Dual World Champion, Kim Brennan believes the rowing section of the Australian Olympic Team heading to the Rio Games may be the strongest she has seen in her Olympic career.
Australia will have eight boats competing at the 2016 Games, five men’s events; single, double, and quadruple sculls, coxless fours and men’s pair, as well as three women’s boats, single, double and quadruple sculls.
The rowing Team will have an even balance of debutants and experienced athletes, with 11 rookies, four two-time rowers, four three timers and four-time Olympian Kerry Hore.
“Despite having fewer crews qualified than previous Olympics, we have a number of genuine medal chances and work really together as a supportive unit,” said Brennan who will compete in the women’s single sculls.
“Our men’s four, women’s double scull, women’s quad scull and men’s pair have all also medalled at World Cup level this year- we are all excited to race in Rio.”
Rio will mark Games number three for Brennan, who in 2012 was the first Australia rower to compete in two events at the one Games, finishing with a silver in the double sculls and bronze in the singles.
Brennan claimed the World Championship title in 2015 but says going to the Games as the number one ranked rower in the world is neither an advantage or disadvantage.
“Everyone starts the race at the exact same point and has the opportunity to create their best race from that moment in time. Having said that, prior performance gives you confidence that your training and technique are on the right track”
Entering the history books at Rio will be Kerry Hore, who is set to become Australia’s first four-time Olympic rower. Hore will race alongside three Olympic rookies, Jessica Hall, Jennifer Cleary and Madeleine Edmunds in the women’s quadruple sculls.
Chris Morgan will compete at his third Games, partnered up with debutant David Watts in the men’s double sculls, while Alexander Lloyd and Spencer Turrin are set to race at their first Olympic regatta in the men’s pair.
Rhys Grant will be Australia’s men’s single sculler having qualified in June at the last minute regatta in Lucerne.
Also making her third Olympic appearance is Sally Kehoe who has paired up with the youngest member of the section, Genevieve Horton, in the women’s double scull.
Horton said being selected on the Olympic Team is an amazing feeling and the pinnacle of her rowing career, particularly racing with an Olympian with as much experience as Kehoe has.
“It remains a great privilege as we have all had to work incredibly hard to reach Rio,” the 21-year-old said.
“To have someone by your side (or sitting behind you) with a wealth of experience is a great advantage, especially as she [Kehoe] is one of only a few Olympians in our field of the women’s double.”
Also adding their names to the three-time Olympian list will be Karsten Forsterling and James McRae, who will compete alongside rookies Cameron Girdlestone and Alexander Belonogoff in the men’s quad scull.
The men’s quad claimed bronze at London, a result McRae says the boat is looking to improve on.
“Obviously Karsten and I won bronze in London and now we’re four years older and wiser and looking to be standing in the middle of the podium this time around,” said McRae.
“This will be Sasha and Cam’s first Olympics but they both have plenty of international racing experience and bring a lot of horsepower to the boat.”
Finally, the men’s coxless fours will look to step up one place from their London 2012 silver. Joshua Dunkley-Smith and William Lockwood will make their second Games appearance in the boat, while Joshua Booth will also compete in his second Olympics, moving from the men’s eight to the four. The trio will be joined by rookie Alexander Hill.
“Australia’s history in the men’s four absolutely inspires me, for male sweep oarsmen it’s the boat that we all want to be in,” Lockwood said.
“I am looking to take my leaning and experience from London and turn that silver into a gold.”
The rowing competition will begin on August 6th in Rio, concluding on Saturday August 13th.
These 20 athletes take the overall 2016 Australian Olympic Team to 323 from 23 sports, with an expected final Team of around 410 athletes. Complete biographies on all selected athletes here>>>
This article first appeared as a media release from the AOC and the original can be found here.