GB Rowing Team Trials preview: Angus Groom predicting tight competition between scullers
Angus Groom is back to full fitness after hip surgery following the Rio 2016 Olympics and looking forward to testing himself at the GB Rowing Team Senior, U23 & FISU Trials this weekend
Twelve months ago, Angus Groom was paddling his single scull up and down the lake at Caversham, looking on as his teammates prepared themselves for one of their toughest events of the year.
Instead of fine tuning his technique ahead of the GB Rowing Team Senior & U23 Trials in 2017, the Olympian was moving onto the next step of a long rehabilitation following the hip surgery he underwent after Rio 2016.
Five months later, the young Scot proved his recovery had been a success by gaining selection to the 2017 World Rowing Championships in Sarasota-Bradenton, USA in the double scull alongside fellow hip-rehabber, Graeme Thomas.
“It was a long process; it was mentally taxing,” he said. “I was back in a boat for the first time this time last year, and seeing everyone cracking on and doing the trials was tough.
“These final trials are the one you want to win, so it was hard watching others race and do well when all I wanted to do was get on with it myself.
“With the disappointment from Rio as well, all you want to do is put things right. Having a major rehab process, you can’t put things right straight away, which is frustrating.
“For me, some of that frustration is overspilling into this season. I’ve got confidence in how good I am and I want to make sure that’s coming out.”
Groom proved his strength at February’s assessment in Boston, Lincolnshire, when he finished more than 20 seconds ahead of his nearest rival on the wet and windy 5km course.
The format this weekend at Caversham will be slightly different, though, with a 1,900m time trial followed by side-by-side racing to determine the overall winners in the singles, pairs and lightweight singles classifications for men and women.
With the wealth of talent and experience currently in the men’s openweight sculling programme – both the quad and Tom Barras in the single won medals in Sarasota – Groom expects racing to be close among his main rivals.
“I know that I’m good enough to be in the top boat this year and that’s a lot of my motivation coming into the season,” he said.
“Side-by-side racing suits me better [than time trialling] and historically I’ve performed better in that format than in the 5k time trial.
“I don’t really see them as any different – I just want to focus on making my boat go as well as possible, which is the only way we can do it. You can’t worry about what everyone else is doing or you won’t perform well.”
The GB Rowing Team Senior, U23 & FISU Trials take place in Caversham on 14-15 April. Click here to view the entry list (which is subject to change) and keep an eye on British Rowing’s social media channels for all the action from the racing.