Surbiton sailor Nicola Groves is determined to make Rio a home away from home as she prepares for her Olympic bow.

Groves was named on the Team GB sailing team last month for the 2016 Rio Olympics, set to compete in the new Nacra 17 class alongside Ben Saxton.

Having first joined forces in September 2014, Groves and Saxton were an almost immediate success and won a World Cup silver medal in Miami last year, before claiming gold at the European Championships in September.

Groves is adamant her previous experiences of sailing in Brazil will pay off big time when the Games get under way this summer.

“Preparations are going really well so far, we’re in a good place, especially since becoming European champions,” the 26-year-old said.

“We’re working really hard towards Rio and spending a lot of time there and we’ve got a few regattas coming up for a bit more practice.

“We’ve been to Rio quite a lot recently which gives us a bit more confidence going into the games. I’ve been going there since about 2013.

“The Nacra is the fastest event at the Olympics so it should be good fun.”

Although Groves is now preparing to make her Olympic bow, it was not that long ago that she was representing University of Exeter.

More than 60 per cent of gold medallists since 1992 have participated in BUCS sport, with 56 members of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics competing for Great Britain at the World University Games.

In 2009, Groves helped University of Exeter win the BUCS Fleet Racing Championships and the 26-year-old insists these early experiences are what helped her get to where she is today.

“Competing for my university was a long time ago now, but I had an absolutely great time racing with friends who I still see now,” she added.

“I had a wicked time doing the circuits all around the universities and you get friends from all over the country as well.

“I think taking part in BUCS and in team racing at university was really important in getting me to where I am today. I didn’t do the Olympic sailing through my time at uni so it kept me on the water and maintained my skills.”

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, organising leagues and competitions for more than 150 institutions across 52 different sports. Supported by Deloitte, BUCS offers programmes to athletes from a grass roots level through to Commonwealth and Olympic Games hopefuls