By Tom Masters
Ollie Wynne-Griffith insists the best is still yet to come despite becoming the fastest British men’s pair ever with teammate Tom George in June.
The duo are gearing up for gold at the World Rowing Championships in Belgrade next week, as they look to upgrade on the bronze they won a year ago.
The World Cup best time they set in Varese two months ago will certainly boost confidence that such a feat is possible, but Guildford native Wynne-Griffith is fully aware that medals are handed out for races not records.
“We have to hold ourselves to that standard and push past it,” said Wynne-Griffith.
“We think we are faster than that in terms of the overall time we can produce, we are only looking forward.
“The little kid inside you jumps up and down, [current world best time holders Hamish Bond and Eric Murray] are the guys that inspired you to start rowing, they are legends of the sport.
“To even put yourself in that conversation is special but it means nothing come race day.
“The biggest thing about winning this regatta is you have to perform four times and you have to level up each time. I think we are in a good place to do that.
“We do a lot of long, hard training through the winter and when the sun comes out and the water gets warm, the times start to get fast and you are racing at a World Championships – what more could you wish for?”
AND THEY'RE OFF! Day 1 of the 2023 #WorldRowingChamps ✅🏆
Ideal conditions on the Sava River set the stage for 4 GB Rowing Team crews aiming for Olympic qualification 🇬🇧
Find the full breakdown of today's racing here👇https://t.co/vVnfgjRYAy
📸 @BenedictTufnell pic.twitter.com/184hvrj4qR
— British Rowing (@BritishRowing) September 3, 2023
Wynne-Griffith is no stranger to the world stage, having first clinched bronze at the 2018 edition as part of the men’s eight, before going on to win the same colour again a year later and at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
But a new coxless pairs partnership with George was forged ahead of last season, and the 29-year-old is already feeling the benefits of another season under the belts as a duo.
A world best time, plus European silver and a gold medal at World Cup III in Lucerne is further evidence, but Wynne-Griffith is keen to rubber stamp their progress with a maiden world gold ahead of an Olympic year.
“The standard deviation of the stuff we produce is much narrower,” he added.
🏆2023 World Rowing Championships 🏆
The #GBRowingTeam are tackling 7 days of racing in Belgrade, Serbia 🇷🇸 🇬🇧
Find live results on the British Rowing website 👇 https://t.co/kUeNKs5I4l
Watch the racing on @WorldRowing's live stream 👇 https://t.co/fQ1ppa633I pic.twitter.com/v1Z30ezX0H
— British Rowing (@BritishRowing) September 4, 2023
“Last year the combination was very new, I swapped sides so wasn’t super natural on the other side having had a decade on stroke side but this year the processes of how we get to our best stuff is a lot clearer.
“This year we have put the hours in and thought pretty hard about what we do and how we do it. If there were things we didn’t need to do, we cut that out.
“We have a very clear comparison of results from season to season to work on and I think we have moved on a lot.
“We are definitely going in wanting to win the gold medal. We are in a really good spot and [Olympic] qualification is the number one goal but we are aiming high as well.”
British Rowing is searching for the next generation of GB Rowing Olympians & Paralympians - could that be you? The Olympic Pathway programme recruits and develops individuals with no prior rowing experience who have the potential to become Olympic rowers. Learn more at britishrowing.org/performance-development-academies.
Similarly, visit our website to learn more about our successful Paralympic Programme and register for testing: https://www.britishrowing.org/gb-rowing-team/para/. The GB Rowing Team is supported by the National Lottery Sports Fund.