lucky to have such fantastic friends and family.

World Rowing published an interview about my retirement. Raynsford forced into retirement

BBC Wrote the following article. Paralympic Champion rower retires


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17/03/2010: Difficult times

I became unwell again in the final few days of the Majorca camp and now I am off all training and trying to get over an infection. I do not seem to deal too well with infections since I was ill last year but I am hoping I can get better asap and return to training as it is just over a month to our first international regatta of the season in Italy.


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04/03/2010: Majorca cycling camp

We are out in Majorca at the British Cycling training centre to spend a week a cycling boot camp! We normally only do one session of cycling a week but here it is 4-5 hours a day… and that is everyday for a week! Needless to say it is a bit of a shock to the body! I am doing a slightly less hilly route to the boys as I was not too well before I came out but we are all enjoying the new challenge and seeing how another sport train.


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10/02/2010: Back in Banyoles!

We are out in Banyoles, Spain again! I love training on the water in Banyoles, we spent so much time here ahead of the Beijing Paralympics so it is a little home from home. I have really stepped it up this camp and I appear to be coping with the added volume and workload! We have been doing some race pieces and the boat is going quicker than my coach expected considering how long I have been out of the boat! Great news but still a long way to go, I have to stay well and carry on increasing the training I am doing.


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22/12/2009: Snow, snow everywhere!

With the lake Frozen, I appear to be doomed to many a Christmas date with the ergo and handbike!

The last three months have been very difficult and certainly not the straight forward build back into training that I was expecting. If I thought making the changes to training and life outside training to make it possible to go from 5th in 2007 to Gold in 2008 was testing, it was nothing compared to the last year. As Christmas approached, things finally seem to be going in the right direction, a massive boost for myself and my support team. There is still a long way to go before I can claim everything is peachy but if I have to train in a different way to how I did before Beijing then so be it, if I can still generate the speed on race day, then that is all that matters. I will do whatever my body needs physiologically to make sure I can train, stay well and my heart can recover properly between training sessions. That said, I stand firm that if I can not keep well while training then as much as I want to defend my title in 2012 there is a point when my long term health and independent future has to come first.

I returned to university this year to do a Masters in Neuroscience, although the first few weeks were a bit of a shock to the system as I have been out of education for so long, I am thoroughly enjoying it and I am excited about where it will take me when I retire from International racing. My department at Royal Holloway University have been fantastic at letting me fit in studies around my training.

2009 has been full of many challenges:- the excitement of the boat going quick in January, followed by the frustration of not managing training in April time, the part relief of a diagnosis and that it was not just me or that I was not being tough enough and there was something wrong, but then the concern that it wasn’t something they could just fix in a week or two and I would miss World Championships 2009, the guilt of realising I had damaged my heart through pushing myself so much in training and racing, the excitement of returning to training in September, followed quickly by the frustration that it was not that simple!

I owe great thanks to all of my friends and family who have given me endless support over the last year and on a professional level, all of my immediate support team, the Medical team at the English Institute of Sport and the team at the Cardiac Risk in the Young Unit. Thank you!

I am looking forward to 2010, I am excited about cracking on, the prospect of training camps in February in Banyoles where we spent so much time before Beijing and of course trials at the end of February to see how quick the boat is going!


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30/08/2009: World Champs 2009

Watching the World Championships on the TV while sat in England clearly was a huge disappointment but at the same time great that the BBC showed adaptive finals live just as they did the mainstream races. It was exciting to see my fellow GB team members racing well and putting a good show on winning two Gold Medals in Paralympic boat classes. Tom Aggar won the men's singles in fantastic style & the coxed four are back on top of the world again following the silver and bronze of the last two years. The Double posted the quickest time a GB Double has gone despite a rocky road in the run up to the Championships & finished 5th. It was good to see the standard has moved on again in my category (Women's Singles) & I am looking forward to racing those athletes next year.


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17/07/2009: Path to recovery

After what seems like an eternity of tests they have figured out what is wrong and I am on the path to recovery! The doctors are all very nice but I am hoping to now see a lot less of them! It is one of the reassuring things that when things start to go wrong we have fantastic support services there to sort it out. We have great medical team at English Institute of Sport with specialists at the Olympic Medical Institute. It does sometimes feel like endless tests but reassuring that they leave no stone unturned & you will be in the best possible health for training and racing. The decision was made that I can not train or race until I am fully well and thus I am not going to be racing for the rest of this season. Obviously this is not where I want to be & although it was a decision I was expecting from the Doctors & Team Managers it has left me feeling rather empty. The rest of the squad will soon be hitting training camp & I am going to pop down every so often when I can. I have a few things to keep my mind occupied while I get better such as undertaking the ARA Rowing Coaching Course.



