London 2012 bronze medallist Jon Schofield is paddling towards August’s World Championships in Duisburg, Germany, after claiming silver at the latest World Cup regatta.
Alongside sprint partner Liam Heath, the Sawley K2 200m star won the semi-final heat of the competition in Szeged, Hungary, before finishing behind Russian Olympic champions Yury Postrigay and Alexander Dyachenko in the final.
The pair, who ventured as far afield as Cuba and Spain for their winter training programme, have now flown to Racice in the Czech Republic to compete in the second World Cup of the season this weekend.
“It was good to be racing competitively again,” said Schofield. “We really enjoyed it because that’s what we’ve been training towards. It was a bit nerve-racking racing under pressure again but we were happy with the outcome.
“We try and take each race as it comes. We’ve adapted a few things technically since the Games which we are looking to implement in to our racing now. We were slightly disappointed with the performance but really happy with silver.”
Schofield added: “It’s nice to be back. We love these regattas because they are what have made our career. It’s good to see all our peers again, the competitors and international paddlers. The sportsmanship is great.
“We’ll be racing the Russians again this weekend which is the main match up. They are looking incredibly strong as we knew they would be. We just need to keep growing in order to move closer to them.”
Following a spectacular Games on the picturesque Lake Dorney, the duo are eager to keep building their profile in the sport. In June they will travel to Portugal as European champions, bidding to retain their title for a phenomenal fourth successive occasion.
Schofield and Heath kept their title last year on Lake Jarun in Zagreb, Croatia, beating German pairing Ronald Rauhe and Jonas Ems by the finest of margins, with just 0.00184 separating them.
“The European Championships will be the next big test for us,” declared Schofield. “We’d love to retain our title. We’ve got loads more training time to strengthen and improve our form before then.
“It would be something very special if we could win it four times in a row. It would be a fantastic achievement. That would highlight the consistency we’ve got as a crew. We’ll be doing everything in our power to do well and retain our crown.”
And the pinnacle of 2013 will be the World Championships in August, which will mark the anniversary of the most mesmeric, surreal and outstanding moment of the duo’s career at the home Games.
“There’s just three main events remaining this year. We’ll have about 10 weeks to prepare for the World Championships which will be our peak for the year.
“We’re certainly more of a marked crew now and people are trying to work out our secret. But we’re always looking to get stronger and we haven’t won a World Championship yet so that’s the ultimate goal.”