Garcia and Terradas: Two Spanish women scullers
Veronica Garcia Mulet and Laura Terradas are racing in the lightweight women’s double sculls for Spain at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Trakai, Lithuania. Together in the double since 2010 the duo took silver last year at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships and they are aiming to medal again this year. Veronica and Laura talk to World Rowing about what it’s like to be a female rowing in Spain and what they have been doing this season.
World Rowing: How long have you been rowing?
Veronica Garcia Mulet: I started rowing when I was 11. It was my father who suggested that I try it. He is a rowing coach and coached me for a while at the beginning. It only took a little while before I started racing in the single at the National Championships in Spain. Since then I have continued rowing.
Laura Terradas: I started when I was 12 years old. A friend of mine had rowed for a while and she asked me to join her. So I did it. Like Veronica, I started pretty much straight away racing in the National Championships, in the Double though.
WR: How is the reputation of rowing in Spain?
Veronica: Most of the time our friends ask us ‘Why do you row? Why do you do that to yourself?’ They can’t understand how you can love such a sport that destroys your hands and takes so much of your free time.
Laura: Rowers are really in the minority in Spain. Most of our friends think that we are freaks. There is just a little number of rowing girls in Spain and it is not easy to find proper support or a coach.
Veronica: We are actually quite happy that we have found each other. It is not easy to get enough rowing girls in Spain to build up bigger teams, like for a quad. So we are glad that our double works out well.
WR: What is your favourite boat?
Veronica: I like rowing the double.
Laura: I like the double as well. In general we prefer sculling. Sweeping is not very popular in Spain, especially for girls. You know, they normally say ‘sweeping is for men’ ( laughs). We only row a girl’s eight for fun.
WR: Laura, you rowed the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne this year. How was this experience?
Laura: It was definitely not my favourite regatta. It felt really strange, the entire atmosphere was incredibly tense. I still like the regatta course in Lucerne – it is lovely. I don’t know why but it just did not feel as comfortable as during our training sessions in Banyoles (Spain).
In case I row at the next Olympic trial I would like to row with Veronica again. We have been in one team for three years now and know each other.
WR: What are your plans for the future?
Veronica: Of course Rio 2016 would be worth a try. For me it is just incredibly far away. I mean – it’s four years!
Laura: I think everyone tries to get to the Olympics. That’s normal for athletes. We will go for it in 2016, if the time is right. Probably the best is just to see how far we come in the next months or in the next season and then go step-by-step.
WR: What do you do outside of rowing?
Veronica: I am a nurse. After the under-23 Championships I will need to do a one month practical training straight away. I won’t have any time for a holiday.
Laura: I am physiotherapist. After Trakai I won’t have any holidays either, I need to go straight back to work. I finished my physiotherapy study last year. Even though we were always busy with all the training we both managed to finish our education without making any break. Our priority has been the rowing but somehow there has always been a way to combine both.
WR: Being lightweights, do you struggle to keep your weight?
Veronica: I never have problems. I can eat whatever I want – I hardly put on weight.
Laura: Yes, I’m pretty glad I row together with Veronica. She has often helped me when I was too heavy. Fifty-seven kg is just too difficult for me to hold. In ‘critical’ situations we normally agree that I focus on 59kg and Veronica holds the 55kg since we are allowed to compensate two kilos. That also means though that I am constantly on diet. It can be very annoying.
WR: How do you feel about the World Rowing Under 23 Championships so far?
Veronica: Not too good. I have a sore neck since a few days so I’m not in top conditions unfortunately. I try to make the best of it. I hope it will get better for the next races.
Laura: We haven’t had our best races here so far. Somehow we were a bit distracted and it took us a while to find our rhythm. We haven’t raced together since April because I rowed in another team for a short while. I participated in the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne (SUI) in May with Teresa Mas de Xaxars Rivero.
Our first race here was not too good. We came only third in the first heat which means that we had to race the repechage. But having an extra race might be an advantage for us. Maybe we just need something to ‘wake up’.
Veronica: As usual it is always strange to row at a new place. We have never been here in Trakai and need to get used to everything – the water, the course. You need to find out how to adapt your race plan to the course and so on.