The canoe slalom duo of Sydney University Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder Rosalyn Lawrence and her sister Kate Lawrence are vying for spots on the Australian Olympic team. With only one spot available for London, these athletes, and sisters, are battling it out ahead of their February 2012 qualifier.

Here are Rosalyn’s thoughts.

Hi! My name is Rosalyn Lawrence, but people call me Roz. I compete in canoe slalom (you know that sport where people paddle little carbon kayaks down whitewater rapids?) and I want to compete at the Olympic games in London, 2012. Big deal, so does every other athlete! I’m searching for that something extra, that different approach that will take me from being a dreamer to a doer.

This year I spent four months in Europe as part of the Australian senior canoe slalom team. I guess that makes me a lucky person, it’s a long way from the farm in Old Bonalbo where I grew up. While I was away I had a few successes, including becoming world cup champion in the women’s C1, world champion in the women’s C1 down river (wild water) sprint and world champion in women’s C1 team event with Leanne Guinea and Jessica Fox. 

But what was most important was the race experience I gained, and the things I learned in training that will help me fifteen weeks from now, when it comes to Olympic selection in February 2012. Unfortunately my sport is one of the most gender inequitable in the whole games, and while there is the possibility for four Australian men to go to the Olympics, there is only one place for women. Amongst other talented kayakers, I will have to fight my sister Kate for this coveted position.

At the moment I am back in Penrith where I live in order to train at the whitewater stadium built for the 2000 Olympics. Penrith is like a mecca for international slalom paddlers, as we have one of the most ideal training environments in the world. Soon competitors will be arriving en masse to take advantage of our sun and water for the summer, and to compete in the upcoming Australian Open and Oceania Championships.

Luckily for me I enjoy training, which usually involves a mixture of white water, flat water, gym and running. Every day I try to think of new ways to make myself faster and mentally stronger. I am working closely with my coach Mike Druce to tune up my technique and fitness. After paddling my previous boat for two seasons I have just converted to a new type, which I like more and more every time I paddle it.

2012, bring it on!

This article is courtesy of Rosalyn Lawrence and NSWIS.