ALEX Gregory might have added a fifth world title to his name last month, but the former Evesham Rowing Club ace insists he will take nothing for granted at this weekend’s British Rowing Championships.
Gregory’s CV only needs a slight glance to see just how impressive it is, having won Olympic coxless four gold at London 2012, the same European title two years later and five world crowns.
The latest of these came at the beginning of September as the 31-year-old was part of Great Britain’s victorious eight crew which stormed to victory in Aiguebelette in France.
However, Gregory had little time to celebrate as he turned his attentions to Nottingham, where he will be looking to secure another national victory.
Despite having collected numerous gold medals from across the globe, former Evesham schoolboy Gregory admits that domestic glory is just as important, especially with Rio 2016 fast approaching.
“Through the winter period we have a series of tests and trials,” said Gregory, who was part of the Leander (Henley-on-Thames) crew who won the eight title at last year’s British Rowing Championships.
“Basically, after the World Championships, the slate is wiped clean within the GB team and we have to earn our place back within the team.
“We have to earn our seat back in the boats. Every test and every trial is important, in fact every day is important. The coaches monitor every single thing you do on the water, there is never a let-up, there’s never a time to relax.
“The next test is important which is the British National Championship where we get to race for our clubs there.
“Those results are important so that’s our first target. If you win a race you can’t go wrong. It puts you in the best position and gives you the best chance of a good position next time and the best chance of your ranking within the GB team.
“That’s the aim with everyone. It’s tough and it’s competitive. You can’t win all the time. I’ve got people biting at my heels and I’m biting at other people’s heels.
“I just have to be making sure that I’m training hard and doing everything I can to stay healthy and fit.”
The British Rowing Championships also gives Gregory the chance to compete for Leander rather than Great Britain – something the captain of the club cannot wait to do again.
“We get so few chances within the year to race for Leander. It really is a privilege because Leander have done so much for all of us in the national team and all of the guys who train here day to day,” he added.
“It’s almost one of the only opportunities we get to give results back to the club. It’s exciting and a great opportunity to put on the Leander colours and race for the club.”
AS LEANDER Club launched their ‘Row to Rio’ campaign, club captain Alex Gregory MBE – world and Olympic champion – spoke of Leander’s place as the most successful rowing club in the world, with 111 Olympic medals won by its members.