They might not have made the podium at this year’s World Rowing Championships but Jess Leyden believes it would be foolish to count out Britain’s women’s quad team in Rio 2016.
It was a far-from perfect performance in France from Leyden (above right), Frances Houghton, Kristina Stiller and Melanie Wilson as they failed to reach the World Championship final earlier this year and missed out on Olympic qualification.
But there is still time for the 20-year-old to help the quad team reach Rio with preparations well underway for next season.
And Hollingworth Lake Rowing Club’s Leyden is confident that she can help the team secure their spot on the startline in Brazil and, once there, she knows anything can happen.
“I was in the women’s quad for the World Championships but we didn’t quite qualify our boat for the Olympics,” said Leyden who has been working with SAS to create a Perfect Rowing Programme which highlights the intense daily routine that Olympic athletes go through in the gym.
“Now that’s over though we are all competing in our singles to get selection for the quad again and we will go to the final regatta and hopefully qualify the quad then.
“There is a lot of girls going for the quad seats so there is always a lot of competition but I think that’s a good thing.
“I think with the strong squad of girls that we have got we have a direction and are in a really strong place to qualify.
“There’s always someone who didn’t make the qualification the first time who gets a medal and you are there for that surprise.
“No one ever knows what the other countries are doing so all you can do is focus on getting yourself and your crew better and better.”
Leyden was too young to throw her hat into the ring for London 2012, but she admits the home Games left a sizeable mark on her.
“London 2012 is a part of all of our lives and so to get the chance to go in and compete somewhere we usually wouldn’t is a brilliant opportunity,” she added.
“It’s a huge year and It would be amazing to go to an Olympic Games and it is a step towards the dream of winning Olympic gold one day.
“Just to experience all that comes with it would be amazing and it’s the pinnacle of our sport so nothing gets better than that.”
Pete Reed was speaking on behalf of SAS – the leader in analytics software and services. SAS is the Official Analytics Partner of British Rowing and the GB Rowing Team at www.sas.com