Personal Q&A with Anna
Are your family involved in your career?
My family have played a very large role in my career, my mother being particularly influential, taking me to every training session and competition until I was old enough to take myself. Even now my parents come to all domestic competitions to support me. When possible they travel to the international competitions too.
Did you go to university?
I went to Royal Holloway College, University of London. I did a degree in Economics and Management. I graduated in summer of 2001.
Do you have to have a special diet to compete?
I wouldn't say that I have a 'special' diet but I do eat very healthily, avoiding junk food and fast convenience foods. I always make sure that I have a good balance of carbohydrates (for energy), protein (to help build muscle) and fresh fruit and vegetables to keep me healthy.
Do you still keep in contact with your friends from home?
My best friend was and still is Cara, we met at school and she was fairly sporty too. She still enjoys sport recreationally. She works as an accountant now.
Does the weather have any impact on your racing?
To a certain extent. If it becomes too windy and consequently too wavy racing is often cancelled. My semi final race at the Sydney Olympics was delayed by one and a half hours due to fog! In sprint racing, physically there is not really much that you can do to prepare for a race if the weather is bad. It becomes more of a psychological preparation. In marathon racing if the weather is bad, I will make sure that I have good, extra thick water proof spray deck - a cover that goes over the cockpit of the boat to stop the water getting in. Some people might put an extra pump in the boat in order to pump out the extra water. I was in a race once where it was so windy that the waves became so large that they were coming over my head and eventually I sunk!
Have you ever been injured?
I have fortunately never injured myself while competing. I have had injuries but nothing serious enough to ever stop me from competing or training for a significant length of time.
How did you start canoeing?
As a child I used to do a variety of sports and activities, during one summer holiday my mum picked up a leaflet at the local sports centre, saying, 'Come and try canoeing'. It was a weeklong course, so my brother and I signed up and we learnt how to kayak. We loved it! We took a month membership and eventually we joined the club. I've been at the same club ever since.
How do you deal with failure?
I have a great desire to achieve my goals and ambitions and I realise that it is necessary to experience failure in order to achieve success. But you must learn from your experiences and not make the same mistakes twice. In fact not achieving your goals is only really failure if you don't get back up from it; you stay down and don't learn from it. Its like learning to ride a bike, when you fall off the first time you don't just give up, you get back on and try again.
How often did you train?
I used to practice three or four times a week. However I used to do lots of other sports in school and out of school in addition.
If you could meet any athlete, who would it be?
I would love to meet Pete Sampras and discuss his sporting career so far. With any great athlete I would like to know what they think it is that separates them from the rest of the sporting world.