HE MIGHT be Leander Club captain, but Olympic champion Alex Gregory MBE admitted he would have to take it on the chin after his team-mates beat him to a gold medal at the British Rowing Championships.
Former Evesham Rowing Club star Gregory joined the great and the good of his sport at Nottingham’s Holme Pierrepont National Water Sports Centre for the first day of the British Rowing Championships on Saturday.
The 31-year-old took his place in Leander Club’s B coxless four – the same boat he won gold in at London 2012 – alongside William Satch, Matthew Gotrel and Tom Ransley.
However, despite winning their semi-final, Gregory and co had to settle for bronze in the final as the Leander A boat took gold and Molesey Boat Club were sandwiched in between to pick up silver.
For a man who has also collected five world titles, a bronze medal is never going to satisfy Gregory’s appetite, but he insists he is ready to accept whatever ribbing comes his way as he knows a return to top form is just around the corner.
“There’s been some quite good racing, some tough racing, we were thrown together in these crews a day or so ago so there has not been a lot of preparation in these club crews,” said Gregory after the race.
“It was a good event though. It’s always frustrating when you don’t win but with so little preparation time it’s not easy.
“The quality of the rowers out there, they are all our team-mates, the guys we train with every day of the year.
“It was always going to be tough so someone’s got to win and someone’s got to come third.
“I’m sure the banter is going to be good in training, we won’t be able to live it down. We’ll hear it for a couple of weeks until the next event and hopefully I can get one over them then.
“I’m pretty pleased with how things are going at the moment. I feel quite good out there.
“We had a break after the World Championships where I did take a break from fitness but I feel like my fitness is reasonably good. It’s just sitting in the positions in the boat, the muscular side of it, it takes a little bit of getting used to again, but it comes back very quickly, so I’m not worried about it.”
Normally used to rowing for Great Britain, the British Championships gave Gregory the chance to compete in Leander Club colours, something he relished.
“It’s always good to race in club colours,” he added. “Leander always do so much for us whether we are racing for them or not.
“It’s nice to be able to get the colours on and get some results for the club and represent the club. Every opportunity we can, we try and do that.”
AS LEANDER Club launched their ‘Row to Rio’ campaign, Alex Gregory spoke of Leander’s status as the most successful rowing club in the world, with 111 Olympic medals won by its members.