The newly crowned European champion has Rio in his sights, his fourth Olympic Games.
WITH TWO WORLD Championship gold medals and Olympic bronze and silver medals, Matt Langridge has been one of the stalwarts of the GB Rowing squad for more than a decade.
In June he won gold at the 2015 European Rowing Championships in the men’s pair, and he’s currently focused on qualifying for Rio, after which he’s considering retraining to be an airline pilot.
1. “This year is very much about trying to get all our boats qualified for the Olympics. There are two opportunities to qualify: one is at the world championships in Aiguebelette, France, and the second the Lucerne Regatta next year.
It’s really important to qualify this year so we can concentrate on Rio, otherwise we’d have to peak twice in the same year.
No one is guaranteed a seat for Rio. We do not officially get selected until March next year, so I am really trying to get the best possible seat. Our chief coach Jürgen Grobler selects the crews, and he will choose them on
who works well together.”
2. “I always used to prefer the smaller boats because you are more of the boat. Winning in a single is great because you know it’s all you, but there’s no one to celebrate with.
But an eight rowing well in unison, knowing that you’ve got all these guys pulling towards one main target is really satisfying, and I’ve learnt to appreciate the big boats a lot more.
3. “We get the occasional day off but normally it’s seven days a week. I get up at 6:40 every morning. Monday I’m in the gym at 7:30 for weights until 9:45. Then I have a rowing session from 11am for about 20km, which takes about 90 minutes, followed by lunch then we go out again.
This is followed by an ergo (rowing machine) of anything from 12 to 20km. Tuesday is the same. Wednesday is a half day and starts at 7:30 with a row of about 16km, and then we’ll do an intense 30-minute test on the rowing machine, and that’s it.
Thursday I’m back in the gym, followed by two rows ranging from 16km to 20km. Friday we do a row plus a 4km run, and maybe some core stability work, and finish with another row. Saturday will be two rows, one with more intense pieces in them, and Sunday is a nice, long, steady row.
We train at Caversham, which is a 2km straight lake so it’s not great scenery. The problem with rowing is that it’s very repetitive, so the beauty very quickly wears off. It’s pretty much like going up and down a swimming pool.
But when the boat really starts to go or you are working on something and it clicks, and you get that feeling that you are all coming together you can really appreciate it.”
4. ”I fill my downtime mainly by sleeping, or trying to relax and watch TV and movies. I don’t go to bed too
When you do finally get a day off you feel like you need to go out, but the best thing to do is rest and do nothing. It’s a balance of still trying to have a social life. If you just sit on the sofa, and don’t go out you don’t get a mental rest, and it can all become a bit like Groundhog Day.
5. “Our coach likes to go to desolate, out-of-the-way places for training camps so you do have to make your own entertainment.
Everyone takes take a laptop to keep in touch with people at home, and we share a hard drive for music and movies. Every now and again someone brings the odd bit of equipment out to entertain us.
The latest one was a telescope, but we’ve also had catapults, and on one camp we built model aeroplanes.