Thomas closes in on Olympics

Graeme Thomas
Graeme Thomas
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Preston rowing star Graeme Thomas declared himself ‘pretty pleased’ after he came second in the Team GB Olympic trials on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old crossed the finishing line of the single scull 2km final just over two seconds behind race winner Alan Campbell and ahead of third-placed Angus Groom.

Thomas’s performance at the Redgrave-Pinsent Rowing Lake, in Caversham, Berkshire, now means he has put himself in a great position to be selected for this summer’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Although his seat on the plane to Brazil has not been rubberstamped, it would appear that Thomas is a strong favourite to take one of the 48 Olympic spots open to the Team GB rowing squad.

The former Corpus Christi Catholic High School pupil – who is a member of Agecroft Rowing Club – clocked a time of 6:55.07, with Campbell winning in 6:52.94.

In third place was Groom who completed the course in a time of 6:58.18 to finish just ahead of John Collins 6:59.17. Jonny Walton (7:00.05) was fifth and Sam Townsend came sixth in a time of 7:01.57.

All six had qualified for the final after an intense qualifying process which included a time trial and a semi-final stage the day before.

Thomas, pictured, posted the sixth fastest mark in the time trial to book his place in the semi-finals and then upped his performance to achieve second in his respective semi courtesy of a time of 7:12.02. That saw him finish behind Groom, but was the second fastest time out of the 12 semi-finalists.

It is the third successive year that Thomas has finished second at the trials, but nevertheless he was pretty pleased with his performances in the final, especially as only Campbell – an experienced single scull racer – managed to beat him

“I’m pretty pleased with second,” said Thomas. “I tweeted after the race to say that if I had had a little bit more practice racing as a single scull I might have done better than second, but I can’t really complain.”

GB Rowing Team Performance Director Sir David Tanner said: “We have good information from these trials as we start putting together our boats for the European Championships in May and then, later in the year, for the Olympics.”