In exactly a year, Canadian rowers Darcy Marquardt and Jane Rumball hope to be churning toward a gold medal in the Olympic final at Beijing, China.
Londoner Bridget Moran will be at home watching the reigning world pair champs but she'll have a pretty good idea exactly what they're going through and how they're feeling.
While Marquardt and Rumball are currently in Slovenia training for the world rowing championships later this month in Germany, Moran just returned home from the junior worlds held up as a test event for the Shunyi Rowing-Canoe Park -- Beijing's site for rowing at the Olympics.
"It's really cool that I've already had the chance to row there -- with the beautiful venue and the set-up and the busloads of volunteers brought in, it made it feel just like we were competing at the Olympics," the 18-year-old Mother Teresa grad said.
"There were so many volunteers. They all wore orange so they were easy to pick out if you had to ask them for something. Most of them knew the English basics and they couldn't have been more friendly."
Moran teamed up with Mississauga's Samantha Sartor to finish seventh in the pairs B final. The Canadian crew worked out in Shanghai to recover from jet lag and adjust to the stifling heat and poor air before attacking the man-made Beijing course. "We did pretty well -- we only had a month to row together and we were competing against teams who row together all the time," she said. "It was hot, incredibly humid and the air was so thick you could see the pollution. After that, it was good to get back and breathe in the nice Canadian air. It's not going to be easy at the Olympics, especially for marathoners and triathletes -- they're going to have a lot of fun. I don't think it will matter as much for rowing. You just have to get used to it."
Marquardt and Rumball will worry about Beijing after qualifying a Canadian boat for the Olympics. That task starts in less than two weeks at Munich with the top eight women's pairs earning their countries a berth in China next summer.
The London-based pair, who won the world title last year at Eton, England, is trying to get the job done now rather than resorting to a last-chance qualifier in Switzerland next June. If the two need that second shot, they risk having nothing left for the biggest event.
The women's eight, which includes stalwart cox Lesley Thompson-Willie, will be involved in a competitive fight at Germany to book a berth to China. Only five boats get guaranteed Olympic spots from worlds.
Moran, meanwhile, leaves this week for his first semester of school at University of California, where she jumps right back into the rowing season. After the trip to China, it'll be a long time before she complains about food and flights again.
"We brought a ton of peanut butter with us, which was good because they tried to make us some Western food and it didn't quite work out. There really wasn't any whole wheat bread -- it was like pastry. The flights to China . . . extremely long. We had personal TVs at our seats on the way there but we didn't have them on the way back. I just tried to catch up on a lot of missed sleep."
2007 CANADIAN WORLD ROWING TEAM ROSTER
Eight: Kyle Hamilton, Adam Kreek, Dominic Seiterle, Malcolm Howard, Jake Wetzel, Andrew Byrnes, Ben Rutledge, Kevin Light, Brian Price (cox).
Four: Barney Williams, Rob Gibson, Peter Dembicki, Scott Frandsen.
Quad: Steve Van Knotsenburg, Jamie Faris, Gabe Bergen, Rob Weitemeyer.
Coxed pair: Kip McDaniel, Derek O'Farrell, Brian Price (cox).
Pair: Chris Jarvis and Dan Casaca.
Coaches: Mike Spracklen, Terry Paul, Allison Dobb
Four: Liam Parsons, Mike Lewis, Jon Beare, Iain Brambell.
Double: Doug Vandor, Matt Jensen.
Pair: John Sasi, Terry McKall (spare)
Single: Tim Colson (spare)
Coaches: Bent Jensen, Howie Campbell
Eight: Heather Mandoli, Ashley Brzozowicz, Kaylan Vander Schilden, Sabrina Kolker, Romina Stefancic, Katie Reynolds, Buffy Williams, Sarah Bonikowsky, Lesley Thompson-Willie (cox).
Four: Anna-Marie de Zwager, Krista Guloien, Janine Hanson, Rachelle de Jong.
Pair: Darcy Marquardt, Jane Rumball, Zoe Hoskins, Andreanne Morin
Coaches: Carsten Hassing, Michelle Darvill
Double: Lindsay Jennerich, Tracy Cameron
Single: Melanie Kok (spare)
Coach: Laryssa Biesenthal