A record 10 Sydney University rowers have been selected in the 46 person Australian Olympic Games Rowing team that holds an exciting mix of youth and experience.
Brodie Buckland (men’s coxless pair), Toby Lister, Matt Ryan, Francis Hegerty, Sam Loch, Nick Purnell (men’s coxed eight), Brooke Pratley (women’s double scull), Sarah Cook, Sally Kehoe (women’s coxed eight) and Bronwen Watson (lightweight women’s double scull) make up an incredible list of Sydney University rowers, all of whom but one were part of the Sydney University Elite Athlete Program (EAP) at one point in time.
The odd man out is American convert Brodie Buckland who moved over to Australia to join the Sydney University Boat Club (SUBC) in 2008.
Hegerty (B. Commerce), Pratley (B. Applied Science – Physiotherapy) and Watson (B. Education) have all graduated from Sydney University.
Narrowly missing out on the squad, but being named reserves, are fellow Sydney University rowers, former EAP scholarship holders and graduates Fergus Pragnell (B. Arts graduate) and Nick Hudson (B. Science – Environmental).
All in all, Australia will send 13 crews to Eton Dorney, including the women’s eight, who only qualified for the Games in the last-chance regatta in Lucerne a month ago. The self-titled “Motley Crew” includes Sydney University Women’s Rowing Club (SUWRC) representatives Sarah Cook and Sally Kehoe.
Fellow SUWRC teammate Brooke Pratley has all but proved her fitness for the Games after a strong performance eight days ago, after the previously injured Pratley, and her women’s double skull partner Kim Crow, won silver at the World Cup 3 competition in Munich.
At the 2008 Olympic Games Australia won two gold medals and one silver, but the 2012 crews are confident London could provide a rush of medals. The Australian crews won five medals at the 2011 World Championships last September and matched that with five medals at the World Cup in Munich.
The Australian rowing team will continue its preparations for London over the next four weeks at the Australian Institute of Sport’s European Training Centre in Varese, Italy before relocating to London in the week leading into the Olympic regatta.
With the selection of 10 rowers in the Australian Olympic Games team, Sydney University’s 2012 representation at the London Games has ballooned to an incredible 24 athletes.
They include Belinda Snell (Basketball), Thomas Whalan, Sam McGregor (Water Polo),Kaarle McCulloch (Cycling), Megan Rivers, Matthew Butturini (Hockey), Krystal Weir, Olivia Price (Sailing), Ed Fernon (Modern Pentathlon), Murray Stewart (Canoe/Kayak – Sprint), Jessica Fox, Kynan Maley (Canoe/Kayak – Slalom), Matthew Mitcham, Loudy Wiggins (Diving).
Angela Ballard (Athletics) and Jennifer Blow (Goalball) have been selected to represent Australia at the 2012 London Paralympics.