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York rowing ace Tom Ransley gunning for Olympic glory in 2012
York City Rowing Club’s Tom Ransley is pictured above, far right in the back row, with his silver medal-winning crew-mates at the 2011 World Championships in Slovenia
BRITISH rowing is on the crest of a wave heading into 2012.
That was the view of York City Rowing Club star Tom Ransley as he looked back on a successful 2011 – and forward to the Olympic Games in London.
The 26-year-old is aiming for Olympic glory as part of Great Britain’s consistent eight crew and believes there is justified optimism of a golden summer on home waters.
The eight won silver at the 2011 World Championships in Slovenia to help GB top the medal table, and they also performed impressively in the World Cup series.
University of York graduate Ransley said: “It’s an awesome squad to be a part of. We have a wealth of talent across the board.
“I’m proud to be a part of one of the most successful GB heavyweight men’s teams.
“However, it is the breadth and depth across the wider team that shows the calibre and the strength of British rowing at the moment.
“I think everyone on the team is relishing the prospect of a home games and I think there is good cause to be optimistic about our chances of success.
“But, of course, there is no room for complacency either, as every nation will be focused on the Olympics.”
Germany have dominated Ransley’s event in recent seasons, pipping Great Britain to gold in the last two World Championship finals.
But the 6ft 5ins tall oarsman is convinced they can be overhauled in Olympic year. “Absolutely – if I didn’t I wouldn’t still be training!”
Despite missing out on gold in Slovenia, Ransley believes the GB eight’s consistency is a huge asset with 2012 looming.
“I think there are plenty of positives to be taken from 2011,” he said. “I know the initial reaction to the silver (in Slovenia) was perhaps more negative than most people would have expected, but we were completely focused on winning gold and to improve upon last year’s silver medal.
“However, having reflected over a longer period of time, it’s great that we have maintained our position at the the top end of the international competition for two consecutive years.
“This gives us confidence that what we are doing works well and that the improvements can come from minor tweaks.
“I think consistency is a highly valued asset in elite sport. It’s a really strong position to be in going into the Olympic year.”
Although Great Britain have qualified an eight boat for 2012, Ransley is not yet assured of a place on the crew.
A tough winter training regime and subsequent trials will determine the final line-up.
He said: “Our final trials – the important selection regatta – will be in March and then shortly after that the coaches tend to make a preliminary, sometimes final, decision on the crew.
“It’s good to create competition among athletes. It will yield higher performances when it comes to racing internationally.”
He added: “As any rower knows the winter is where the hard yards are put in.
“A strong winter’s training is invaluable for summer success. We will be doing a lot of mileage to build up our aerobic capacity so that we can maintain our boat speed in the second half of the race.
“There is no easy way to do this, it takes hours on the water and in the gym, training muscles and adapting the body.”
Illness forced Ransley to miss last weekend’s assessment regatta at Boston in Lincolnshire, and he is now building towards the senior trials on the Olympic lake at Eton Dorney on March 10 and 11.
The squad for the World Cup regattas will be announced at the start of April, with the races in Belgrade (May 4 to 6), Lucerne (May 25 to 27) and Munich (June 14 to 16) leading into the Olympic regatta (July 28 to August 4).