I decided that trying to go to the Olympics wasn’t a completely unrealistic ambition…
I was introduced to the sport through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Prior to this it would have been hard to find someone less enthusiastic about sport. I started rowing at Putney Town Rowing Club under the watchful eye of Geoff Adams and John Comer, veterans of the club. For me this was the first sport I wasn’t, quite frankly, dreadful at, and that was enough for me to want to stick with it. I was then taken on by an old Irish prison guard called Seamus Keating. He taught me what it would take to achieve the success what I wanted, and he opened my eyes to how tough rowing could be and therefore how tough I needed to be . After a few months of this I knew that I was going to have to move on to find people to train with who were better than me in order to further myself. I did this at The Tideway Scullers School under Alan Inns, a coxing and coaching legend. I was probably one of the worst athletes he had ever taken on, but he knew exactly the standards I had to achieve and he pushed me on to my first International vest at Munich Junior Regatta followed by the illustrious Coupe de la Jeunesse.
In 2008, due to a club restructure, Alan moved on and so did I – to Reading Uni boat club under where I was coached by Don McLachlan. Don was a technical guru and a tough coach and he taught me as much about making sacrifices and being professional as he did about how to row well. This took me to my first Under 23 World Championships and my first international regatta with Jonny.
Off the back of this I decided that trying to go to the Olympics wasn’t a completely unrealistic ambition and if I wanted to achieve this I knew the only place that made sense to go to was Leander Club – the most successful rowing club in the world. Leander is a Manchester United in a nation full of Sunday league teams. Due to their business like approach to running the club, they’re able to fund themselves and the rowing programme in a way that gives them a substantial advantage over any other British club. Here I worked my way into another Under 23 World Championships and a couple of wins at Henley Royal Regatta. Off the back of this, I was invited to join the national team after the very successful London Olympic Games.
We had the race of our lives to make the Olympic final and finished 5th…
In the 2013 season, I struggled with the increase in training and was sent back to Leander briefly before being invited back to take part in a second eight for some World Cups and Henley Royal.
This was a springboard for my performance and in 2014 and 2015 when I was selected to race in the mens double with Jonny Walton. We qualified this boat for the Rio Olympic Games at the World Championships and then in the summer of 2016 we were later selected to race at the Olympics in it. We had the race of our lives to make the Olympic final and finished 5th.
The 2017 season started the Olympiad with a bang. I managed to sneak a victory at the final trials and get a place in the Mens Quadruple Scull. We spent the summer on the podium, winning the World Cup series and after a dramatic injury in the boat just before our World Championship final, we still managed to get a Silver medal with a world class sub on board.
Now in 2018, competition for the places is hotting up and just being selected is going to be as tough as any international racing in front of us!