Swedish rower Ida Andersson has been taking part in the World Masters in Slovenia and proving that she is a world-class competitor.
The regatta in Bled, Slovenia is effectively the World Championships for competitors aged over 27 years. “To me personally it has been the main goal of the season (since October last year)” Ida told us from the regatta “and it is the biggest regatta of its kind.”
4500 competitors attended, covering all ages including two rowers aged 101. Ida’s preparation was not ideal, having contracted a bacterial infection just three weeks previously, and having to take antibiotics and stop training for a week.
This didn’t stop her putting in a strong performance in the singles where she recorded a personal best over 1000 metres, finishing third. Ida said she was ‘super pleased’ with the 4-second personal best, although the double sculls was to give an even more memorable result.
Double Sculls final
Rowing rules mean that each boat must have a mean (average) age the same as each other. At 34 years 11 months Ida intended to row with a partner born in 1970, although a shoulder injury meant a new partner was required, who was six years older.
“We had a really good start, good reaction time and did a couple of power 20's following the start” Ida recalled afterwards. “Then we got half a boat length. I was stroking and Anneli did the talking and strategizing in bow seat. Anneli said ‘we can’t lose this now’ when we had half a boat length and I just had to play it cool and keep the stroke rate at a high number. Then we increased our lead and won with open water to the second fastest crew.
“We rowed 40 strokes per minute in the start, dropped down to 35-36 for the first 250 and then cruised in 33-32 for most of the race. The weather has been quite terrible here in Bled today and the water was very choppy. Otherwise we would have had other ratings, and a different race plan. This was a bit like lumber jack rowing. Just pull for all you got in a rating that you can handle. Power over finess you could say.”
Ida and her partner won by 2.74 seconds.
“It was an unexpected win and I am very shocked, kept thinking through out the race "this is not happening, there must be someone ahead of us…" but when we crossed the finish line and our names were called to the podium I kind of realized what had happened.”
One thing that didn’t impede Ida was the availability of vegan food.
“Here in Bled it is really easy to be vegan. Many restaurants have vegan options (often marked on the menu), people speak good English and understand what it means to be vegan. There are also a couple of vegan restaurants here.
“In the food store there are lots of vegan food. For lunch today I had a homemade tofu sandwich with Slovenian made tofu and corn bread. Delicious! Tomorrow I have to stop at the grocery store to buy a package of four different vegan ice-cream sandwiches.”
“Fruit and veg in Bled is just amazing. So many local produce that tastes wonderful. Everyone has apples and grapes in their garden.“
Thoroughly enjoying the event, when we heard from Ida she was planning to race in the pairs and mixed double sculls.