Duncan Grant's European campaign with the New Zealand rowing team ended in a first – but not the first he was looking for.
The three-time Marlborough Sportsperson of the Year award-winner finished near the tail of the field in the last World Cup regatta in the lightweight men's single sculls final at Lucerne in Switzerland, the first time he had not been on the medal podium in his international career.
Earlier, the Wairau rower won a silver medal at the World Cup regatta at Munich virtually straight off the plane and not feeling 100 per cent, but he was obviously not happy with those results. After all, he's won three successive world lightweight singles titles and been a Halberg Award finalist in 2007-09.
Grant said a combination of factors in Europe left him feeling drained, especially in the last regatta at Lucerne. Humid weather in excess of 30 degrees Celsius, and four races in two days combined to leave him totally drained and lacking energy.
"I started pretty well in the final. Came to the three-quarter mark and just hit the wall. I just struggled to the finish. It was a strong field. A bad day at the office. The worst result I've ever had and the first time in my life I've had to row back to the boat park and not via the podium. It was just a combination of random factors on the day."
Since coming back to the New Zealand team headquarters at Lake Karapiro, Grant said he has got stuck into training and made the team for the World Championships at the end of October.
He has put recent disappointments behind him.
"There's a bit of motivation to make sure that doesn't happen again. I don't like coming second any time."
Grant admitted his confidence took a bit of a hit. "It does leave you wondering. You never know what the other crews will do. I've just got to make sure I'm in the best condition I can be."
With just over two months to go before the worlds, Grant was happy with his progress, consistently being near the top of the leaderboard with his times compared with the other New Zealand crews.
- The Marlborough Express