Take a second and snap your fingers. The winner of my race is decided by 1/1000th of this second. Hold your breath as long as you can. My race started and is already over. And I paddled over 100 strokes. My race makes or breaks on a precision of details. My race is a pinnacle 34 seconds, crowning an 18-year foundation of preparation and hard work. Every race is a race for perfection, for challenging where I am right now, and where I want to be.
I wanted to be an Olympic champion, and the fastest K1 200m sprint kayaker in the world. And in achieving this goal, I discovered every race is about finding your margin of advantage, and your margin of gain. And in the world of sport, like life, the big win is about finding even the smallest areas of improvement and exploring new ways to move the needle and find your edge. I am an engineer. My advantage is understanding the art of applied science in motion. How to use energy. How to question what I think I know - and actually prove, or disprove it. How to “not take the other guy’s word for it,” and carve my own path to success.
I applied physics and math to my training and found a way to not only work hard, but to apply this effort efficiently. I am the most informed athlete in my sport on the physics of paddling. Exploring the facts is an attitude that touches every aspect of my training style. I challenge and question every single detail that affects performance, and I’ve learned that I’m a dynamic system of many parts, a well-oiled machine that requires balance and integration for maximum drive.
The more I know, the more I know I don’t know! Every turn of the paddle is another level of discovery, another layer of understanding that gets me that much closer to being one with my boat. And that much closer to the perfect race. As my fluid dynamics prof once said, “It’s not where you are in life, it’s the differential.”