Alexander Purnell, Jack Hargreaves and Spencer Turrin, will now row in the Eight, in Paris 2024.

The Australian Olympic Committee has selected a 37-strong team across nine boats to contest the Olympic rowing regatta at the Vaires-sur-Marne Nautical Stadium in Paris.

Among them are 11 NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) athletes including Alexander Purnell – Mens Eight, Georgina Rowe – Womens Eight, Harriet Hudson – Womens Double Sculls, Jack Hargreaves – Mens Eight, Joseph (Jack) O’Brien – Mens Eight, Kendall Brodie – Mens Eight (Cox), Laura Gourley – Womens Quadruple Sculls, Patrick Holt – Mens Pair, Rowena Meredith – Womens Quadruple Sculls, Spencer Turrin – Mens Eight and Tara Rigney – Womens Single Sculls.

The team features six athletes making their third Olympic Team, 20 heading to their second Games and 11 debutants. The team celebrated their announcement at a team event in Varese, Italy, near their European Training Centre base, where athletes have been putting the final polish on their Olympic preparation.

With 23 women and 14 men, the squad features seven Olympic gold medallists and a further four who won bronze in Australian rowing’s famed ‘Hour of Power’ at Tokyo 2020.

And while 26 athletes return from the Tokyo regatta, many are heading to Paris in a different boat.

Tokyo Olympic champions in the Men’s Four, Alexander Purnell, Jack Hargreaves and Spencer Turrin, who are NSWIS scholarship holders will now row in the Eight, while Women’s Four champions Anabelle McIntyre and Jessica Morrison will crew the Pair. Lucy Stephan also moves from the Four to the Women’s Eight.

Australian rowers first appeared at an Olympics in 1912, and then every Games since Paris 1924, meaning Paris 2024 will mark 100 years of Australian rowing’s continuous participation in the Olympic rowing regatta.

The team enters Paris on a high after finishing on top of the medal tally at Rowing World Cup III in Poland earlier this month, where they claimed 11 medals out of 13 events, including six gold.

It was a strong way to round out their racing preparation after previous hit out in Rowing World Cup II, which saw a number of the new crews make their international racing debut.

Chef de Mission Anna Meares congratulated the athletes on their selection.

“Rowing is such an integral part of Australia’s Olympic history and I’m thrilled to announce the 37 athletes who will proudly row at the Olympic regatta in Paris,” Ms Meares said.

“To make an Australian Olympic Rowing Team takes incredible strength, determination and skill.

“From returning Olympic champions to Olympic debutants, each of these athletes have earned their place in Paris, with years of work to put them in a position to write Australia’s next chapter of Olympic rowing.

“Rowing Australia have built such an impressive high-performance environment and I want to thank and congratulate the entire team for helping prepare this world class team.”

Tokyo Olympic champion in the Four Spencer Turrin returns in the Eight in Paris.

“I’m really honoured to be named as part of the Olympic Team and represent Australia,” he said. “I’m so excited to be part of such a promising team and such a great group of people. 

“It’s a new challenge, being in the eight, but I’m relishing it. I like having a lot of different personalities around me and being part of this group that’s doing some really incredible stuff.”

“They couldn’t be there last time, so to have my family and friends there in Paris, and have the support of all of them around us, is so exciting.”

Twenty-five-year-old Lily Triggs will make her Olympic debut in the Women’s Four, just a year after making her first senior national team.

“I can’t put in words just the amount of pride and excitement I feel being able to represent my country and the sport on this level,” she said. “I think it’s an incredible experience of not only being able to step up and uphold the values that all those athletes have done before me, but also trying to set through new pacings for up-and-coming athletes as well.

“It’s the pinnacle of any athlete’s career trying to make an Olympics, so I think I’m just really trying to take it in stride and appreciate every moment of it. But I’m also coming in swinging.”

“There’s a lot of experience in the crew with both Molly [Goodman] and Oly [Olympia Aldersey] individually being world champions in this event.  I feel like myself and Jeano [Jean Mitchell], coming in as new athletes, also bring a lot of excitement and energy. Combining those two factors, I think we’ll be a pretty exciting combination at the Games.”

Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist in the Quad Scull, Harriet Hudson returns for her second Games, this time in the Double Scull.

“It’s an honour to be able to represent Australia at the Olympic Games, and to do it a second time is incredible,” she said. “I’ll definitely draw on my experience from my previous Games, but the thing about the Olympics is you want to approach it just like any other regatta.

“My partner [Amanda Bateman] and I have been building towards Paris. At the end of the day we often say to each other, ‘we know the certainties are that we’re going to race 2000 meters and we’re going to be racing five other crews’. With four weeks to go, we are trying to make it as simple as possible and also enjoy the journey and the experience of it all.”

NSWIS athlete Patrick Holt will make his Olympic debut in the Men’s Pair.

“It feels pretty sweet, it’s a massive honour to be a part of such a great team. After spending so long when you kind of ride the ups and downs and the grind, it’s cool to come up and see what it’s all built up to be. 

“I’m just keen to get there and have a crack. Things are coming along great. The adversities have been challenging, but we race so much through our careers, these ups and downs really test us to show what we’re made of.”

Rowing Australia Chief Executive Sarah Cook, who rowed for Australia at the 2008 and 2012 Games, said being selected for the Team was the ultimate reward after years of dedication, focus and commitment.

“Our rowers train three times a day, six days a week, and commit themselves above and beyond, all with the goal of having their name on the Australian Olympic Team,’ Ms Cook said.

“On behalf of everyone at Rowing Australia, I offer my sincere congratulations and know they will do themselves, their family and their country proud in Paris.”

Article and image courtesy of the AOC

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