An invite to train with the GB Men's Senior squad

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Tuesday, 16 October 2012 15:18 Written by Administrator Last Updated on Friday, 19 October 2012 15:31

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Matt Gotrel started in the sport of rowing in Oct 2009 having started his degree at Loughborough University. He was used to training for High Performance Sport, having previously been part of the GB Sailing squad and having competed at events across Europe. Matt competed mainly in a Beginners 4+/8+ for Loughborough University and finished with a hard earned silver medal in Beginners 4+'s at BUCS Regatta.
 
I first met Matt in July 2010 when his coach at Loughborough, Dan Moore, bought him along for 'testing', which for World Class Start (WCS) involves measuring height and arm span, looking at strength measures on the Concept II dyno and endurance capacity using a step test on an arm-leg bike. Matt was decent but still borderline on these tests but I thought he was worth a punt as he seemed to be keen to put the time in and see what he could achieve.
 
Matt and a few other beginner guys in the group started learning to scull in August 2010 and he seemed to take to it quickly and was happy to take risks to try and get things right!
 
By the summer, he had progressed very quickly and was getting noticed within the GB Rowing Start scheme. The summer involved a combination of sculling, rowing and competing with the NRC men's squad. He won his novice pot in Elite 8+'s at Nottingham City and, in a coxless 4 with Matt Ley, Rob Yates & Rich Watton, went on to reach the final of the Wyfold Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta and win at the British Championships.
 
The 2011-12 season started off hampered with back pain which needed four hard months of rehab. This involved specific core exercises, a lot of cycling, swimming and other cross-training and, later on, lots of short technical sessions on the water. Matt started competing again at the GB trials in December and finished a disappointing, but not unexpected, 50th in the men's single.
 
By February, Matt was race fit and ready to compete at the GB February trials at Dorney...that was until the lake iced over and we all came back to Nottingham without having done any racing!

During March, Matt was going quicker than ever in his single and was asked to do a pair for a qualification race to see whether they could be quick enough to be invited to the Non-Olympic GB trials in April. He was paired with Tim Grant from Maidstone and, after just a few days of training together, they did enough to secure that elusive invite.
 
From here, everything seemed to be on the up with a B final finish in the M2- at the trials in April and an invite to stay for further crew boat testing. Matt worked his way up the rankings in the crew boat testing, winning all of his seat races and putting himself in contention for a European Championships crew. He then rowed with Dan Johnson's NRC squad at events through the summer, worked on technical improvements and went one better than in 2011 to win the Wyfold Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta (with Ed Mace, Pete Muhley and Richard Watton).
 
This set him up well for further performance tests in crews later in the summer and Matt coped well with the increased training volume to secure his place in the M8+ for the Europeans in Varese, where the crew finished a creditable 5th and was just a whisker off the bronze.
 
Since then, Matt has raced in the GB M8+ at the Hanse Cup in Germany where they put in a great performance to go head to head with Polish Olympic 8+ for the final 9k of the 13k course in the fight for second place just behind the German Olympic 8+.
 
Based on his recent performances, Matt has now been invited to train with the National Squad in Caversham this winter, which is the next step to making it in to future teams for the World Cup, World Championship and Olympics. So, watch this space...
 
Nothing is plain sailing but everything is possible!
 --
Julie Edwards
Start Coach, Nottingham