Rowing Interview: Steve Dudek

Image credit: The Boat Race

Steve Dudek, Light Blues captain for the 2014 Boat Race talked to TCS Sport about pre-season preparations, soul searching and this year’s targets.     

How have the pre-season preparations gone so far?
Excellent. With a squad full as it is with new athletes, I’m very pleased with the progression thus far. We raced in the Czech Republic several weeks ago, and were 3 seconds and 1 second behind the first and third Czech national team eights respectively, which is very encouraging for a crew that’s only spent a little over a week together.

Any soul searching after the Boat Race loss this year?
If you mean an examination of my personal motives for undertaking the race, the fact that it makes me feel as I did proves that I desperately want to win the next one. However, if you’re asking if I’m questioning things in general, not at all. Steve Trapmore has done an incredible job turning me into something resembling a half decent rower, which is nothing short of a miracle. I expect nothing less than what he’s achieved in the past.

How quickly did the crew get over it?
I don’t really feel that anything I tell you can capture the feeling better than something that was related to me at the Blue’s Dinner last year. Although the particulars of the story escape me, several years ago, at a Blues Dinner in the wake of a loss, a young man from that day’s race was sitting next to an Old Blue in his sixties. At some point, the former asked: “When did you get over losing the Boat Race?” The latter replied, “I’ll let you know.”

Isn’t it tough that the crew’s year is judged by only one event?
Very much so, but the singular nature of the race makes winning it ecstasy and losing it misery. In addition, the binary nature of the event amplifies this further. As you can imagine, there is indeed a feeling that the last several months of your life have been for nothing in the event of a loss- but without that, the Boat Race isn’t really the Boat Race.

What are the targets this year?
Win.

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