“Work hard, but in silence; let your success make all noise“
5th May 1982
Olympic Games: 2nd K1 200 Tokyo 2020, 6th K1 200 Rio 2016, 4th K1 200 London 2012, 5th K4 500 Beijing 2008, 5th K2 500 & 5th K4 500 Athens 2004
Who is/was your canoeing idol?
I’ve never had an idol… but I used to watch a lot of videos of Caroline Brunet and Holman in order to improve my technique.
What’s your favorite distance?
My favorite distance is 200 meters.
What’s your favorite training?
My favorite training are short speed series.
Favorite paddle and boat?
My favorite boat is Nelo 4, I’ve been to many years paddling with it and it’s the boat which I feel more comfortable with. And for the paddle… I’ll say the one that I’m using nowadays, Braça 6 (although I had been a lot of years training with Braça 4).
I like Coldplay songs.
Could you give any advice for beginners?
I’d recommend them to enjoy it as much as they can. In the end, what’s most important of doing something is enjoying it. Our sport brings us the possibility to be in contact with nature, to meet a lot of new people… everyone should enjoy it!
Was it hard to keep the motivation to the top for 6 Olympic cycles? Was there any point you decided to give it up? What’s the key on that?
Motivation is fundamental because it’s the key to give it all in training every day and improve yourself. But always with short-term goals. Participating in 6 Olympic Games has never been in my objectives list (something totally unimaginable when I was 18 years old and I participated in my first Olympic Games). I’ve always gone season by season with short term goals, never thinking of objectives years to years.
Give it up… well, sometimes I may have thought about it, but never as a final decision. They were normally some temporary doubts that passed away.
I’ve always thought I had more to give and I could be even better. And that’s true, you can always make a little more.
What was the feeling like when you crossed the finish line in Tokyo and you saw you finally got your desired Olympic Medal?
It was just AMAZING; I still get excited when I think about it. It was a dream I had been years and years fighting for and a dream I was totally convinced I could achieve, although I had been trying for many years. I felt happiness and joy, and, in some way, relief of knowing that I finally had what I always wanted.
How do you face the possibility of being in your 7th Olympic Games? What’s your objective?
I face this new Olympic cycle with a lot of enthusiasm. With the extra motivation that brings me that silver Olympic medal. And, although having been in 6 Olympic Games is something amazing, fighting to be in my 7th Games is a very nice challenge.
My objective, and one that would make me very excited, would be to qualify for Paris 2024 and that Spain, after 16 years, has women’s team boats representing the country once again.
What’s your objective for this season? How do you feel changing from 200 to 500 meters?
My favorite distance, as I said before, is 200 meters. However, it is not Olympic anymore and I must focus myself to 500 meters. We must know how to adapt to changes, and I’ve always followed this philosophy. Adapt to circumstances at every moment.
My objective is to improve myself and to keep a high level in K1 500 and participate in World Championships in a team boat and fighting to be in a Final.
Apart from physical training, do you have mental training scheduled in your routine?
I don’t have any mental training scheduled in my routine. But I do consider it very important and I think a lot.
How do you manage to keep calm before and during a competition?
I try to keep calm using music. It is all about looking for balance between calm and tension, also necessary to compete in good conditions.
What is a normal day like as a professional paddler?
A normal day for a professional paddler is 24 hours dedicated to sport, rest and body care (physiotherapy, nutrition…). Training sessions in the water, weight lifting to gain muscle power, warm up, stretching…
What are your hobbies apart from sport? What other activities are part from your routine?
The truth is that apart from sport I have very little time. I love reading and that’s something I try to make every day. I always bring one or two books at every competition I travel; it helps me to relax and disconnect. The other important thing is to enjoy with my daughter and my family, I want all my free time for them.
Is there a place you enjoy the most training? Why? And for competition?
Pontevedra has always been a very special place for me. It’s my training spot, only half hour from my house. I feel I have there everything I need: river for long paddling and Verducido dam, with the sprint track for my series.
And a favorite place for competition… I cannot think of a favorite track; but Sevilla brings me good memories (for 2002 World Championships) and I would also include Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo.