ROWING starlet Oliver Wynne-Griffith knows all about being adaptable and it’s a quality he hopes can take him to the very top.
The 24-year-old from Guildford grew up wanting to play rugby for England at second row but found his love – and aptitude – for rowing grow every time he went onto the water.
Wynne-Griffith is now part of the senior GB rowing team for the first time and although he dreams of Olympic glory, impressing in every major race in the next two years is his main focus.
“I started when I was 14 years old as a way to keep fit for the rugby season. I must admit that I did grow up and dream of being a professional rugby player but that never really happened and rowing is something I’ve grown to love,” he said.
“I’d always had a dream of being part of a national team. But it’s always been about taking the next step in the journey and it’s served me well.
“Of course, the Olympics is the dream and I’m getting to the stage in my rowing career where it’s a goal and it’s a tangible thing to hunt for. It’s about going through the daily processes and my recoveries.
“I believe if I put those processes in place then it’s going to stand me in good stead come Tokyo in 2020.”
Wynne-Griffith was selected as a reserve for the World Championships last year in Sarasota-Bradenton where he was presented with the chance to race for men’s four in the semi-final after Will Satch was taken ill – just 25 minutes before the race began.
“My spare experience at the Worlds last summer certainly gave me a taste of what racing at the top level was like,” he said.
“I would’ve liked to have known I was racing maybe more than 25 minutes before we were supposed to go but you cannot choose your luck and it was a fantastic opportunity for me and I look back on it really fondly.”
Now part of the senior men’s squad, Wynne-Griffith admits he feels like an excitable child once again and a silver medal in the men’s eight at the first World Rowing Cup of the season in Belgrade has only spurred on the rower to achieve more.
He said: “Coming out of a university programme where I was one of the older athletes there and more experienced guys. Now I almost feel like I’m the kid again and it’s always a learning experience every day.
“I’m trying to pick up as much information off the older guys and ask them as many questions as I can.
“We’re looking at a gold medal at the World Championships. I think it’s important for all of us to feel that way and that’s what creates such an effective training atmosphere because everyone strives to win and everyone strives to be the best.”
Wynne-Griffith was speaking at the launch of the GB Rowing Team’s new competition kit in association with sponsors SAS, the Official Analytics Partner of British Rowing.
A market leader in analytics, SAS has been helping British rowers get the best out of their performances by using data from training and racing since 2014.
He said: “I think data analytics is crucial for us as a team and for the organisation. It allows us to more closely analyse our performance and to learn about each individual. It’s crucial for us to find boat speed on a day-to-day basis.”
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