By Will Jennings in Munich
Deborah Kerr and Britain's kayak stars believe a gruelling winter on the water can propel them towards a long-awaited podium finish after missing out on a European medal in Munich.
Motherwell paddler Kerr joined forces with Emma Russell, Emily Lewis and Rebeka Simon to finish sixth in Sunday's 500m kayak four event as Poland grabbed gold ahead of Denmark and Hungary.
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Kerr, 24, combined with Russell to finish seventh in the K2 race on Saturday before turning her attention to leading the newly-assembled quartet in Sunday's final, where they crossed the line in 1:38.592 to finish almost a second shy of Hungary and the final podium place at the multi-sport event.
The inexperienced crew were unable to win a major medal this season but insist they're only embarking on the beginning of their collective kayaking journey.
Russell, who partnered Kerr to fifth and eighth-places in the K2 and K4 events at this month's World Championships in Canada, said: "It feels really exciting - we've enjoyed some really consistent performances this year and we're just getting started.
"We're really looking forward to putting in a lot of work over the winter and doing it all again next year."
Kerr added: "I know everyone was absolutely spent by the end of the race, and that’s all we can ask for.
"We went out hard and stuck with the Germans for a long time, which was pretty good as they finished high up at the World Championships, so I'm really pleased with both this, and the whole year."
Kerr's quartet battled to an eighth-place finish on the world stage earlier this month as Poland, Australia and Mexico proved too hot to handle in Halifax.
They came into this week's European Championships bidding to build on that experience and finished second in Thursday's heat - behind the in-form Polish boat - to safely navigate their way to Sunday's medal showdown.
On Saturday, Kerr and Russell finished seventh in the K2 final as the dynamic duo aimed to solidify the 'special' connection they believe they have established.
And the K4 team look to possess similarly cohesive attributes as a hard-fought display on Sunday laid the foundations for an 'exciting' winter of development.
Simon, 26, said: "I'm really, really excited.
"I think we're all going to be excited to have a little bit of time off, but also buzzing to get back into training.
"We know we're so close and if we work a little bit harder throughout the year, we can get a medal.
"That's a pretty good place to be."
The multi-sport European Championships Munich 2022, featuring Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Rowing, Sport Climbing, took place between 11th-21st August on the 50th anniversary of the Olympics Games in the German city. Daily live coverage was across BBC One, Two, Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website
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