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LONDON CALLING: Rowbotham ready for tough test
STEVE Rowbotham knows he has a race against time on his hands - in every sense - as he prepares for a busy summer in Team GB colours.
The Swindon-born rower was this week announced as one of the four oarsmen tasked with challenging for medals in the men’s quadruple scull, less than a fortnight after the crew rowed together competitively for the first time at the second World Cup of the year in Lucerne.
The Team GB boat, which includes Rowbotham, Charles Cousins, Tom Solesbury and Matt Wells, had to be content with the modest achievement of winning the B final.
But Rowbotham, a bronze medallist in the Beijing Games with Wells in the men’s double scull, was keen to point out that his team are up against crews with much more experience as units.
“It’s not been easy at all really, we’ve been through a long, hard selection process,” he said.
“Our crew has been consistently changing around and we finally settled on a crew before the second World Cup.
“We were disappointed with the result in Lucerne as we didn’t make the final (proper), but we have to be realistic about what we’ve been given.
“We’re racing against boats that have been together for years. The Polish quad has been together since 2004, the Croatians have been together five years and the Germans for four.
“When we turned up to Lucerne, we had been together 10 days.”
Rowbotham and his teammates get another chance to race together on Friday at the third World Cup of 2012 in Munich, before they go altitude training in Austria and then fine-tune their preparations at a training camp in Portugal.
The prospective London Olympian believes the lead-up to the Games and the event itself will prove the biggest test of his rowing life, but says he and his teammates should not be scared of the task in hand.
“It’s a big challenge but that’s what it’s all about, and we should be excited rather than intimidated by it,” he said.
“It’s definitely the biggest challenge of my career, but we’ve done races together before so it’s not as if we’ve never met each other.
“About three or four times a week we time ourselves against gold medal-winning times and we’re getting a lot closer to them.
“Every time we do it we’re getting better and better and we have to continue that improvement.”
Also racing at Munich on Friday will be former Cirencester Deer Park School student Pete Reed, who alongside Rowbotham was named in the GB team on Wednesday, this time in the men’s four.
Reed was part of the men’s four boat that won gold in Beijing and the Royal Navy Lieutenant revealed he was delighted to get the chance to replicate that again.
“I’m very proud and excited,” he said.
“London will be very special and stand out as a home Games, something that is unlikely to happen again in our lifetime.”