PETER LINKSTED admits there was a period not so long ago when his mind was as turbulent as the rapids he tackles every day.

The Falkirk slalom canoeist entered his second senior season this year while also working as a duty manager at the Lee Valley White Water Centre where he trains and also completing his degree in Aerospace Engineering.

Time management became as crucial as any physical preparation as he tried to juggle all three aspects of his busy life without letting his standards drop in any one of them.

Thankfully his studies are now finished and the work shifts have dropped off allowing the 22 year-old to spend more time on the water, something that definitely benefited him ahead of the recent world championships in Augsburg where he finished in 18th place.

“There have been times when your head’s totally full and you turn up for training thinking about something else and that definitely has an impact on how you perform”, he admits. “So the management of all these different aspects has definitely been key.

“It’s some ways it’s been nice to have the changes between training, the uni work and the on-site work at Lee Valley. It’s a good variety although there was a period around the time that the team was being selected that it did feel a bit like everything was piling up on me a bit.

“Then you have to be really disciplined with what you do and when, taking the time to rest and just make sure you’re actually sitting and trying to chill and do nothing. Just to switch off mentally as well as physically.

“Often I’m just sat on the Xbox with my mates playing FIFA most of the time. It’s quite painful actually as I’m a Man United fan but City on the game are actually top level so I go them quite a bit! Apart from the Xbox it’s just nice going to my parents’ house in the country which is a different stimulus to being on the edge of London all of the time and good for relaxing.”

Studying and working claimed more hours from him than he would have liked in the first half of this year, although at least he didn’t have far to travel between his job and his training sessions on the water.

“It was useful to learn a bit more of the management side of things as that’s the career path I want to go down. But for a while I was never away from the place!

“I would turn up at 8 in the morning, work in the morning, train in the afternoon, some more work after that and then go home at night. I pretty much lived there and in my car.

“I’m a bit undecided about what I’m going to do with my degree. I’m interested in the engineering side of it but not necessarily the full design side.

“I like the operational management aspect too. But that’s hopefully a future problem. I can just focus on my canoeing for the time being but with my degree in my back pocket for further down the line.”

The former Scottish champion – who finished 26th at the European Championships earlier in the year – admits making the step up from under-23 level has been challenging.

But he hopes the more elite experience he gains the better placed he will be to compete for medals.

“I now feel a lot more comfortable in that environment and a little bit more in the know with what’s going on,” adds the C1 athlete. “The biggest difference from under-23s is how stacked the fields are. That’s the thing I’ve noticed the most.

“The ability right across the entire field is that bit higher. There’s not the same wiggle room through the rounds if you want to qualify. It’s a lot more intense.

“I’m aware that it’s quite a big step up to try to reach the top 10 at this point. If I can produce a run I’m happy with in the semi-finals then I’m confident that I can make an impact.

“I feel that I belong at this level now. I’ve been training with people who are at the very top of the sport and if you can match them then that gives you confidence that you can do well against a wider field too.”