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Every Aussie boat, every Aussie crew: The ultimate 2023 World Champs Form Guide

By Rupert Guinness with the Australian Rowing Team in Belgrade

The Australian Rowing Team will have 17 boats racing in the World Rowing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia from this September 3-10. The team will also be racing to qualify a full complement of 14 boats for the 2024 Olympic Games and three boats for the Paralympic Games in Paris.

Rowing Australia High Performance Director Paul Thompson said securing qualification for the Olympic and Paralympic Games was the priority. Boats will be qualified at this regatta, with the crews then selected at internal trials next year.

“We have a great team and a host of medal and Paris Qualification opportunities, which is our priority, from our three squads,” Thompson said. “The rowers have really had their foot on the accelerator during the last training block and it’s been impressive to watch. The coaches have worked very well and hard to prepare the crews as have our dedicated support staff. We can all be confident in our preparation.”

Thompson runs the rule over every Australian boat that will take to the water at the Ada Ciganlija course situated on the Sava Lake in the heart of Belgrade.

MEN’S SQUAD

Men’s Four
Crew: Alex Hill OAM, Jack Hargreaves OAM, Spencer Turrin OAM, Alex Purnell OAM
Coach: Rhett Ayliffe (Men’s Head Coach)
Olympic Qualifying: 1st to 7th place (incl. 1st in B Final)
Form: The Olympic champions are having a great rivalry with the British, who they beat last year at World Cup II and Henley Royal Regatta. However, they lost to Team GB at the 2022 World Championships and World Cup I and II this year. Our guys have had a great training block, are as fit as fiddles and determined to get on that podium. They hold themselves to high standards and will be challenging for that middle podium position.

Men’s Eight
Crew: Kendall Brodie (Coxswain), Angus Widdicombe, Angus Dawson, Jack O’Brien, Jack Robertson, Tim Masters, Ben Canham, Josh Hicks, Paddy Holt
Coach: Mark Prater
Olympic Qualifying: 1st to 5th place
Form: The Eight have been in great form building from last year’s Bronze Medal at the World Championships. Their recent win at World Cup III in Lucerne gave Great Britain a “bloody nose” and they will come back stronger. There will be great racing in the eight and they have the confidence and the potential to go all the way.

Men’s Pair 
Crew: Fergus Hamilton, Simon Keenan
Coach: Laryssa Biesenthal
Olympic Qualifying: 1st to 11th place (incl. to 5th in B Final)
Form: Fergus and Simon are fabulous athletes and came together quite late for World Cup III in Lucerne, where they made the final. If they get their rhythm and length right, they can press into the final and you can chase anything from there.

Men’s Double Scull
Crew: Cormac Kennedy-Leverett, Harley Moore
Coach: Rhett Ayliffe/Lyall McCarthy
Olympic Qualifying: 1st to 11th place (incl. to 5th in B Final)
Form: An injury has forced the reselection of our sculling boats. Cormac and Harley are great athletes and at times have shown some really good speed. On their day, they could be in the final challenging, but the priority goal is to qualify the boat for Paris.

Men’s Quad Scull
Crew: Caleb Antill, Jack Cleary, Dave Bartholot, Henry Youl
Coach: Don McLachlan
Olympic Qualifying: 1st to 7th (incl 1st in B Final)
Form: We have a new Quad Scull after we lost a crew member to injury. All four of our men know how to race onto the podium, they have all won either Olympic or World Championship medals.  They have been showing good form and have the potential to be challenging in the medal zone.

Men’s Single Scull 
Sculler: Alex Rossi
Coach: Don McLachlan
Olympic Qualifying: 1st to 9th place (incl to 3rd in B Final)
Form: Alex Rossi has the opportunity of his life to race the rowing giants in the Men’s Single Scull as our racing sculling spare. As there wasn’t a selected men’s Single Scull, Alex has the opportunity to get on the water. He joined the team after his Bronze medal at this year’s Under 23 World Championships in the Quad Scull.

