Invesco Perpetual opened the doors of their beautiful marquee on Saturday at Henley Regatta to the public to celebrate their 15 year Leander Club partnership with an exhibition charting the club’s successful history and interviews with three Olympians; Phelan Hill, Debbie Flood and Pete Reed.
Chris Lyes from Invesco Perpetual said, “Today we are celebrating our partnership with Leander Club. We share the same sense of values – conviction, teamwork, leadership and trust. Things that resonate what we do as an investment company. Over the last 15 years we have been the main sponsor of Leander Club. We are keen as an investment company to drive high performance and we look and get inspiration from a club like Leander who over nearly 200 years have been performing at the highest level. That’s what we are celebrating here today. We think we are quite good at performance but we look at in awe at what these guys have achieved. 126 Olympic and Paralympic medals have been won and Leander are not only the world’s most successful rowing club but the world’s most successful sporting club.”
We were delighted to join Pete Reed who is planning to compete in Tokyo in 2020. He is currently out of training due to having surgery on both his hips earlier this year.
From a young boy who was a mediocre sportsman, Pete Reed told the audience of his journey from discovering the sport to becoming a triple Olympic gold medallist. He said, “I was rubbish at football, basketball, rugby and terrible at cricket. It was only when I joined the Royal Navy and did a 1km fitness test on an ergo that my Commanding Officer afterwards told me that I had done the fastest time (3.05) of the fleet that year and that I should probably try rowing when I go to university. This was the first time I had ever had a pat on the back and a well done for doing something in sport.”
During his time at the University of the West of England, Pete fell in love with rowing. He said, “I loved getting up early in the morning, appreciated training, enjoyed being with like minded people who all liked goal setting and all of a sudden I was being encouraged. Throughout my rowing journey I was constantly the worst technical oarsman in the boat but I continued to learn the good habits from better rowers.”
Pete recounted the events of his first Henley Regatta in 2002 with his university crew. He said, “We managed to qualify (later learnt though we were the slowest qualifiers which our coach didn’t tell us) and on the first day we were drawn against Oxford Brookes A who were the eventual winners that year. We got absolutely demolished by Oxford Brookes but got the sympathy vote and applause all the way down the course. I went out on Wednesday night in town and woke up the next morning, with an Alsatian in my face! This was my first experience of Henley and that’s why I fell in love with it!”
He then went on to retail the story of his best Henley Regatta experience in the pairs with Andrew Triggs Hodge when they were drawn against a father aged 65 and son aged 16. He said, “We knew the conditions were great. We were going for the barrier record that Redgrave and Pinsent had set. We had a lovely chat with the father and son on the start line and then we went flat out for it. We broke the barrier record by 2 secs and the other guys were completely out of sight but we let them catch up. They were the nicest chaps and so pleased to be there. At the end, we had hugs and the next day they said to us that they had kept the programme which stated that we had won by just ½ a length. This just embodies what this event is all about – it is inclusive, special and historic and I’m very proud to have won it and I’m very proud to be here supporting, watching and speaking here today.”
From 2003, Pete’s rowing journey went on a rapid rise through the ranks. He was picked for the U23 GB Team that year and competed in the boat race for Oxford University in 2004 and winning in 2005. He then teamed up in the pairs with Andrew Triggs Hodge and got into the senior GB team. Pete described Andrew as “brightest and best rower I have ever rowed with.” He then went on to row in the Men’s Four which won the World Championships and 3 World Cup golds in 2005. He won his first Olympic gold medal in Beijing in 2008 when they came from behind to beat a tough Australian crew in the final. Pete said, “I went from a very wet behind the ears young novice rower to champion status. It changed my life and I realised it was something I wanted to do for longer and so there was no question I was going to carry on to London.”
“London was really tough; there was enormous pressure on us to deliver at our home games. I really had to have a word with myself before the final race.” The decision to go to Rio was easy and it was my best Olympics so far. What’s not to love about Rio and a medal too. It was the very best race and experience of my life. It was a fantastic crew, a fascinating place to be and a wonderful race against the Germans who we probably underestimated a bit,” continued Pete.
Pete hopes to re-join training with the GB team after World Championships later this year. He said, “It wasn’t an easy decision to go for another Olympics but thought I can still do this and I won’t be able to do for the rest of my life so I should do it while I still can. I wouldn’t want to be watching the Tokyo Olympics thinking maybe I could have done that. I want to give my very best and be there. Seeing my friends who have retired – they have told me to stay rowing as long as you can.”