Ken Wallace and Lachlan Tame are ready to paddle for gold after an impressive heat and semi-final in the K2 1000 at the Rio Olympics on Wednesday.
And while the fast-finishing Serbians might have snuck past the Australians in the heat, Wallace and Tame are unlikely to let it happen again.
“I think I’m more confident after getting that first race done,” Wallace said.
“The most nervous race that I had at the last two Olympic Games, and at this one, is always the first one.
“The heat we had a cracking start, we had a really good 750 metres, and in all honesty I didn’t see them coming. They went past us, the Serbian guys, with a lot of pace, and if we wanted to kick it up a gear we would have burned up a lot of fuel.”
Tame and Wallace kicked it up a gear in their semi-final, setting the fastest time, and will line up in lame three for Thursday’s final.
And while the crew would have been happy to win their heat and go straight through to the final, they weren’t too disappointed they had to race again.
“The more racing we do the better it is, we train for it every day,” Wallace said.
“And now Loccy gets to do three races at his first Olympics.
“At the time it’s disappointing, but we train for it.”
Tame said he felt surprisingly relaxed going into his first Olympic race, so much so that he nearly fell out of the boat just before the start.
“Honestly going into the heat, we just said it’s another race,” he said.
“Yes, it’s on the big stage, but we were relaxed. I couldn’t get their fast enough. He’s a racer and I’m a doer. I just want to get it done, and he just enjoys the race and is having fun.
“Today I became an Olympian, tomorrow I get to be a champ with him.”
And while the boys were focussed on the job at hand, they did take a moment to take in their surroundings.
“This is probably one of the most picturesque courses we have ever paddled on,” said Wallace, who has paddled on courses all around the world.
“This is absolutely beautiful to race on. You’re going to see some really good results here, you’re going to see some really good performances here.
“We wouldn’t race anywhere like this in the world.“