By Will Jennings in Munich
Graeme Thomas felt ‘rubbish’ despite exceeding his expectations and booking a spot in the European Championship final.
The Preston rower admits he entered the event feeling ‘uncompetitive’ but showed no signs of sluggishness on Saturday by sailing to victory in his single sculls semi-final.
Thomas, 33, beat Greek star and Olympic champion Stefanos Ntouskos and will now row for a medal in Sunday’s A Final.
Tokyo silver medallist Kjetil Borch was also part of the red-hot field but Thomas is refusing to get carried away after a turbulent couple of weeks.
Thomas, a three-time World and European Championship medallist, said: “I’m feeling pretty rubbish to be honest.
“I’m not really at my best this week – just to get a win is good.
“I had a lot of doubts about whether I was even going to be competitive this weekend - the training is going well but I had a bit of a bug last weekend.
“I’ll be in the middle lane for the final hopefully, so I’m pretty happy.
“It was a good, tough race with Olympic talent in that field, with an Olympic champion and Olympic silver medallist.
“It was a stacked field and a good race – it’s on to tomorrow now.”
Thomas finished second in his opening heat behind Dutch ace Melvin Twellaar but conjured up a more assured performance with Sunday’s final looming.
He crossed the line in a speedy 7:12.80 to hold off Ntouskos, 25, by over a second and secure a prime spot in the single sculls showpiece.
Thomas’ semi-final was part of a super Saturday morning of action at Munich’s Olympic Regatta Centre as Britain racked up five medals – including three golds – across the four and pair events.
And the Lancashire star added: “It’s fantastic for the team.
“There’s obviously no pressure for me going in with everyone making the final.
“I want to do my job for the team – it’s great for everyone involved.
“I’m really happy all round – there’s a lot of smiles and fingers crossed for lots more medals.
“Bring on tomorrow.”
The multi-sport European Championships Munich 2022, featuring Athletics, Beach Volleyball, Canoe Sprint, Cycling, Gymnastics, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Rowing, Sport Climbing, takes place 11th-21st August on the 50th anniversary of the Olympics Games in the Germany city. Watch daily live coverage across BBC One, Two, Red Button, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website