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Tight-knit rowers ready to race

Story provided by Australian Olympic Committee.  For more click here.

Joshua Dunkley-Smith and the tight-knit group of Australian rowers are looking forward to racing in Rio and have settled into the swing of things in Brazil.

“I think we are settling in pretty well. It’s been really helpful to have people come in ahead of us who have got things all set up for us which has made it nice and easy,” said Dunkley-Smith, who is part of the men’s four.

This is Dunkley-Smith’s second Olympic Games and he believes the feel of the first South American-hosted Games is something to take in your stride.

“It’s a different sort of culture to one I have been in previously, which is interesting, there haven’t been too many glaring differences as yet but there’s been a lot to look at but you take that in your stride.

“It’s great to have the familiarity of being in the boat, especially when you’re at such a major event such as the Games. It’s been really fun going down and looking at the course, taking in the ambiance, all the buildings surrounding it, it’s different to see a course in such a built up location. I think we’ve all really enjoyed it and are getting to know our first little bit of Brazil,” added the Victorian-born athlete.

The London 2012 Olympic silver medallist, whose mother is two-time Australian Olympic Team sailor Addy Bucek, believes the preparation for this year’s Olympic Games has been different to preparation ahead of London.

“The preparation was very different to London 2012, we’re a tighter knit group this Games, which has allowed us to form inter-crew relationships to a much higher degree, which we didn’t have in previous years. There is a good energy within the rowing section and our time in Italy was great preparation.”

Dunkley-Smith will feature in Australia’s men’s four in Rio, competing on day two (7 August) of the Games, with Alexander Hill, Joshua Booth and William Lockwood. Hill will be making his Olympic rowing debut at the event, something Dunkley-Smith and his fellow two-time Olympians Booth and Lockwood are mindful of and also supportive.

“Hilly [Alex Hill] is pretty good, he doesn’t let a lot on but I think he’s doing well. I think we’re all mindful that it is his first Games. For all of us we’re trying not to lose our heads and get spun out.

“For the three of us who have been to a Games before, we’ve got the awareness of all the ‘Olympic stuff’ that happens and we perhaps know how to deal with it a bit better, but we, as in all of the men’s four, are excited to be here, get out and have a few rows and ultimately we’re all really keen to get into racing and have a really good regatta.

“Sharing the experience amongst the crew, and the greater team, is very important. I think it’s allowed us, and continues to allow us, to do our job better.”

LUCY BENJAMIN
olympics.com.au