After yet another podium finish, Jon Schofield believes his K2 200m partnership with Liam Heath is closing the gap on their dominant Russian rivals.
The pair extended their impressive medal haul to 17 competitive races with silver at the second World Cup regatta of the season in Racice, Czech Republic.
It was a result that endorsed their standing as one of the world’s most consistent crews on the back of a second place finish at the first World Cup event in Szeged, Hungary. Their time of 33.077 was also just 00.430 behind Olympic champions Yury Postrygay and Alexander Dyachenko, signalling an ambition to become the best paddlers on the globe.
“We’re delighted with the result,” said Schofield. “It was a much better performance than the previous weekend which we learnt a lot from. We’ve pushed the Olympic champions all the way so we’ve got to be happy with that.
“I’d say we’re definitely closing the gap on them and we’ve shown that we’re stronger over the first 50m. We’re strengthening with each race but we need to sustain our top speed for a bit longer in the middle of the race.
“To say we started the season quite late in January I think we’re coming along really well. We’ve climbed back to that top level again really quickly.”
The undisputed European champions will now switch their attentions to defending their crown for a phenomenal fourth successive occasion when they travel to Portugal in June. The duo will hone their technique and stamina in preparation at Eton’s picturesque Lake Dorney - the venue where they scooped bronze at London 2012.
And then the pair will endure a rigorous training camp in a bid to chase the World Championship gold in Duisburg, Germany, which is a coveted medal that’s eluded them to date.
“It’s three weeks until the European Championships which is a big deal for us,” Schofield said. “We’ll undergo a hard block of training for two weeks then rest up a little bit before the competition.
“We will be back at Dorney but there won’t be much time to make too much change before flying out to Portugal. Then the focus switches to the World Championships where we’ll have a 10-week window to prepare.”
Schofield added: “Racing the best athletes gives you the benchmark for when you compete. It’s always good to race the top competitors because it means a lot more if you get a result against paddlers that good.
“We’re happy to still be up there. We’ve picked up some great results recently and it keeps our record of podium finishes going. We’re proud of that and we want to maintain that record.”