Greg Searle: After the GB Rowing trials it's more testing, lots of resting and keeping myself at my best
Monday, 12 March 2012
Along with the rest of the eight and the GB team I was pretty excited and tense about the event. All the rowers were in coxless pairs racing against each other and all the scullers were in singles. We had spent two weeks in Portugal preparing and then we moved into a hotel near the course.
Unfortunately, my regular partner Cameron was injured in Portugal and had to fly home.
I thought I would have to race a single until Noddy also fell ill and I was teamed up with Tom Ransley with about a week of preparations left. This was far from ideal but did provide enough time for us to get together.
In the heat it became clear that Tom and I couldn't qualify directly for the final so I called for us to conserve our energy and we trailed in last. This didn't look or feel that good but turned out to be a wise decision. Four hours later we competed in the repechage with the bottom five pairs vying for two places in the final.
Tom and I got away well and led the field through the first 500 metres. We were then attached by a good combination who consistently do well in our trials. They got through us but we continued to hold off the rest of the field. In the second 1,000m we stepped on and moved well. We clearly established ourselves in second place and held that qualifying position to the finish line. I felt pleased to have made the top six pairs particularly given our lack of time to prepare.
After the race our coach was pleased and confirmed that anything better than sixth would now be a bonus. The next day I felt confident that we would continue to improve our performance in the final. The weather on Sunday was very good and the organisation was excellent to mirror what we will experience this summer. As one of the last qualifiers we were on an outside lane closest to all the supporters.
It was good to have a decent crowd which included my brother and Garry Herbert, who followed alongside on their bikes. In the race we got a good start again and were very much in contention for the first 500m. In the second 500m as we settled into pace the field started to creep away from us. We again pushed on into the third 500m but couldn't improve our position as we hung onto the coat tails of the field. In the final 500m we again moved on but couldn't overall anyone else. So we ended in sixth place but in touch with the rest of the field.
I feel like the big race for us was the repechage and under some pressure we delivered a decent performance. The final was a step on for us but it is good to see how strong the rest of GB team is looking for 2012.
The trials are an important race in the calendar for us, but only part of the jigsaw which will determine the makeup of the team for the Olympics. In the next few weeks we will do more testing in fours and combinations of crews that might race next year. By the end of March I hope this process will be complete and then we will name crews for the first races in the summer.
These won't necessarily be what races at the Games but will be a very strong indication. So for now, it's more testing, lots of resting and generally keeping myself at my best.
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Greg Searle is an Olympic rowing gold medallist and a BT Ambassador. BT is the official communications services partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.