Defeat for rowers could be a blessing in disguise at Olympics
PETE Reed believes that there could be a silver lining attached to the silver medals earned by the Great Britain men's four at the World Cup regatta in Munich.
The quartet of Reed from Nailsworth, Wormington's Alex Gregory, Andy Hodge and Tom James tasted defeat for the first time this year in Germany.
After easy victories and a world best performance in the opening two World Cup events of the summer, the British boat suffered a double defeat to Australia last week.
With the London 2012 Olympic games just six weeks away, Reed admitted that defeats in both the semi-final and final to their Antipodean rivals was a blow, but not a crucial one.
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The Australian team have been in a European training camp since the Lucerne regatta, while the British crews have been living at home and working at their Caversham base.
With the British squad now jetting off for their own intensive pre-games training camps in both Germany and Italy, Reed believes their best is still yet to come.
The former Cirencester Deer Park School pupil also believes that the Munich defeat will help focus the minds ahead of the critical training camps.
"We haven't got the fitness and strength to beat a crew of the class of Australia at the moment," Reed said.
"We have been at home where we all have things to sort out whereas, for the last three weeks, the Australians have been away in a training camp environment.
"It makes a big difference when you don't have to commute every day.
"Now we go away and we have to make sure that winning silver here is the best thing that has ever happened to us.
"Going to the training camp, it will just be commitment. I will remember there is a crew out there that is faster than us at the moment.
"It may well make our preparation campaign. The Olympics are not over by any means."
Britain set the world's fastest time in Lucerne and their decision to try a new seat order in Munich, in the hope of unlocking even more speed, did not work.
Reed was moved into the bow seat from his usual number three spot as British rowing supremo Jurgen Grobler looked for yet more speed from the quartet.
In their previous formation and in the previous World Cup regatta, the British four had set a world record pace, but that hasn't stopped them wanting more.
"We have tried out several different things and even after our world's best time in Lucerne we wanted to search for more speed," Reed said.
And history suggests there is no need to panic as Reed and company kept up a bizarre if not lucky tradition of suffering a pre-Olympic defeat.
The British four have won gold at the last three Olympics and none of those crews won their last race before the Games.
That goes back to the famous 2000 victory when Sir Steve Redgrave claimed his fifth Olympic gold medal in Sydney.
Cheltenham's Steve Williams was part of the crew alongside Sir Matthew Pinsent four years later, who scooped gold in Athens.
Hodge, Reed and James are all reigning Olympic champions following their memorable triumph in Beijing and Gregory is a double world champion, also in the four.
And experienced strokeman Hodge, who spent two seasons rowing in the pair with Reed before switching back to the four, is confident in the quartet's ability to strike gold in London.
"We know we have the winning formula. We are the best in the British team when you look at results," Hodge said.
"We just have to come together as a crew. We have enough time.
"It is coming. The British are coming."