WARRINGTON’S Olympic Games rowing aces are on track to produce their best performances in China next month.

Richard Egington and Olivia Whitlam will be the first ever rowers to represent the town in the Olympics when racing begins in Beijing on August 9.

Both rowers have enjoyed the benefits of overseas training during July and will head out to compete for Team GB on Wednesday after spending 10 days in a camp in Caversham, near Reading.

Former Lymm High School pupil Egington will contest a coveted Olympic medal in the men’s eight and was pleased with the progress made on a three-week high altitude training camp in Austria, returning on Friday.

The 29-year-old, who started in the sport as a teenager with Warrington Rowing Club, said: “We tried to compress the season into three weeks and I really enjoyed the camp.

“There were a couple of niggling injuries for other members of the crew but that’s par for the course.

“There was nothing major and it was a very consistent camp for us.

“I thought we had as good a camp, if not better, than I’ve ever had there before.

“We seemed to be rowing pretty well. It wasn’t perfect, and it never will be, but it’s going better than it has ever done before at this time of the year.

“I think everything seems to be in good condition and it’s just important to keep plugging away now.

“The 10 days in Caversham will see the intensity go up and people are going to start to get a bit more stressed out.

“I’ve not really thought about going to China too much but it definitely feels to me there are less hours in each day at the moment and time seems to be marching on rapidly towards the start of racing.”

For Egington and the other seven men in his boat who have been Olympic-bound since last year, it is all about continuing to build on the momentum that led to a World Cup first-place finish when they last took to the water competitively at the start of June.

It is also a gradual building process for Daresbury 22-year-old Whitlam, who will contest the women’s pair event in Beijing, but she is also still learning all about her partner.

Whitlam was uncertain of her Team GB place in China until she finished second behind France with Londoner Louisa Reeve in the women’s pairs race at the Olympic Qualification Regatta in the Polish city of Poznan last month.

They have just spent some quality training time together with the rest of the women’s crews in Germany.

Whitlam, a member of the Agecroft Rowing Club, was only put into the pairs boat with Reeve in May.

She said: “We got a lot of training done and me and my crewmate are in good health, so that’s good.

“We feel as though we’ve moved on a bit from our first race together and we’ve got to keep stepping it up.

“We knew each other from university rowing, competing against each other for our respective universities, but we didn’t know each other well.

“It’s pretty crucial to know someone well when you’re rowing with them.

“You need to know when to push their button, what to say to them and what they need to get the best out of themselves.

“You can have a really positive impact on each other if you know each other well.”

Whitlam, who won gold in the women’s pairs at the World Under 23s Championships last year, said the preparations for her debut in the Olympics feel ‘quite weird’.

“There’s the whole Olympics feel and I’m saying, ‘Oh my God, it’s the Olympics’.

“But also at the same time it’s just about preparing for the last race of the season.

“You want everything to come together for it and have the best race that you can on the race days.

“You want to have your best race because it’s the Olympics, but even though it’s a big event you want to have your best race because it’s the last race of the season. It’s quite weird.”

* Read Egington’s Race to the Olympics blog at warringtonguardian.co.uk.