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Home News Frozen socks and sauna help rowers adapt in Chengdu

Frozen socks and sauna help rowers adapt in Chengdu

Summer Games 6 August 2023

Zuzanna Jasińska women’s lightweight single sculls gold medal winner

Extreme heat, humidity, and heavy rains – weather in Chengdu has sometimes been a challenge for athletes at these Chengdu FISU World University Games.

Some of them, including rowers, try to face these unfavourable conditions in a creative way.

It may not be as big an issue for indoor sports as most venues are air-conditioned. The situation is different for outdoor competitions.

Sichuan Water Sports School – venue for rowing at the Chengdu FISU Games

Chengdu is located in the Sichuan Basin, which is characterized by a humid sub-tropical monsoonal climate. In the summer, the average temperature is around 30 Celsius. But it is humidity which makes it such a challenge.

Sunday was a big day for rowers at the Sichuan Water Sports School, with 15 medal events. The conditions were reminiscent of those seen in catastrophic movies.

“I am not going to lie – it is very hot here. I tried to prepare for it back in Poland. I went often to the sauna,” said Zuzanna Jasińska, a student at Wrocław University of Science and Technology, who won the gold medal in the women’s lightweight single sculls.

“I think that in the end, the sauna helped me, because at least subconsciously I believed that I did something to achieve the best possible result.

“As a rower you need to get used to many different types of climate. We are dependent on the weather conditions. That is why we really have to be ready for everything,” she added.

Men’s eights final with gold medallists Netherlands in the foreground

The 22-year-old is not the only one who had to find an original solution for this type of weather.

“Humidity is really the biggest problem in Chengdu. The 2km race is very exhausting even in normal conditions,” said Izabela Gałek, Jasińska’s compatriot, who won silver alongside Paulina Chrzanowska in the women’s double sculls.

“We did a couple of tricks to minimise the impact of this weather. We cooled up until the end. We put ice in our socks, froze t-shirts. We just wanted to make sure that we would be prepared well for our start,” she revealed.

This said, rowers agreed that the weather on the afternoon was better than in the previous few days. During the training sessions and preliminary rounds, the temperature often reached 40 degrees.

On Sunday, however, the weather conditions didn’t seem to overly bother host China, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland, the five nations combining to capture 32 of 45 medals. China and Poland claimed four and three victories, respectively.

“Preparation was the key to success. We had in total eight crews, seven competed in finals, five won medals,” said Chrzanowska. “It wouldn’t be possible without our coaches. There are only three of them and they do such good work with us.”

Written by Piotrek Przyborowski, FISU Young Reporter