Herbert tips Searle for second gold medal

Greg Searle’s former crew-mate Garry Herbert believes the 40-year-old’s experience, combined with home crowd support, will push Great Britain’s rowing eight to gold at London 2012.

Herbert was the cox when Searle and his brother Jonny won gold in a pair in Barcelona in 1992. All three have spent their careers at Molesey Boat Club.

And Herbert will commentate for BBC TV as the younger Searle brother attempts to win a second gold 20 years later.

Since Searle came out of retirement in October 2009, the GB eight have won successive world silver medals behind Germany, but they have been getting closer to the world champions this season.

In Lucerne three weeks ago, they ran level until the final quarter of the race and they will go head-to-head this weekend in Munich, in the final World Cup event before the Olympics.

“In Lucerne they rowed out of their skins. They’re getting closer and closer. If you put that onto home water, with the crowd screaming and shouting, that will lift the whole boat,” Herbert told West London Sport.

“Having seen him go through all of that stuff, on the night before and the morning of the final Greg will be fantastic. He’s quietly leading the boat.”

The GB eight have yet to finalise their Olympic line-up as seven men were named last week for London 2012.

Constantine Louloudis – who rowed for Oxford in the 2011 Boat Race but has a back injury – or 2009 world silver medallist Marcus Bateman are in contention for the final seat.

Searle remains confident of success but cautioned that the crew need to keep improving over the next six weeks, which include altitude training in Austria and fine-tuning in Italy.

“Every single boat that has been selected for the Great Britain team wants to win and has a realistic chance of winning,” he said.

“When we go to World Cup regattas, if anyone doesn’t win that crew is disappointed. We’re not even happy just with medals. We’re all shooting for the very top.

“The Germans are obviously the strongest force at the moment. We’ve been able to put pressure on them but we need to put together the full 2,000m.

“It was exciting to be joined by Canada, the Olympic champions. They have stepped it up for Olympic year and that’s a danger for us. I also think Australia are a strong force and America are dark horses.

“On our day I know we’re capable of beating all of them but we’re also capable of losing to all of them and others so we’ve got to make sure we get better and better.”

In all, 13 Olympic crews were named by Great Britain last week, and performance director David Tanner set his sights on winning six medals – an increase by one on their haul from Beijing four years ago.

The Munich World Cup regatta starts on Friday, with the finals on Sunday morning.

See also: Veteran Searle’s Olympic place confirmed

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