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Lockwood eager to lead Victoria’s King’s Cup charge

Sydney International Rowing Regatta 2015

Will Lockwood, standing, celebrates Victoria winning the King’s Cup at the 2015 Sydney International Rowing Regatta

The 2016 Sydney International Rowing Regatta is made up of three major championships, the Australian Open Rowing Championships, the Australian Open Schools Rowing Championships and the pinnacle event of Australian Interstate racing, the King’s and Queen’s Cups Interstate Regatta.

William Lockwood was part of Victoria’s King’s Cup winning crew in 2015, a feat that he hopes the State are able to replicate in 2016. Victoria won their first King’s Cup since 2007 when it defeated New South Wales to take home the coveted trophy and end the New South Welshmen’s seven-year winning streak.

The 27-year-old Lockwood reflected on last year’s race saying: “Thinking back a year on from the King’s Cup, I still get goosebumps from that race. I’ve been in a lot of losing crews in that race and I swore to myself I would never retire or quit rowing until I had won that event, so for me it’s up there as a career highlight and I want to add another one.

“Like going to an Olympic Games, winning a King’s Cup is something you want to do again, that great feeling of competing with your mates from the same State and to go up against your mates from other States is really important. It’s the biggest race in Australia, the pinnacle for Australian racing and I believe many people see it as that.”

The Fitzroy-born rower admitted it would be tough to keep the trophy this year: “Obviously winning the King’s Cup back was very hard, but I think it’s going to be harder to keep it. When you win it, it puts a target on your back and we don’t want to give it back.

“We want to create the same winning streak that New South Wales did, winning it seven years in a row, but we’re going to have to do something different this year, we can’t do the same thing again because that will be expected. The race plan will be up to the coaches and the senior athletes and hopefully we can hang on to the Cup.”

The Interstate is the pinnacle of a weeklong carnival of racing which includes the National and Schools Championships, two events that Lockwood believes are extremely important for the entire rowing community, from grassroots to elite level.

“I think it’s really important for the top athletes in the country to turn up and race in small boats, middle boats, big boats, whatever they can at SIRR because it gives the kids, the school boys and girls that are also competing, the chance to see what world-class racing is about and give them hopefully something to look forward to in the future if they continue their journey in rowing.

“The week for us is about getting out there, racing and having fun as well as surrounding yourself in people who are passionate about rowing be they school-level or club rowers. I see the week as an opportunity to surround yourself with athletes, give them advice, encourage them to stay in the sport and, of course, it’s a chance to watch the best school, club and national racing in the country.”

Before SIRR 2016 though, Lockwood has the National Selection Trials to focus on in February with one eye on trying to make the 2016 Australian Olympic Team.

“It would obviously mean a lot to be selected to go to the Olympic Games. For me, going to do it the first time (in London 2012) is something I’ll never forget, once the race is done, you get your silver medal it’s an amazing experience.

“When I think back on that time, I automatically think, I have to do that again because it’s one of the best times of your life. Going for my second Olympic Games selection is a bit different this time round, I’m a bit older, a bit wiser and I think my approach to this Olympic Games will be vastly different to my approach to the London Games. I’m looking forward to what’s to come with a different role and with a different crew if I’m selected.”

To get your tickets to watch Will Lockwood and Australia top rowers compete at SIRR 2016, click here.