Australia’s Olympic rowers have been preparing over the last few months at the Australian Institute of Sport’s European Training Centre in Gavirate, Italy. One of those rowers, Jessica Hall, of Australia’s Women’s Quadruple Sculls believes their preparation has been second to none.
“We’ve had good preparation here, we love training in Italy and being based at the European Training Centre. We’re familiar with the environment and we’ve the same personnel around us again this year so it’s been a good block of training leading into the Olympics. It definitely feels like a home away from home and it’s easy for us to live a reasonably normal life here, when also training for such a major event.”
Hall, who sits in the bow seat of the boat, will make her Olympic debut in Rio, alongside Maddie Edmunds and Jennifer Cleary. Meanwhile, Kerry Hore, in the three seat of the boat, will be making history for Australia at the Games by becoming the first female rower to compete at four consecutive Games for Australia.
“As a crew, this season Kerry has given a lot to us with her experience in the sport. She’s sitting in a different seat to her previous Games and she’s communicating a lot with us about her experiences and we recognise her as a big asset to our crew,” said Hall.
“Kerry has given us good advice on what to expect in the Olympic environment, not just on the water, but also off it in regards to being part of such a major event. The focus is to perform, but she’s highlighted things that could potentially distract us and has advised us how best to balance or manage those distractions while also getting the best possible outcomes on the water.
“I think our excitement for the Games, which is of course new to us, gives Kerry energy and her own excitement. I think she sees a similarity to her Athens experiences (which was her debut Games), and she recognises how important is to have that excitement and acknowledge it, but also harness it towards our performances.”
Hall, who is originally from Queensland, was based in Canberra with the entire Australian Rowing Team before the crews departed for Europe and has enjoyed being in the team environment for an extended period of time.
“I’m very much a people person, so I’ve loved being part of a team that has spent so much time together. This season we have a great mixture of athletes with youth and experience and as always those experienced ones are always willing to share advice. In turn, the experienced athletes also gain from us younger ones in the team, it’s very much a sharing environment.”
The crew is excited to join the rest of the Australian Olympic Team in Rio and get things underway in the opening week of the Games.
The 24-year-old said: “I am really excited to join up with the rest of the team, it’s a great privilege to be a part of the Olympic Games. We’re hugely proud to be part of the Australian Rowing Team and we’re excited to mix those values with the entire Australian Olympic Team who obviously have the same principles and ideals as we do. It’s going to be great to mix with them all both in and out of competition.”
With just 11 days to go until the opening ceremony, Hall is looking forward to racing beginning on Lagoa de Freitas, saying: “I’m looking forward to competing with a group of girls that have been lucky enough to compete together for the last three years. Alongside our coach, it’s something we’ve all be working towards and it’s an opportunity we realise we are lucky to have and we want to make sure we make the most of that opportunity and do our country proud.
“Once competition is completed for us, I’m really looking forward to supporting the rest of the Australian Olympic Team in their competitions, particularly Richie Porte, in the road cycling, because he’s another Tassie battler, just like our Kerry!”