This week we talk to sailor David Kohler who's been part of the Individual Performance Programme for the past three years.
If you don’t like travelling it wouldn’t be for you!
Individual Performance Programme athlete: Sailing (470 Class)
A significant highlight for me would be when we placed sixth at a Senior World Cup event 2010 in Weymouth which is home waters and it was also the first trials for the London 2012 Olympics.
We were the second British team and sixth in the World so that was good.
I typically spend three to four days in Edinburgh and the other three to four days down South. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday would be catching up with university work and in the gym - either strength or cardio depending on the cycle. Then either Wednesday or Thursday night flying down to Southampton and getting the train to Weymouth. I’d be training Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the gym and on the water then flying back on Sunday night to do it all over again. If you don’t like travelling it wouldn’t be for you!
There’s no secret. I’d say the studies are the hard bit because when you’re sailing that's what I want to do immediately when I finish university so I’ve always go the motivation to do that. It really is finding the motivation to do the work when you’ve got the time which is the difficult thing so when you’re in the library you’re not just sitting on Facebook!
One of my greatest strengths would be time planning and goal setting. A good story my coach always tells me is to ‘Get all your friends and family to meet me at London airport tomorrow morning, everyone would say you can’t do it. But if I told you I’d just won the lottery and I’m going to give you half of it, you’d be there!’
A big part of the programme is just being around other people who are trying to do the same thing - competing at a high level and trying to get a reasonable qualification. So learning from their experiences as well as listening to Steve and John - Steve Bishop and John Watson are the CSE’s full-time Strength and Conditioning coaches - who have been through it all before.
I’ve never actually sailed my boat in Scotland!
I came to Edinburgh University for the reputation of being a good university in Finance and Accounting. It was literally by coincidence that it happened to be the best gym I’ve been to in the last few years. What I regret that I can’t do more of is to compete in university level sport.
I’ve never actually sailed my boat in Scotland! It’s all via the airports and that’s what good about the city, its well connected with the airport only 20 minutes away. Equally the university has been very supportive of what I’ve been doing with time off if it’s needed.
It’s got to be Chris Hoy! One thing is that he just loves his sport so much. The more you can learn from that, whether its training in January with horizontal snow which isn’t fun, if you can always have that passion for why you love the sport and why you do it, its easier to beat people. He just works so hard its automatic.
In 2014 that’ll be mid-cycle building up for the Rio De Janeiro Olympics in 2016. I would be hoping to be top five in the World with my team mate Phil Sparks. I competed against Phil in the 470 Class but since we’ve teamed up we’ve both performed much better.
Recently I’ve been tempted by the Tesco’s offer for Frijj milkshakes. I’m a deals man and my flatmates would vouch for that!
It’s actually a pretty massive year. We’ve got the Worlds in Australia in December which is the final qualification event for London 2012. While being nowhere near the favourites, just competing against a double silver medallist, a double World Champion and someone who has been ranked second in the World for the past four years, we’re definitely an outsider. But just being an underdog and getting to compete against those people and have the equal opportunity is exciting.
I’ve got my dissertation till March, exams in May and then I go full time sailing and move down to England. If we don’t qualify for 2012 we’ll still go full time looking to be the training partner for whoever’s selected so we can at least work with them and be close to what happens.
There are five teams in the frame for 2012 selection but you rely on luck.
Since Phil and I teamed up we’ve done three events. In the most recent one we finished third and beat the double silver medallist who was fifth at the Olympic test event so you rely on a bit of luck.
Interviewed in September 2011.
This article was published on Nov 25, 2011