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Rio 2016 Test Event - Olympic dress rehearsal
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin - Rio Test Event © Getty Images

Rio 2016 Test Event

Rio 2016 Test Event – Olympic dress rehearsal

It’s 4am back in Sydney, I’m home after a month in Rio and I’m suffering from the usual jetlag. The upside is watching the sunrise and using these hours to reflect on the “Olympic Dress rehearsal” the Australian Sailing team had just completed. Jason and I had a pretty successful performance – bringing home Gold in the Test Event for the Nacra 17 class.

2016 would be our debut Olympics and this Test Event was more than just about the racing. Apart from the sailing I developed my major event ‘lead up’, learning how to balance on water training, off water training, recovery techniques and how to stay fresh and taper into racing. I became comfortable with my surroundings, finding the local shops (the brightest clothes in the world), cafés (the smallest ‘small’ cappuccino in the world) and restaurants (the most meat in the world).

The biggest adjustment to life in Rio was never be in a rush because everything happens in slow motion, the supermarket check out takes minimum 30 minutes, the locals don’t power walk around the city but rather stroll to their destination and as a Sydney girl that is always hyper multi-tasking and trying to organise everything – I just had to breathe and learn to embrace the pace. The AST have done a great job locating us and we feel quite safe walking to the Marina to start the day.

Rio 2016 Test Event - Olympic dress rehearsal

Rio 2016 Test Event

What we learnt most about Rio was the complexity of the six racecourses that we will face in a year’s time. Rio is a stunning city with amazing topography. The waterways are very similar to Sydney but with a lot more current. The outer courses are like sailing off Manly Beach with awesome waves, the medal race is like being in Middle Harbour with erratic winds and one of the courses is like sailing off the Harbour Bridge up to Balmain.

One of the highlights of the trip was discovering and immersing in the strong legacy of team spirit in the Australian Sailing Team. With ten diverse classes in the Olympic program we don’t often come together when competing at regattas.

The last month in Rio allowed all of us from the coaches, training partners, boat builders and management really start to build as a team, sharing knowledge and experiences, supporting each other on the good days and bringing each other up on the tough days.

I feel this team will only get closer and stronger over the next 345 days, this unity and community will be vital come Games time.

This result was a huge step for us and only drives us to work harder, continue to improve and secure Olympic Selection. So that’s what 30 days in Rio has given me. Its great to be home, have some downtime and then put in the ‘behind the scenes’ hours to make sure that in a year’s time Jason and I are back on the podium with the real thing – Olympic Gold.

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