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20/06/2009: Frustrating times

Being sat at home in England listening to the racing in Munich has been tough. It was a real shame to see only two entries in the women’s single sculls but very exciting to see a new athlete from Ukraine posting a good time. I have not been very well for the last couple of months & the decision was made for me not to race until we find out what is wrong. I am very frustrated to not be able to race but I have to listen to my support team and know they are making the right decision for me. At the back of my mind I know it is more important that they find out what is wrong, fix the problem rather than put my body through racing but it doesn’t make it any easier not going to race.

--++ 14/06/2009 Graduation!

In 2003 I graduated from Royal Holloway University of London (RHUL) which seemed like an impossible feat just after my accident n 2001. In may 2008 I received a letter from RHUL asking me to attend a graduation in 2009 for an Honorary Fellowship. At the time I could not understand what I had done to receive this… I had not been to Beijing at that time! It was fantastic to be back at RHUL and a huge honour to receive the award. My citation was read by Professor Beesley who had been my final year tutor & research project supervisor. He was instrumental to ensuring I could return to University after my accident. The service took place in the college chapel & we had a lovely dinner afterwards. The best bit was of course wearing the floppy hat! I am really looking forward to becoming involved in college life as a fellow.


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01/05/2009: First regatta of the season

The GB Adaptive squad entered the Varesse International Regatta and every crew made the podium. We had two entries in the Men’s singles, the double with a new athlete Sam Scowen at her first international regatta and the coxed four with two new athletes James Roe & Dave Smith. I was not racing in the regattas as I have been recovering from a shoulder injury and decided not to upset the progress as the regatta is not a vital one for our performance targets. I had been really excited about watching the racing but the reality was deep frustration when it came to watching. It was a real shame to see only one entry into my category but I am hopeful there will be more entries come the World Cup in Munich. Team GB stayed n Varesse for a training camp after the regatta. I got back in the boat on the camp and it was very reassuring to see I have not lost any boat speed & the land training has kept my fitness up. You can see my video diary on the link below.

Helene's Video Diary - May 09


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12/12/2008: Frozen Lakes!

The weather has been really cold this week, we could not row on Monday as the lake was frozen over. We have our first winter training camp next week & although I am really looking forward to it, I know it is going to be a very tough camp. Trials took place a few weeks ago for athletes aspiring for a place in the GB Squad & some of these athletes will be coming to camp next week. It is an exciting time with the new athletes competing for our place in the boat & facing the new challenges thrown at us.


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28/11/2008: Back to training

The euphoria of Beijing has passed and as a squad we are now focused and preparing for our next challenges. I had some time off after Beijing to see friends & family who I did not have a chance to see much in the year prior to the Paralympics. It was really treasured time & wonderful to share the experiences of Beijing with them. It is back to reality now though and the day to day training in the cold wet British weather!


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16/10/2008: London Parade

Today the whole of the British Olympic and Paralympic team headed to London to participate in a parade through the streets of the capital ending in a celebration in Trafalgar Square. This event has to be one of the most breath taking things I have done as a result of the success we had in Beijing. When you are as focused as I had to be in the run up to Beijing it just seems like my dream to win & it is not until you go to something like the parade that you realise how many British people are right behind you every stroke of the way. If I ever feel down, exhausted and wonder why I am doing this, I will think back to this day to seek inspiration from the thousands of British people who turned up to cheer us on.


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11/09/2008: Final day - Beijing

Today was a good day at the office… On the water in the Shunyi Olympic rowing lake we won Gold for Great Britain. It was not only the first ever Paralympic rowing medal but the first Olympic level gold medal won in rowing for Great Britain by a women. For the first time in my career, I sat on the start line totally calm. I knew it would be a tough race and if I messed up at any point then it would be game over but I felt calm from the realisation myself & my support team had done everything we possibly could to make the boat go as fast as possible. There have been so many difficult, challenging and low moments since World Championships in 2006 but the last year we finally got it right. The race was horrendous & I gave it absolutely everything I could. Sadly I did not enjoy the moment of glory as I was so sick for the couple of hours after my race as I had pushed myself so much. Yet nothing can get in the way of the fact that we did it & we got the Gold Medal back for Great Britain.

