Louise Reeve - Nottingham date this weekend
NEWBURY’S Louisa Reeve insists she is ready to announce her Olympic intentions with a bang at this weekend’s British Rowing Championships.
Reeve is no stranger to the big stage, having competed at both the Beijing and London Olympics as well as numerous World and European Championships.
The latest major competition saw her finish just off the podium in fourth at last month’s World Championships in France, with near misses somewhat of a theme in Reeve’s career so far.
Despite her experience the 31-year-old former Downe House School pupil is still waiting for that elusive gold medal, having won European silver and two world bronze medals.
She is still waiting to climb the podium at an Olympic Games and as she sets her sights on Rio Reeve knows she must get her qualification off to a fast start in Nottingham this weekend at the British Rowing Championships.
“Last season I would say was a success for us,” said Leander Club member Reeve. “We came fourth in the women’s eight at the worlds and we needed to come at least fifth to qualify a boat for the Olympics.
“We did set out to win a medal so it was disappointing not to win a medal. But the year before we came sixth, so we improved.
“The British Championships are a bit of a different regatta for us. Normally we represent Great Britain but there we get to come back and represent our club.
“We get to row in boats with some of the club girls as well so that’s a really good opportunity for them to row with us. We are aiming to go out and win the race but it’s a bit more than that, we get to come back to Leander and hopefully pass on some knowledge and have fun. I’m rowing in the four.
“This year it is important to hit the ground running. The whole season is a little bit shorter than normally because of the Olympics.
“It’s kind of all about pacing though; you don’t want to burn yourself out too early. But if there’s any season where you’re really going to hit it hard it’s going to be this year.
“It would mean everything to get on the squad for Rio. It’s going to be really competitive this year.”
At last year’s British Rowing Championships, Reeve won gold in the women’s eight along with her Leander teammates, and she admits the club gives her the best possible platform to once again reach the top.
“It’s very important for me to be a part of Leander Club,” she added. “I learnt to row a school and then went to row at university where everything kicked off.
“When I left uni there were very few options for women to come and train at a high level. I came down to Leander and within a year had made the senior squad and I don’t think I would have made that change if I hadn’t come here.
“Representing Leander, they just give us loads of support when we’re on the team, we’ve got a clubhouse we can come too, meals on hand, just the general atmosphere is really supportive.
“When I first arrived, seeing pictures of Olympic champions on the wall and also Olympic medallists rowing here and you bump into them in the lunch room, it’s really inspirational.
“The support Leander gives covers everything. You’ve got the physios, there are doctors available, there’s a chef who cooks three meals a day, great coaching. Everything is there really.”
As Leander Club launched their ‘Row to Rio’ campaign Louisa Reeve spoke of Leander’s place as the most successful rowing club in the world, with 111 Olympic medals won by its members.