Collins thinking about Rio Olympics as he aims to continue fine season at British Rowing Championships

Twickenham’s John Collins admits thoughts of the Rio Olympics won’t be far away from his mind during this weekend’s British Rowing Championships.

This season has already seen plenty of reasons for Collins to celebrate as despite he and Jonny Walton failing to make the men’s double scull A-final at last month’s World Championships, their final placing of eight was enough to qualify the boat for Rio 2016.

But that is only half the job done for Collins as the former Orleans Park School pupil must now ensure he takes one of the places in the boat when the competition in Brazil gets underway.

The next chance to shine arrives this weekend in Nottingham at the British Rowing Championships and 26-year-old Collins is determined to keep his run of form going.

“Last season was good for me,” he said. “Myself and my doubles partner Jonny moved on from the year before and we managed to qualify a boat for the Olympics.

“That was an amazing achievement for me. Even though you have done that, it’s still a bit of a daunting prospect actually getting on the team. I still have to secure a seat but it makes things look a lot better.

“With it being an Olympic year, that is my big goal the whole way through. But along the way I’d look to put some performances down to really cement my place in the team.

“It can be a very stressful experience trying to scramble into a boat, so doing the right performances is what you need to do to be comfortable in the boat.

“Next week is the British Championships. I’m racing in the quad, I’m very excited. If all goes well, I’d like to win a gold and that would mean a lot and would prove I have what it takes.”

This weekend’s British Rowing Championships also gives Collins the chance to compete in the colours of Leander Club – something he can’t wait to do again after he and Walton won gold last year.

“I really like racing for Leander,” he added. “It’s something I wish I could do more of if I could.

“I really enjoy racing for Leander, especially with the support you get, it’s just such a proud thing to do.

“Leander is a pretty incredible place.  At the moment I am training in the team. We are one of the best rowing nations in the world but I think most of the support I feel I get comes from Leander.

“Everyone here backs their members to achieve their place. It has such an amazing support network it means a lot to be a part of that.”

As Leander Club launched their ‘Row to Rio’ campaign John Collins spoke of Leander’s place as the most successful rowing club in the world, with 111 Olympic medals won by its members.

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