Preston rower Graeme Thomas was a matter of milliseconds away from calling himself a record-breaking world champion at the weekend.
The 25-year-old oarsmen was a member of the Great Britain quad team which won a silver medal at the World Championships, in Amsterdam, Holland.
The GB quartet missed out on a gold medal by the tiniest of margins – finishing behind Ukraine by a mere 0.09 seconds.
Both crews smashed the previous world best in what was one of the greatest ever rowing races. The two teams left the rest of the field in their wake from the start, and as they entered the final stages of the 2km course, the lead was changing hands stroke by stroke.
And it was by pure chance that the race finished on Ukraine’s final stroke.
Thomas said: “You have to give credit to the Ukranians – they timed the race to perfection.
“But it was a little bit down to luck – I think if the course had gone on for another boat length then we would have probably won the gold medal.
“I think it’s probably fair to say that.
“Both boats were going in front and then behind on every alternate stroke. It’s just that the finishing line arrived at the right time for Ukraine.
“It was very tight. I can’t remember too much about the race but I do remember that I was putting maximum power down – there was no let-up.
“I also remember looking out of the boat and thinking, we’ve definitely got silver or gold because we had annihilated the rest of the field and there was just Ukraine to beat.”
It is the second time the GB quad team have lost to Ukraine this summer after beating them to the bronze medal at last year’s World Championships.
“We lost to Ukraine in the European Championships and that was by a narrow margin,” Thomas said.
“We are both emerging teams, but they have gone from fourth to first in a year – whereas we have gone from third to second, so we will have to go away and train that little bit harder ready for next year.”