Quote from my BBC Interview “You would have just seen me on my own in the race, but, I am proud to work with the best team in the world & that is why we won a gold medal today, not just my work my entire support team. Thanks guys I hope it is all worth it now”

I did not get back to the Olympic Village for a good few hours after racing. I returned to my apartment to pass my coach, Chad, in the corridor. He was leaving the Olympic Village as he was leaving GB Rowing & heading home to Australia to settle down with his family. We had been through so much in the last year & worked together through everything the journey to Beijing threw at us & at the end I considered him a good friend.

Bizarrely, won by 12 seconds…. When I raced in my first World Championships in 2006 I also won by 12 seconds!


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12/01/2008: January training camp

It is day 6 of our training camp and we have an afternoon off. The camp was intended to be a water camp but at the start of the week, things did not look too promising owing to strong winds. Thankfully there was only two days the wind put pay to getting on the water and the rest of the time we were sporting either a soaking rained on or a wind-swept look! This camp is a real test for me as I had time out of the boat over Christmas with a back injury. The start of camp was a jump from being in rehab with 1 session a day to 3 sessions a day. Although I have had to be really sensible and there have been some days I have had to ease off, the injury has stood up to our testing.

We have done a few time trials over the last couple of days and I am really pleased to see the improvements I have made on the ergo is being translated into boat speed. There is still so much work to do and such little time to do it in! Tomorrow is the triathlon we do on each camp – handcycle, swim & ergo! Our coaches have devised a clever system so we can all compete regardless of disability. Our next water trials are a week tomorrow so it is head down & focus for the next week.


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18/12/2007: Eat, Sleep, Row

I have just come home from our December training camp… I thought Spain was tough but this camp put it into perspective and this camp was eat, sleep, row… (well ergo rather row as it was mainly a land training camp). The week was a bit of a blur! I do remember trying to get the ice off my car at 6.45am & the radio saying it is the 12th December and playing Christmas music… It was a very odd experience as it is like Christmas is happening without me this year as there is so much to do ahead of our next training camp in January. Everything in my life has changed in the last six months to enable myself to have the best shot at the Paralympics & I am loving it in an odd kind of way. When things are feeling tough I have to think "we are living the dream" (quote of the moment from Coach Chad). What an awesome dream it is!

My thought of the moment is "What does not kill me will make me stronger" The song those words comes from is always in the play list on my IPOD when it is an ergo test!!!

Trials came at the end of the training camp, we were racing into a head wind which although it makes it tough was a good test as it is likely to be a head wind in Beijing. It was a good to get a time on the board this side of Christmas. To date all of the improvements have been on land so it is good to have the first water trials of the season and to attain a good time in the conditions.


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21/11/2007: Moving up a gear

I was sure right about Spain training camp being different to Hong Kong!!! I spent most of the 10 days not knowing what was going on! It was the hardest camp I have been on so far. I saw all of our accommodation, the two roads we had to walk down to get to the rowing course & a fruit shop along the road. A lot changed for me in Spain on many levels, I am hoping I have made a step closer to understanding what is going to be expected of the next 9 months. Most importantly my focus has changed & I am seeing the improvements in my performance as a result of changes to training and also my mental approach. British Indoors went really well for me, despite us racing for 3mins before they realised they have put us in the wrong race so we had to start all over again, I hit my target time. So now I have a new time to aim for!


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02/11/2007: Away from home again

Tomorrow we leave for a training camp in Spain. This camp will be very different to Hong Kong as it will be a work camp. We have three training sessions a day and if we are not training we will be resting. I am really looking forward to being away and totally focused on training. It is two weeks until the British Indoor National Championships which is my next major goal, I am hoping this camp will ensure I make good progress towards my target time.


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10/10/2007: Home from training

The adaptive squad have spent the last two weeks in Hong Kong on an aclimatisation camp. The conditions in Hong Kong at the moment are going to be similar to those in Beijing at the time of the Paralympics. The aim of the trip was to give us a test run for the Paralympics, show us how to get over the effects of Jetlag, to learn how our bodies react to training in such hot weather and experience some chinese culture. It was a fantastic experience & feel I have made a big change mentally as an athelte… bring on trials in 10days!!!


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10/09/2007: Back into training

It is fantastic to be home and having had another course of antibiotics I feel so much better and the boat is moving nicely. We are off to Hong Kong in a couple of weeks for a training camp. Until then officially there is no official GB training. I have been out at Guildford sculling and racking up the kilometers in my handbike. It is lovely to spend sometime with my family & friends who I have not seen for a while with camps e.t.c ahead of the worlds.


