Kayak quartet on song for London 2012
15 March 2012
There was no stopping the women's K4 500 crew of Rachel Lovell, Hannah Davis, Jo Brigden-Jones and Lyndsie Fogarty as they stormed home to win their second Olympic selection race in Penrith and tick the qualification boxes for London.
The champagne flowed as they celebrated post-race, but the girls have already set their sights on their ultimate goal - a place atop the London podium.
"We're aiming for that gold medal," 33-year-old mother-of-two Lovell said.
"What other goal can you have? We're definitely aiming for gold."
The mature end of the K4 boat returned to kayaking after a sabbatical in England and is in the shape of her life in what has become one of Australia's best kayak medal chances in London.
"It seems to be when the important races come up we almost over-perform and we do it when it really counts," Lovell said after the race where her first Olympic berth was confirmed.
Since coming together less than a year ago, their Olympic build-up has been almost as fast, and certainly as smooth - as this K4 crew's lightening paddling.
"We never under-perform, but it seems like it brings the best out in us when we have these really big competitions and that extra pressure just makes us go even faster," Lovell said.
Sydney's Brigden-Jones, herself returning from shoulder surgery in 2010, echoed Lovell's sentiments.
"We're really excited about the crew. We feel we really have a lot of potential and every time we get in the boat and race it just gets better and better so we're really looking forward to racing at the Olympics and hope we can bring home something awesome…like a medal," she said.
Fogarty and Davis were members of the women's K4 500 crew that won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, illustrating the potential for Aussie paddlers to match it with the strong European nations.
Davis draws inspiration from their bronze medal regularly to highlight how far the girls can go in 2012.
"Beijing taught me that you can set really high goals. They may seem unrealistic to people on the outside but if you've got that true honest belief in the boat you can do it," she said.
"We want to match that, if not go one or two better and we're on the right track."
The crew came together just four weeks before the 2011 World Championships where they won Australia a quota place in London.
They will continue to build over the next four months, and as Lovell says: "watch this space."