8 SUBC rowers named in 2016 Australian Rowing Team

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A total of 8 Sydney Uni Boat Club (SUBC) athletes are well and truly in the Rio mix, having been named to compete at Rowing World Cups 2 and 3, along with the Final Olympic Qualification Regattas, all subject to performance.

The Sydney Uni Boat Club representatives announced by Rowing Australia are Cameron Girdlestone and Alexander Belonogoff (Men’s Quadruple Scull), Sally Kehoe and Elizabeth Kell (Women’s Double Scull) and Jack Hargreaves, Fergus Pragnell, Nicholas Purnell and Nick Wheatley (Men’s Coxed Eight Squad). With Mark Prater, also of SUBC, appointed Olympic Underpinning coach for crews based in Canberra before they head overseas, that makes an astonishing 9 for Sydney University.

Given the trialling process is always a rigorous one, seats to Rio are yet to be confirmed, with selectors assessing the fastest combinations based on World Cup performances. Given this, our athletes are more determined than ever to prove their Olympic edge.

Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness Elite Athlete Program alumnus and rowing World Championship silver medallist, Cameron Girdlestone, holds a strong record of results and an Olympic thirst.

“Last year I had two crewmates, Karsten Forsterling and David Crawshay, who had been to the Olympics before and won medals. Receiving support and encouragement from two people who have achieved my dream is very inspiring.”

“Ultimately, the ‘Road to Rio’ for me started when I took my first rowing strokes at school (The King’s School) in 2003. A lot of kilometres have been conquered since then with different crews, however, standing on the podium last year at the World Rowing Championships was where the Olympic dream really felt real,” said Girdlestone aware that every stroke counts.

Hailing from Rockhampton, Belonogoff will join Girdlestone in the Men’s quad. Having achieved podium finishes at a series of World Cup events and World Championships in recent years, the 90kg powerhouse is hungry for even bigger success.

As for our Men’s sweep hopefuls, Nick Wheatley and Jack Hargreaves most recently won silver at the 2015 U23 World Rowing Championships while also making the A-Final of the World Rowing Championships and qualifying the boat for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in the men’s pair coached by Prater, putting them in serious contention for the coxed eight. This will mark their Olympic debut should they get across the line for final selection. Meanwhile, Nicholas Purnell previously competed at the London Games and Fergus Pragnall was a reserve at the same Olympics.

In the women’s squad, Sally Kehoe is a two-time Olympian, having finished sixth at both the Beijing and London Olympic Games in the women’s eight, while Liz Kell, also of the Beijing eight, has made a comeback worthy of a medal in itself, after a 6 year break. Subject to medical clearance, Kell and Kehoe will train vigorously together ahead of World Cup competition.

This level of representation is a testament to the dedication, hard work and talent SUBC boasts, and with six Sydney Uni rowers represented at Beijing 2008 and 10 at the London Olympics 2012, SUBC are making every finishing line count on their row to Rio.