Newbury rower Matt Rossiter aiming for European Championship gold in Italy
Newbury Rower Matt Rossiter has expressed his 'relief' at being selected to represent Great Britain at this weekend's European Championships in Varese, Italy.
The 31-year-old is competing in the men's four (M4-) and will be joined by Leander club team-mate Sholto Carnegie, Oliver Cook and Rory Gibbs.
The quartet were all selected for the Tokyo Olympics last summer - which were postponed due the coronavirus pandemic - so Rossiter admitted that it was good to see the same rowers selected for the European Championships.
"If I am honest it's a relief," he said. "I was selected with the same three blokes 12 months ago for the, to-be-cancelled, 2020 Olympics.
"Don't get me wrong, it feels great to be selected, but having put quite a bit of pressure on myself I'm feeling very relieved."
There is a strong GB team of 64 heading over to Italy for the Championships and Rossiter is excited for the opportunity.
He said: "The team going out to Italy couldn't be stronger and we've put in a really good block of training so everyone is feeling upbeat."
Although the bulk of the squad has already qualified for this year's re-arranged Olympics, Rossiter knows how significant it is to perform well in Italy.
"We as individuals, just need to cement ourselves in the seats," he said. "There's no hiding that we want to come in hot at the Euros, however it's our first race in 18 months so it'll be a good opportunity to get back into racing and learn."
It's been a challenging year for a lot of people and the 31-year-old is aware at how grateful sports-men and women should be with the ability to train.
"It's been an awful year for so many, but I actually feel that we, as professional athletes, have had it easier than most," he said. "For the initial lockdown we had to put in a lot of hours solely on the rowing machine.
"Then in September we were allowed to return to our training centre and get back out on the water.
"Even though I say we've had it easy, I have struggled at points but I've found having lots of structure and identifying the things I enjoy doing most is very important."
The men's four that Rossiter is part of has the experience of winning, as they struck gold at the 2019 European Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland.
He said: "We've had a really good few weeks so are hoping to go well out in Italy and we won the Europeans back in 2019 so we're looking to repeat that performance."