Its almost been a week since we arrived in sunny Lucerne and heaps has been going on. Off the water, we have been shopping like madmen.. heaps of clothes, chocolate and knives. The Australian A team arrived on wednesday, but they are staying across town at the ritzy Alpina Hotel. Its really cool being part of the Aussie team. Australians who travel overseas seem to gather at sporting events around the world. In the last couple of days we have had plenty of Aussies coming up to and wishing us well, as well as shouting for us when racing. People around town still stop and stare as we walk around...

Racing started on friday. We were in the first heat of three for the Mens Eights with france, canada, czech rep. and the Australian A eight. We came third beating czech and france which allowed us to progress straight through to the semis without going through the repecharges. It pretty exciting to match it with the big boys and beat some of them.

Today is saturday and we had the semi finals. We had to make the top three in our semi to go to the A final. If we did that we would be one of the 6 fastest eights in the world... we thought it was a realistic goal. We started very well and were second through 500m behind Canada, the reinging world champs. Our plan was to just go for it, balls out, until 1500m and then try and hold on for the last 500m. At 1500m we were 4th ahead of the Dutch and Czechs. Unfortunately we spent too much energy in the first 1500 and didnt have enough left in the tank. We can 6th. Pretty upset. But (as is usually the case) we regained our perspective when we got back onto land... we have an average crew age of 20 (about 6 years younger than everyone else), we know that we can start well consistently, and also we did 5.39min in the semi (we estimated that a time of five minutes and high thrities would win U23 worlds). We are definitely on track to achieve our goals.

The cow bells are nice. Havent seen any nude swimmers at the start line yet.

But, I will be getting some fully sick facial hair. I am going back to the hotel to do it now. It will make me look really tough, hehe.

We got on TV today. The World Cup is televised on EuroSport. My first racing for Australia. My first time on TV. What other exciting things will happen I wonder...

Got poster today. Great souvenier. We have a party tomorrow night after the finals. Curfew is 12 midnight. Thats fine though... noone wants to jeopordie all our preparation on one night.

This might be the last email for a couple of days. We move to Sarnen (the swiss national rowing training centre) which is 20 mins from Lucerne on monday. Back to hard work before moving to Belgrade on the monday a week later. So they might not have internet there.

Later,

Mike.