Jacob’s journey to the Olympics

October 13, 2019

We’re currently sponsoring a young boy, Jacob Lines from Frome who is an aspiring Olympic athlete for Kayaking.

Jacob and his family had been coming to Hatt’s for a while so he reached out to us and told us about his goal to be part of the Paris 2024 Olympics.

Jacob’s story was incredibly inspiring and linked so well to our company mission so we decided to support him.

Since then, Jacob has benefited from a range of our services including Massage, Strength and Conditioning and Physiotherapy. We’ve been following his journey to success and are thrilled to be part of it.

Here’s a review of how Jacob’s been getting on so far:

What progress have you made over the past 3 months?

I’ve continued to work on my fitness and strength through the summer and felt in a really good place when I returned to racing last week after a gap in races for a couple of months.  I raced at Nottingham where I got a really good result in both kayak and canoe.

I attended a British Canoeing training camp on the river Rhone over the summer which was valuable for learning and reinforcing whitewater skills.  In the race simulation on the last day, I ended up about 4% faster than the best of the rest, which my coaches put down to my natural technique and skill, but also my core strength, which has been helped by the work with Gareth.

I’ve also taken some private 1-1 coaching up at HPP in Nottingham over a few weekends with Zak Allin, one of the best paddlers in the UK and recently appointed to the British Canoeing staff.  He has helped me go back to basics with my technique but was very impressed with my strength and my natural ability.  It was really good to hear this from an independent view.

What competitions have you taken part in over the past 3 months?

The summer has been an off-season for racing, but I have still trained hard.  At the training camp in France, I was the fastest on the water by a long way, although penalties cost me a little.  My coaches continually tell me though that they would far rather find someone who can be fast to work on technique with, as it’s very hard to try and make a paddler faster even if they have good technique.

I thought I was back from my injury in good form, and this has been borne out by my recent results- I equalled my Division 1 PB with another 6th at Nottingham, and have competed in a couple of “paddle-ups” where I get to race with the Premier Division, based on my national ranking.

These races are all about experience rather than results as I’m racing against people with 10 years more experience than me, but I still put in respectable results, finishing with some points.  Last weekend I qualified for a place in the British Open at the Olympic Course, racing against the best British and European paddlers, and although I didn’t qualify through to the semis, I put in a really good performance and my British Canoeing coaches were very pleased with my paddling.

What competitions does Jacob have lined up over the next 3 months?

The next few weeks are really important to me.  We are at the end of the season, and although my injury earlier in the year has cost me because I missed some valuable races, the work with Hatt’s helped me come back so strong that I have still kept my hopes of promotion to the Premier division alive.

I am inside the top 10 of Division 1 and if I can get a top 4 finish in 2 of the next 3 races, I should get promoted.  This will be hard, but it’s not out of the question.  I have a 2-race weekend at Llandysul in mid-Wales this weekend, and then a Prem “paddle-up” followed by the final Division 1 race at Tees in Newcastle the weekend after.  And then it’s winter training until the competition begins again in March!

How are you getting on in the GB pathway?

My coaches are still pleased with my progress, and particularly my strength and speed.  My speed works against me a little because it means I sometimes pick up extra penalties and I’ve been working hard on that.

I have my annual interview and appraisal with BC in the next few weeks, and I think this should be very positive.  Without my injury, I am pretty confident that I would be in the Premier division by now, and though this is tough to take, my coaches have told me that this will be taken into account.  I continue to work hard, and next season’s goal is to get onto the English National Talent Squad (ENTS) and to try out for junior GB selection.

How has attending the clinic helped with your progress?

I’m generally considered as the strongest and fastest of my age on the squad.  That stands me in really good stead for my racing, but the work that I’ve done with Gareth has made me more aware of technique, and of how my body is working.  To be honest, I think this is quite unusual for my age as I’m now very aware of my body and what it needs.  I now stretch much more than I used to and I think I’m much less likely to get injured than I was.  I just feel like a better athlete.

We’ve mostly focused on strength and conditioning recently but the combination of physio, massage and S&C when I was recovering was awesome and so well put together that I think this has made me come back so much better.

I’m grateful to everyone at Hatt’s.  All of you were such a great team when I hurt myself and worked together to get me back to racing.  I still believe in myself and even if I don’t get to the Premier division this year, I will do it early next year, which will still be a great achievement for someone my age.

I’m also working hard on my social media presence since meeting with Steph maintaining a separate “professional” Insta account, and sending vlogs to Steph regularly.  I’ve also added Hatt’s to my entry data, so my race postings and results are listed as “ Frome Canoe Clue / Hatt Associates”.  One of my posts was picked up and reposted by @CanoeSlalomInternational which was great for my profile and had the #Hattclinic.

I am excited about the next year.  It’s going to be hard racing in the highest UK division as a 15-year-old, but I’m up for it and I think I can deliver results.  My dream of racing for Great Britain is still very real.

Keep an eye out for more updates on Jacob’s progress. If you are or know someone who lives our mission and deserves to be recognised, please get in touch on 01380 730473.