SUBC has 10 rowers bound for Paris Games

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Sydney University Boat Club had 23 rowers attending national selection trials at the Penrith Regatta Centre in the past week and ended up with 10 bound for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games and three in the World Cup 1 team to compete at Varese, Italy.

SUBC’s Olympic representatives include Tara Rigney in the Women’s Single Scull, Rowena Meredith and Kathryn Rowan in the Women’s Quad Scull, Dave Bartholot and Marcus Della Marta in the Men’s Double Scull, and Jack Hargreaves OAM,  Alexander Purnell OAM, Spencer Turrin OAM and Joseph O’Brien in the Men’s Coxed Eight, along with Jackson Kench who is one of the two reserves for the eight.

Rigney, a Tokyo Olympian in the Double Scull and member of SUSF’s Elite Athlete Program, was selected in the Women’s Single Scull in which she has won a Bronze Medal at the 2022 and 2023 World Rowing Championships.

Rowing Australia bolstered the Men’s Eight with three Olympic champions, SUBC’s Hargreaves, Turrin and Purnell,  who were in the Tokyo Gold Medal Four in 2021. Other in the Eight include Kendall Brodie (cox), Angus Widdicombe, Joseph O’Brien, Josh Hicks, Angus Dawson and Ben Canham.

“The Eights are the nation’s boats. We’re a proud nation. We’re a proud nation of Eights as well,” Rowing Australia Performance Director Paul Thompson told Rupert Guinness after the trials. “Both Eights have been winning medals at the World Cups and World Championships. So, we want to be building on our strengths, and not watching what everybody else is doing.”

Australia has never won an Olympic Games Gold Medal in the Eight. The best result has has been Silver by the Men’s Eight in 1968 at Mexico and 2000 in Sydney.

As Guinness says, both Eights should be medal contenders in light of their performances at last year’s World Rowing Championships, where both crews won Bronze Medals. The Men’s Eight also won a Gold at the World Cup regatta in Lucerne before the world titles.

Australia has so far qualified nine boats for the Olympics from 14 classes (seven men, seven women) and three for the Paralympics.

“We have a really strong team, especially with the depth of it,” Thompson said.  “We can be really confident the crews will do Australia proud in the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The selectors have left no stone unturned. They have followed the speed. They have followed the data and they have followed all the evidence that they’ve collected.

“Everybody has an opportunity. The selection is done. It is now about making your boat the best boat we need it to be. We should be looking to have a strong team performance.”.

Rowing Australia also announced its Australia A and Under 23 teams after the Penrith trials. SUBC has three rowers in the Australia A team, including Emily Sheppard in the Women’s Coxless 4 and Georgie Gleeson and Eleanor Price in a second Women’s Coxless 4 crew. Gleeson and Price are members of SUSF’s Elite Athlete Program.