After finishing an impressive fourth amongst a tough field at the European Junior Championships in Gravelines, France earlier this year and with another year left in juniors, young Slovenian talent Ilaria Macchi looks to build to further success in her junior career and beyond.
I live near the sea and often the conditions for rowing aren't good, so we have one or more training camps in Croatia during the winter period. In the spring, we have some weekends of 'training together' with other crews and we do some race pieces together, usually at Lake Bled.
I've raced at several big regattas across Europe this year to prepare for the summer, including the International Regatta in Zagreb, Croatia, Munich International Regatta in Germany, the regatta at Lake Bled in Slovenia and of course the European Junior Championships in France.
Now I'm training to race at the World Junior Championships in the single scull in a beautiful place called Bohinj. The lake at Bohinj is located within the mountainous area of Slovenia; you can just imagine the amazing scenery I get to see every day when I'm there training. Most of the time we're lucky to get perfect conditions for rowing (the water is like a mirror!) and the temperature is fantastic because it doesn't get too hot.
I have to thank my father for encouraging me to start rowing in the first place. Four years ago, he had an accident during the summer- he is well now- which meant we couldn't go away on holidays. He had the brilliant idea to enrol my sister and I in a summer rowing camp. At first, I wasn't really that excited about it as I wanted to relax during the summer, but from the first day I tried rowing I just fell in love with the sport.
Last year I raced at Junior Worlds in Trakai, Lithuania with Ziva Rus, a girl from Bled, in the double scull. It was a wonderful experience and at the end of racing we were both very happy, as we had never rowed together before and trained together for just a month before competing. I have taken the experience of the World Championships last year as key preparation for this season. Now I am much more experienced and better prepared psychologically for a big race like this. The single scull can be mentally tough, but I row most of the time in the single and it's my favourite discipline. I just depend completely on my own capabilities and strength and I feel much freer.
My future goals are to win the European and World Championships, continue as an U23 and then as a senior. Of course I have Olympic dreams too!
We wish Ilaria the very best of luck in her campaign in Račice this summer!