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At just 17 years of age, Finn has shown signs that he may be destined for the top. His silver medal at the U-17 world Topper Championship was just the beginning of a huge 18 months for the Carlow native as he went on to take Silver at the U-19 World Radial Youths and more recently Gold at the World U-21 Radial Championships as well as Bronze and Silver in The Men's Worlds and Europeans respectively. Despite his obvious talent, Finn remains grounded, acknowledging the work it is going to take if he wants to take the next step and ultimately gain his place in Rio 2016. Here we caught up with Finn for a chat.
Finn, after your recent haul of medals at the European & World Championships, how are you feeling right now?
I have come down from the high now. I’m delighted that I did so well, but now I move into the Olympic class so everything will be much harder!
Given your previous success at youth level, coupled with your recent results, you are clearly up there with the best in Europe, and the world. Can you sum up what it takes to get to that level?
It took a lot of training and dedication! Since I have been about 14 I have been training non-stop
You and your peers have a large support network around you and they appear to leave no stone unturned in your preparations for Rio. How important is this?
It’s very important. The Irish Sports Council have given us a lot of help with our training including Sailing coaches and Strength and conditioning coaches.
What are your current objectives/goals?
My Next goal is to get up to speed in my new boat. This involves getting bigger and stronger! As regards events, I obviously want to perform at the under 21 worlds and Europeans next summer but the big goal for me is qualifying Ireland for the Olympics and being able to go myself!
How important is physical fitness, (Strength & Conditioning) work to sailing?
It’s very important. The laser is a very physical boat and you need to be very fit and strong to make the boat fast and with some events being 7 days long, you need to be able to recover day in day out!
You get your training plan delivered through trainingpeaks, how useful is this?
Training peaks is such a handy tool. Mark has so much knowledge and has made a huge difference in my sailing! I find the mobile app to be especially useful because I can see my workouts for the day wherever I am.
Typically, how many hours a week do you commit to training, i.e. sailing/gym/bike?
When I am school, time is limited so I can only train an hour during the week days and then between 3-5 hours on the weekend. During a training camp I would usually train 3-5 hours a day.
Are there days when you don’t want to train, if so, how do you overcome that?
I try to think of my competition and what they’re doing or else just think of my goals.
What are your least favourite training days?
My least favourite days are training by myself in the boat when it’s very cold and windy.
And your favourite?
My favourite days are when I’m sailing with the Irish team on warm windy days with big waves! I also really like days in the gym where I show improvement, like when I deadlifted 100kgs for the first time I was over the moon!
If there was one exercise you could choose that you would never have to do again, what would it be?
I’m not a fan of front squatting! It makes me feel weak!
Who has influenced you the most?
My two coaches. Milan Vujasinovic is an idol for me, he is a very successful sailor himself and puts a lot of effort into my training and the team’s training! My strength and conditioning coach Mark McCabe has influenced me a lot! The sheer amount of training he does for his ironmans is a real inspiration for me!
What other athletes do you look up to & why?
Robert Scheidt, the most successful laser sailor ever. His dominance in the laser is something that I strive to have one day!
What’s your favourite post workout meal?
I love milk! I really love my homemade peanutbutter smoothies and Moojo chocolate milk.
Have you any superstitions?
I don’t have any superstitions. But if I do well in the first day of an event I keep the same routine for the rest of the event.
Thanks Finn and best of luck in the coming season!
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