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01/09/2007: The final

The final did not go as well as I would have liked. I finished 5th. It was fantastic to see how much the competition has increased over the last 12 months. I have learnt a lot while in Munich and how frustrating it is when all your hard years work is lost owing to illness. When we are at our next training camp we will be analysing the last season and we can put measures into place to ensure we are not in this situation again.


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29/08/2007: Cold & Wet

I had a short but good outing at the course today. I am feeling a bit better which is good news, I am hoping it continues that way! The coverage of the races will be on BBC 1, 2.45 - 4.30pm. You can also listen live to the races.…


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28/08/2007: Success in the reps

The pressure was on today to come in the top two in the rep to ensure my place in the final. Our doctor said she was happy for me go for plan B and that there was a risk of another attack if I went out racing plan A. I decided I had to get ahead and just stay there… so thats what I did. I won my heat which is good news, so I am now through to the A final. I race the other finalists on saturday. It will be a tough race.


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27/08/2007: Disappointment in the heat

I raced in the opening heat of the World Rowing Championships. The first sculler through would go straight into the final and the rest would have a second chance in the reps. I came forth after suffering an asthma attack. I am not sure if I will be allowed to race tomorrow but I will find out more in the morning when I see the teasm doc. Plan A - go out, race, come in the top 2 and secure my place in the A final. Plan B - paddle down the course, make it to the B final and then race to finish in the first two to secure a place at the Paralympics next year. Plan C - I pull out of the regatta.


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24/08/2007: Arriving in Munich

We are here and wow it is hot! The course is beautiful, the water is a fantastic blue / green colour. The whole GB team is in one hotel and the environment is very focused. My heat is on monday so until then it is head down and think racing.


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23/08/2007: Leaving for the World Championships

I have been away at training camp recently, I am sorry I have not posted much on here but you never quite know who is reading what you are up to ahead of a major regatta!!! I fly to Munich tomorrow for the Rowing World Championships. I am going through phases of excitment and also fear!!! Hopefully all will go well but you never know what the competition is like until you get out there!


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20/07/2007: Rain, rain & more rain !!!

7am this morning, torrential rain and I was on the water !!!! Lovely. On mornings like this morning, I might be forgiven for asking why I didn’t choose a sport that was in a nice warm, dry sports hall!!!!

Selection for World Championships in Munich was announced to the media yesterday.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/other_sports/disability_sport/6903721.stm


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14/07/2007: 7 Weeks to the day.

The last couple of months have been very difficult. I have been out of the boat with illness and struggled with loosing my confidence & self belief. The decision to race was not the best as I had to be rescued after 250 meters. Two months on I am a totally different athlete with my determination greater than before and back onto the focus of Munich and the World Championships. Selection for World Championships will be announced on thursday next week!!!! The able bodied team were racing in finals in the last Rowing World Cup today and seeing the athletes racing and seeing Alan Cambell stick to his race plan and it paid off for him was a great inspiration for me.


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09/05/2007: Yes, to race !

We made the decision I will race at the weekend… Although I am not to go out and race to win! This will be very hard - I am the current World Champion and I am expected to deliver good results. I am going to the race to treat the day as if it is a test run of my pre-race plan. My programme is only intended to make me peak physically once a year and that is for World Championships at the end of August and to date most of my winter training has not been in the boat so my boat speed might be a little slower (even if I wasnt unwell) than an athlete who was purely water work through the winter. Alhough come the Worlds, I will have translated all that strength I have gained into the boat.


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08/05/2007: Tough Times

Poplar Regatta is 5 days away… I have been out of the boat for three weeks as I have not been too well. At poplar I face Poland who was 3rd at the Worlds 06, France, who was in the final at the worlds 06 and Hong Kong, who is a new athlete. I am facing a tough time mentally… I want to go and race but I am all out of energy owing to not being too well, if I race and do not do well how will that make me feel mentally..…I am not sure if I will be allowed to race until I see the Sports Docs tomorrow.



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16/04/2007: Trials

What fantastic weather!!!! Although very hot for racing. The trials went well this weekend. My coach & the selector were pleased with my performance. For some of the squad the weekend brought fantastic results and for others it was a disappointing weekend. The level of competition is continually raising and that was apparent at the trials. The boat trials took the form of a time trial where we all start off 20 seconds apart and the results of that determined which lane athletes were in for a second race. We now have to race in May at Poplar Regatta and then a final selection in June… as the selector said we will all be put on the line and it will be "do or die" to see who is going to be in the Great Britain boat at this years World Championships in Munich.


