Athlete in the Spotlight: Angus Groom
GB Rowing Team news caught up recently with Angus Groom in the latest of our series of spotlight features on squad members. We’ll be adding others regularly so look out for future editions. Tweet us via @GBRowingTeam if there is an athlete you would like to see featured.
Education: Royal Grammar School Guildford, Durham University
Began rowing in: 2005
Clubs: Walton Rowing Club, Durham University Boat Club, Leander Club
Original Coach(es): Nick DeCata, Wade Hall-Craggs
Angus Groom cemented his status as one of the GB Rowing Team’s most promising young talents by winning a bronze medal at the 2014 U23 World Rowing Championships in Varese, Italy.
The 22-year-old teamed up with Leander Club colleague Jack Beaumont to finish third in the men’s double scull – a result dubbed “a big step forward for GB men’s sculling” by GB Rowing Team Performance Director Sir David Tanner.
It was the third successive year that Angus had competed at the U23 World Championships, having been part of the first British men’s quad to qualify for an A final in 2013.
Angus, Jack, Barney Stentiford and Marcus Bowyer almost brought home a medal after a strong finish but eventually finished fourth.
A keen rugby player and swimmer at Royal Grammar School in Guildford, Angus took up rowing with Walton RC at the age of 14.
He enjoyed his first taste of international competition at the 2010 World Rowing Junior Championships, finishing fourth in the men’s quadruple scull with Jack, Marcus and Wilf Kimberley.
Angus also won the men’s single scull at the GB Rowing Team Junior Trials in what proved to be a breakthrough season.
His rowing career went from strength to strength at Durham University, where he studied Natural Sciences and was named as Team Durham’s Sportsman of the Year in 2013.
That was the same year that Angus won all three championship sculling events at the British Universities & Colleges [BUCS] Regatta – the men’s single scull, double scull and quadruple scull.
His development continued in 2014, which saw Angus and Jack forge a formidable partnership in the double scull and mark their World Cup debut at Aiguebelette, France with victory in the C final.
After starting 2015 with a seventh-placed finish in the single scull at the GB Rowing Team’s Winter Assessment in Boston, we caught up with Angus to chat about all things rowing-related, as well as life outside the sport.
GBRT: How and why did you first start rowing?
AG: My dad first got me into rowing. I was playing rugby, swimming and cross-country running at school but was looking for something a bit different to do. I was OK at those sports but never the best. As I have always been quite a big guy, my dad suggested that it would be an obvious choice of sport. He had rowed previously for Manchester University BC and later Agecroft RC and Barclays Bank RC, and he picked it up again with me. We went down to our local club (Walton RC) and the rest is history!
GBRT: What has been your biggest success and your biggest disappointment in the sport so far?
AG: The biggest disappointment in rowing so far was at the World Rowing Junior Championships in 2010. Jack Beaumont and I were in the junior quad with Marcus Bowyer and Wilf Kimberley. We narrowly missed out on a bronze medal and at the time, even though it was our first World Champs, it felt crushing. So my biggest success was getting the bronze medal with Jack at the U23 World Rowing Championships last summer, where we beat some of the same athletes we were racing back in 2010 – it felt very good!
GBRT: What are some of your most memorable moments in your career so far?
AG: I went to Durham University, where I graduated in 2013, and my final year at the BUCS Regatta was pretty special. DUBC managed to win the Victor Ludorum for the tenth year in a row and I won all three championship sculling events (1x, 2x, 4x). For all of us at DUBC, it was one of the best weekends of our lives! At the 2014 Henley Royal Regatta, I was fortunate enough to stroke the winning Prince of Wales quad. After losing two Henley finals previously, finally winning was an awesome experience. The Commonwealth regatta last summer was another highlight. I had never raced for my home country, Scotland, before so winning four gold medals and hearing ‘O Flower of Scotland’ being played for me was a dream come true.
GBRT: What aspirations do you have within the sport?
AG: I want to be the best I can possibly be. If that means some day I will be an Olympic champion, I would be over the moon.
GBRT: Who is your best friend within the rowing set-up and why?
AG: Sam Knight. Since I started rowing at Walton RC, we have always been rowing and joking about together. We have shared highs and lows together, and some of my best rowing memories have been with him. The culmination of this was getting to race at the U23 World Rowing Championships together in the men’s quad back in 2012. We didn’t do amazingly well but getting to share that experience with him was great.
GBRT: Who do you look up to?
AG: I look up to anyone who beats me! This helps me to focus and keep pushing myself forward. Learning from mistakes and what my competition does better than me drives me to rectify these mistakes and beat them next time.
GBRT: What hobbies and hidden talents do you have?
AG: I really enjoy bouldering. It uses a totally different muscle set to rowing and is fun to solve problems. I also play guitar –badly, but I enjoy it.
GBRT: What are some of your favourite bands?
AG: I listen to a lot of alt-J at the minute – quite different to anything else out there. The Black Keys and Kasabian are good to erg to as well. Really rocky and a great beat!
GBRT: Favourite books?
AG: I recently finished Racing Through The Dark by British cyclist David Millar. It’s a very well written, first-hand account of doping in professional cycling and it’s riveting. Some of the stories in it make me very glad that you don’t hear of much doping in rowing.
GBRT: Favourite films and TV shows?
AG: Game of Thrones and Dexter are my favourite TV shows at the minute – great to kill time on training camp! I also have to watch Lone Survivor and Touching the Void on training camp as it reminds me that whatever we do, it’s not as bad as what some people have gone through in their lives.
GBRT: What qualifications and job aspirations do you have outside of rowing?
AG: I have a degree in Natural Sciences from Durham University, where a lot of my course was based on cell biology. I want to get a Masters at some point and possibly work in the biotechnology industry.