Twickenham rower John Collins says he is living the dream as he prepares to start a racing season he hopes will finish with an Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Games.

After impressing during a grueling winter of testing and trials, Collins has once again been selected to race alongside Jonny Walton in the GB Rowing Team men’s double scull for a third successive season.

They begin their 2016 campaign at the European Championships – being staged in Brandenburg, Germany from May 6-8 – and will be looking to put down a marker as they work towards their main goal for the summer.

“It’s hard to put into words what getting to the Olympics would mean to me,” said Collins, who first started rowing at Putney Town RC in 2005 when looking for a sport for his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze award.

“At the point when you say you are going to take rowing seriously, the Olympics is everything you aspire to and it would just be the icing of the cake of what has already been a very enjoyable experience.

“It would be a job unfinished if I didn’t do it but it’s not to say it hasn’t been a dream come true already being here and part of this team.”

The GB men’s open-weight sculling squad has gone from strength to strength in recent years and Collins believes the internal competition for Olympic seats will push the standard up again this summer.

“I think it’s safe to say I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been and that’s probably the case for all of the boys in the squad,” said the 27-year-old.

“Before the last Olympics GB had struggled to get sculling boats into finals. Then at London we had all three boats in the final and a medal as well [single scull bronze for Alan Campbell].

“I imagine we will be looking to do the same if not better this year. It’s certainly doable with the squad we have – it will be very hard, given the depth of competition out there, but it’s not impossible.”

Before then, Collins’ first focus is on the Europeans. He and Walton made their double sculls debut together at the 2014 Championships in Belgrade, finishing sixth, but had to settle for eighth place in Poznan last year after being edged out of the A final by just hundredths of a second.