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13/04/2007: Night before leaving for trials

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So, the day that seemed so far away is now here!!! GB trials are this weekend at Caversham Lakes. Karen, from the TA boat has come over to mine for dinner & prepare ourselves for the next two days. Tomorrow there are briefings,trials on the ergo & dinner…our last as a whole squad :0( We rig the boats tomorrow I will be polishing my boat and checking every part of my equipment. I am going through mixed stages of excitement & nerves! I have my race plan & am a girl on a mission!!!!


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28/03/2007: Hampshire Sports Awards

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The Hampshire and Isle of Wight held their annual sports awards evening this evening. I was awarded the Senior Disability Sports Women of the year. I did not expect to win as there was some tough competition and I won it last year. Roger Johnson from BBC South today was presenting the awards. I have met Roger many times before as I kept a video diary in the run up to the Worlds last year, he is a great sports presenter and has a lot of time for Disability Sports. It is lovely to receive awards but really important to remember they also belong to everyone who assists me in my training.


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25/03/2007: Another cold snap

There has been another cold snap over the last week and hence training has been very hard in the cold weather. Yesterday hand cycling in Richmond Park was very hard work with a strong head wind but worth the effort! It is only three weeks until our first major trials and although feeling a bit apprehensive and I hoping I will pick up my confidence by the trial. We have made a few changes in the boat which we are hoping will pay off in trials with increased speed of the boat. The weather for the next week looks a lot better so I am hoping to be out in the boat as much as I can, it will be good to start transferring my training to the water rather than being in the gym.


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15/03/2007: Siemens Conference

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As Athlete rep for the Adaptive Rowing Squad I went to the Siemens One National Conference to give a half hour presentation about adaptive rowing and my journey through 2006 to the World Championships. Siemens are the High Performance Sponsors of the GB Rowing Team. I have met the team from Siemens a couple of times before and they are a fantastic group of people who take great interest in the athletes. The first time we met Siemens was when we received our GB kit before the worlds in 2006. Kevin Tutton, Director of Corporate Development, who was there on the day re-arranged his meetings on the day of our heats to come and support us when we raced! It is fantastic to have such a personal relationship with a team sponsor. After the conference Siemens invited me to attend their dinner and the picture is of Kevin Tutton - Director of Corporate Development,Ian Riley - Head of Corporate Marketing & Andreas Goss - Chief Financial Officer trying to teach me to play Roulette...… I think I will stick to Rowing!!!!!


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02/03/2007: Welcome to my website!

Many thanks to Trident Honda for hosting it. In this part of the site you can see my updates on training and the journey to this years World Championships.

This morning it was just 1°C at the boat house, the bank was covered in frost and my boat was covered in ice! Once I was out in the boat though it was beautiful and very peaceful & scenic.

It is just 44 days until the 1st stage selection trials for the Rowing World Championships.

This year things are going to be much harder as I go back and defend my title but my focus is on the 1st September 2007 in Munich (finals of World Championships 2007).


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13/02/2007: HeleneRaynsford.org.uk is born

Helene Raynsford, BBC South Sports Women of the Year 2006, now has a website; courtesy of Trident Honda.


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03/12/2006: Helene named BBC South Sportswoman of the year 2006

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Helene has been named "BBC South Sportswoman of the Year 2006".


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27/08/2006: Helene wins Women's Single Scull

Hr With Flag

Helene RAYNSFORD (GBR) made history at the 2006 World Rowing Championships, sponsored by Siemens, as she became the first ever winner of the women’s arms only single sculls category.

RAYNSFORD had a good start and lengthened her lead throughout the race to claim victory for the home nation. It is the first time this event has been raced at the World Championships.

A Storming start to her rowing career, Helene Raynsford of Great Britain took gold at her first ever championships
- World Rowing


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25/08/2006: Helene wins the heats

Twenty-six year-old Helene, who has only been rowing for about a year, comfortably won the first heat to guarantee herself a place in Sunday’s final, alongside America’s Patty Rollison - who won the second heat.

Raynsford, who finished the 1000m race in a very fast 6:55.06, will now be among the favourites to be the first world champion in this class, as the event is included the regatta for the first time.

All the other competitors will now re-race in tomorrow's repecharge (Saturday, August 26) to decide who else will qualify for the final.

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