McKeown’s focus on return to World stage after positive debut

Sam McKeown, member of the Portadown Rowing Club.
Sam McKeown, member of the Portadown Rowing Club.

Sam McKeown is determined to turn the experience gained at his inaugural under 23s’ World Championships into long-term progress.

The Portadown Boat Club member helped Ireland to 14th overall within the men’s double scull field during last weekend’s Bulgaria meeting.

Now, thanks to first-hand knowledge of the world’s leading rowers, McKeown is counting the days until he can return to that stage and build on his debut display.

“The whole experience was an inspiration and will certainly act as motivation to qualify next time,” said McKeown. “We made one mistake and that cost us a much higher finish but the idea is to take the positives and learn from the whole process.

“In terms of times, we were fourth fastest over the opening 100 metres but the course is 2,000 metres and the top-class guys never ease off.

“Over here we tend to come out blasting then steady off before a strong finish but it is a different level at the top end.

“The course is considered the fastest in the world due to the temperature of the water, it was like putting your hand in a warm bath.

“Chatting to the other competitors was also really interesting and I aim to use everything possible to improve.”