Satch relishing new leadership status as he eyes fourth world title

From the baby of the boat to one of the leaders of the pack, times have changed for double Olympic medallist Will Satch.

Bronze in London was followed by gold in Rio – Satch is a dab hand at competing on the biggest stage – and that’s before adding in the three world titles already under his belt.

But this week’s World Championships in Sarasota pose a new challenge for the 28-year-old – he’s one of the more experienced heads in the British Rowing squad, and that brings with it pressure he’s not entirely used to.

Yet it’s a hurdle he intends to clear when he takes his place in Jurgen Grobler’s flagship men’s four on Sunday, joined by fellow Rio Olympic champion Moe Sbihi, as well as Mat Tarrant and Matt Rossiter.

The British boat is the one everyone will have their eyes on, but that’s water off a duck’s back for Satch and co as they look to take top spot on the podium once again.

“It’s going in a good way, it’s the first year of the Olympiad so it’s never going to feel quite like it does at the end of an Olympiad before the Olympic final,” he said.

“There are some ups and downs, but that’s sport in general and we’ve got to learn to embrace that and get on with the job.

“Every World Championships I’ve been to, we’ve won, so it’s been quite a good four years, but now we’re up on that pedestal.

“Especially because we’re the flagship boat under GB rowing, there’s quite a lot of pressure – we’re there to be shot down.

“I’ve never been in this position before, but we’re out to do the same job and we won’t be happy unless we come away with the win.

“Throughout the year you push yourself through thick and thin to make sure you’re right in that place, so there’s not a lot more you can do when you’re out here, you just need to bring it all together on the day.”

With the Olympic rings tattooed on the inside of his arm, Satch’s experience in the boat is evident, and that’s something he’s determined to use to help the next class of rowers coming up the ranks.

But that’s not to say he hasn’t set his sights on winning more titles – expectation lies heavy on his shoulders and he’s not about to let anyone down.

“If you look at the whole Great Britain team, we’ve had a lot of depth over the last four years,” he said.

“There’s a lot of new blood that’s come into the team now, so we’re trying to lead them.

“It’s quite refreshing, because if you’re within a sport for a long time, the guys at the top become a bit tired.

“I was the youngest in the eight at Rio and now all of a sudden I’m one of the eldest, it’s a very different position to be in.

“I’m trying to take it in my stride, because I do like being the underdog – I liked going into London and success being unexpected, it’s a bit more fun.

“Now, if we win it’s expected that we win because we’re the top boat and if we lose, someone points the finger.”

Sportsbeat 2017