Next week at Lake Karapiro 38-year-old British rower Greg Searle, a gold medallist at the 1992 Olympics, will take a further step along the comeback trail as he chases the ultimate ending to his career.

At the age of 40, 11 years after retiring from competitive action, and 20 years since winning gold alongside brother Jonny and cox Garry Herbert in Barcelona, Searle will look to strike gold again, but this time on home soil at the 2012 London Olympics.

It's a story which is sure to hit the headlines as the countdown to the Games gathers pace, but one which at the moment is still in its infancy.

Having beaten off 85 challengers to seal a place in the British squad last year, Searle has since secured a place in the men's eight and subsequently taken medals in three world cup series regattas - including gold in Slovenia - in the lead up to the world championships in Karapiro beginning next weekend.

A strong performance from the men's eight in Karapiro will provide another good marker that things are on track for London 2012, and Searle said the team are desperate to perform well.

Despite it being 10 years since Searle has raced in a pinnacle event in the sport, the veteran rower believes he is now better equipped mentally to handle the pressure.

"It's harder physically, but in some ways I think I'm stronger mentally than I've ever been. I think when you get older and a bit wiser you appreciate more what you used to have and the fact that I'm lucky enough to still be able to do it," said Searle.

"I make sure I focus on the right things and don't get distracted by things that don't make our boat go faster and hopefully I can help the team do that as well."

Searle spent eight years away from the sport before announcing his comeback late last year.

After winning gold with his brother Jonny in Barcelona, and bronze in the coxless four in Atlanta, Searle and Ed Coode suffered the agony of being pushed in to fourth place in the last strokes of the coxless pairs final in Sydney.

That prompted Searle to reassess his future in the sport, and he decided it was time to try something else - sailing to be exact.

"In many ways I followed in the footsteps of [champion Kiwi rower] Rob Waddell," he explained.

"After the Sydney Games I was ready to move on and the America's Cup was happening. I knew some of the sailors - the likes of Ben Ainslie - and they introduced me to the other sailors and I joined up with the Great British America's Cup team and came [to live in Auckland] for two years."

Upon returning to England Searle stayed fit by competing in the odd marathon and triathlon and started rowing again on a recreational basis.

Searle said when London was awarded the hosting rights for the 2012 Olympics back in 2005, he knew immediately he wanted to be part of it. His decision was further cemented when he looked at the dates and realised a nice wee piece of sporting symmetry beckoned.

If Searle were to win gold with the men's eight in London, it would be 20 years to the day that he won his first gold on August 2 1992.

But for now Searle insists his focus is on the Karapiro regatta where he hopes to claim his first world championship medal since 1997.

"Across the team and including the eight we want to be challenging for medals. We've slowly been gaining confidence and winning a medal here would be a great shot in the arm."

World Rowing Championships
October 30-November 7
Lake Karapiro
www.wrch2010.com