Thomas closes in on Olympics

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

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.

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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.

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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.”