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Overall World Champions in Costa Rica in 2011, overall European Champions in 2012, runner up World Champions in New Zealand in 2013 and at R4 WRC in Brasil 2014 – Katerina Vacikova, Michaela Kratochvilova, Zuzana Valtrova, Lenka Lagnerova Vandasova, Hana Kankovska, Pavla Prochazkovamake up this Open Women’s team that will be paddling with the Czech flag at the R6 WRC in Indonesia next week, and this exact crew have only existed since 2010!!!
Besides rafting … 5 of them are wild water kayakers (downriver and slalom), one is a cyclist and four of them have families which is what fills their free time when they are not at work or rafting. Paddling is their life, and only one wasn’t born with a paddle but with pedals instead (meaning cycling). It has been 16 years since they started rafting seriously (when the Camel White Water Challenge started in Africa).
Katerina Vacikova speaks to us about their plans for the WRC R6 in Indonesia.
Katerina, how is your team preparing for this competition?
“We are from different cities (500km apart) so it is hard to train together. Four of us live in one city, but 3 from the left side and 1 from the right side
We have the Czech Cup series running from March through to September, so during this period we are training together nearly every second weekend. We have really nice, wild rivers (WW5) in CZE, so we paddle on them during the season.
Photo: Jan Homolka
In Europe the winter starts now with cold weather and dark early, it is a hard time for us. We have to paddle with headlamps and with a beeping timer because we can’t see watches never mind each other. Right now we train twice a week on the raft, 3 times a week in a gym and once a week individually – kayaking, running, cycling or whatever.
We were paddling in Austria (on the River Isel) in October and we are having a training camp on flat water now, heading to Java on Nov 28th.”
Do you have any expectations relating to the results? And what are your expectations generally? – “Each of us has expectations tingling inside but we rather not say it loudly ”
Photo: Jan Homolka
Which discipline does your team like the most or are best at? We love slalom and downriver and we think we are best at those.”
What is the best part of a WRC competition for you, besides getting a medal? 😉 – “For all rafters the best part of the WRC is the final party I think And as I wrote above, doing slalom and downriver.”
What is the hardest part of this sport for you? – “Head to Head is as challenging physically as it is psychologically.”
We all know that the Czech selections are the toughest in the world so winning them immediately tells everyone this team is very good. With that difficult task behind them they now have the next difficult task of competing at the top rafting competition in the world against the best of the world. Many times already they have made the Czech Republic proud and so we wish them well as they continue in this direction, and to have good stroke and, at the end, good fun too.
Bella Italia, belle ragazze – Caroline Goodall, Marianna Tedeschi, Alessandra Massimino, Clara Ganora, Jasmine Zurlini Frugis, Elena Bragastini and Francesca Leonardi are coming to Indonesia for the World Rafting Championship to cross their paddles with the 15 other women’s teams. They will represent Italy in the Open division.
We are used to seeing a team from one club representing their country, but this time it is not the case, the girls come from different clubs and they are selected for the top team.
– Caroline Goodall the captain of the Italian team and her club is Merano DRD4
– Marianna Tedeschi from Carrara, part of the Sesia Rafting Team
– Alessandra Massimino from Sondrio, part of the Indomita Valtellina River club
– Clara Ganora from Torino, part of the Sesia Rafting Team
– Jasmine Zurlini Frugis from Pavia, part of the Sesia Rafing Team
– Elena Bragastini from Totino, part of the Sesia Rafting Team
– Francesca Leonardi from Caldes, DRD4 team
That is why we contacted Jasmine to talk to us about it, about their success this year at the European Championship (ERC) and their departure to Indonesia.
Before we move on to your plans for Indonesia, Jasmine, let’s look at the fantastic success that you have achieved at the ERC this year. Gold in the Slalom, bronze in the Sprint, silver in H2H, third in the Overall, medals from the EC series are too many to count, what are the changes in this team that led to this success?
“We are all together from the European Rafting Championship that took place this spring in Bosnia.
From the WRC 2013 in New Zealand to the ERC in Bosnia this year the team has changed a lot. We have new/old members. The captain Caroline is an important figure thanks to her experience. She took part at the WRC in Costa Rica but she wasn’t in New Zealand because she was busy being a mom. The Italian team is a very young team: 3 of the members are in the U23 category but the federation decided to compete only in the Open categories.
This year we took part in the European Cup series a lot more than other years and it was a great opportunity to get to know the other teams that will probably compete at the WRC.
We also participated at the ERC 2015 in Banja Luka and we are still very happy with that result and so we go to Indonesia with even more expectations.
In addition to the European teams, at the WRC there will be other countries like Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand and USA. The competition promises to be very hard with 16 teams registered.” – You’re right, the number must not trick us, because they are all very strong teams that will be competing for the WRC medals.
Since the WRC is the toughest competition of the year, how do you prepare for it specifically?
“We train as much as possible. Training for our team is a little bit tricky because we are quite distant from each other and scattered around the Italian territory, but every weekend we meet to train and during the week each of us trains individually.”
Who has helped you to get to Indonesia and made it all possible?
“To make this possible we have the Italian Rafting Federation (FIRaft) who have supported our training. Our coach is Stefano Pellin who always trains us with great enthusiasm.
“We arrive in Indonesia on the 28th of November a few days before the competition. We will have the time to relax and to watch the U19 and U23 races, and to train hard of course.”
Thank you Jasmine for your time, we wish you girls good stroke and a nice time in Indonesia.
I’ve had the opportunity to follow the development and progression of this team this year, to be at more than one “EC” together, and in addition to that, they are great girls. I sense the strength and potential that these girls have in them. The WRC is the toughest competition, but I have no doubt that these girls will give of their best. As I do for all the teams who are at their “beginning” I wish them to persevere. The Italian expert team is definitely doing its job.
The United States national rafting team, composed of: John Mark Seelig (captain and back left), Seth Mason (back right), Matt Norfleet (middle left), Kurt Kincel (middle right), Rob Prechtl (front left), Jeremiah Williams (front right), will compete this year at the R6 World Rafting Championship, Indonesia in the Men’s Open category. They will be fighting for . . . → continue reading . . .USA Open Men 2015
We are very pleased to announce that the hosts for the 2016 R4 Euro Rafting Champs will be Slovenia!
The event will be held from the 17 to 22 May 2016. Sprint, Head to Head and Slalom will all be held on the Sava River in Tacen near Llubljana. And the Downriver will . . . → continue reading . . .ERC Champs 2016 hosts announced!
The Australian U19 Women, who are the R4 World Champions, are ready for the R6 challenge.
“The team that deserves a big mention is the new U19 Women’s R4 World Rafting Champions – Australia. This team managed to keep Brazil from making it a clean sweep of the top podium position. They’ve had a hard journey to . . . → continue reading . . .Last year’s U19 Women’s champions on WRC2015
When passion for something is so big it clears all obstacles, find ways and persists, then it lasts. In our sport it is not easy for the passion to last; our sport is rough, difficult, dangerous, costly, but there are with us some people who have persisted so long that they have become recognizable . . . → continue reading . . .Famous rafting faces – Roberto Schifferle
Woo-hoo-hoo, the Netherland girls are coming to the 2015 WRC!! We missed them in Bosnia at the Euro Championship, that’s for sure. What a group of happy, smiling, lovely girls. I was lucky to hang out with them this year on several occasions, and so can you now in Indonesia. 😉