Men’s Lightweight Double Scull
Crew: Oscar McGuinness, Sean Murphy
Spare: Blaine Heseltine (Non-traveling spare)
Coach: Larrissa Biesenthal/Lyall McCarthy
Olympic Qualifying: 1st to 7th place (incl. 1st in B Final)
Form: Oscar and Sean are incredible athletes, dedicated and the coaches tell me a dream to work with. The Lightweight Doubles are the closest and amongst the deepest fields at the World Championships. The competition is absolutely ferocious, especially with the limited qualifying berths up for grabs. If they qualify they will be celebrating for a week.

WOMEN’S SQUAD
 
Women’s Pair
Crew: Jessica Morrison OAM, Annabelle McIntyre OAM
Coach: John Keogh (Women’s Head Coach)
Olympic Qualifying: 1st to 11th place (incl. to 5th in B Final)
Form: Jess and Annabelle are a sublime combination, their length and run on the boat is something to behold. Tokyo Olympic Champions in the Four, they are undefeated this season in the Pair. A focussed, exciting and outstanding combination that are realistic World Champion contenders.

Women’s Four
Crew: Giorgia Patten, Katrina Werry, Sarah Hawe, Lucy Stephan OAM
Coach: Tom Westgarth
Olympic Qualifying: 1st to 7th place (incl. 1st in B Final)
Form: Boasting World and Olympic medallists, we have a tough, committed and very competitive crew. Australia won a medal at two World Cups this year in some very tight races. The Women’s Four will be a cracking event this year. It will be decided by bringing your ‘A’ game to every race. Our crew has the potential to be high up on the podium.

Women’s Eight
Crew: Hayley Verbunt (Coxswain), Lily Alton, Paige Barr, Georgie Gleeson, Olympia Aldersey, Georgina Rowe, Jacqueline Swick, Molly Goodman, Bronwyn Cox
Coach: John Keogh (Women’s Head Coach)
Olympic Qualifying: 1st to 5th place
Form: A Gold Medal at World Cup II in Varese and a Bronze Medal finish at World Cup III in Lucerne, where they led for a long period, shows our Eight has speed and podium potential at their best. The Eights qualification is brutal with only the top five crews qualifying for Paris.

Women’s Single Scull
Sculler: Tara Rigney
Coach: Ellen Randall
Olympic Qualifying: 1st to 9th place (incl. to 3rd in B Final)
Form: Tara medalled in the Single Scull at last year’s World Championships in an outstanding race. Tara is as close to a complete package as a rower as you will get. She is the toughest of racers, rises to the big occasions, has an immense feel for the boat and is very athletic. She has medalled consistently the last two seasons and has a fabulous chance to finish on the podium in Belgrade.

Women’s Double Scull
Crew: Amanda Bateman, Laura Gourley
Coach: Hally Chapman
Olympic Qualifying: 1st to 11th (incl. to 5th in B Final)
Form: Amanda and Laura are a strong combination and showed good speed in training. Another one of our crews who at their best can qualify and challenge for a podium finish. They could be a real surprise package.

Women’s Quad Scull
Crew: Rowena Meredith, Caitlin Cronin, Harriet Hudson, Kathryn Rowan
Coach: Tom Westgarth
Olympic Qualifying: 1st to 7th place (incl. 1st in B Final)
Form: With three returning Tokyo Olympic medallists being joined by Kathryn Rowan from last year’s World Championship crew, the Quad Scull has the potential to qualify and challenge in the final. They will be aiming to reverse the results over some of the crews they raced during the World Cup series.

Lightweight Women’s Double Scull
Crew: Anneka Reardon, Lucy Coleman
Coach: Ellen Randall
Olympic Qualifying: 1st to 7th place (incl. 1st in B Final)
Form: The Lightweight Double Sculls are the closest and amongst the deepest fields at the World Championships. Anneka and Lucy won a World Cup medal last year and will be looking to find that form to qualify for Paris. They have had a good training block and are ready to race.

Spares: Men – Jackson Kench (Bowside), Will O’Shannessy (Strokeside). Women – Eleanor Price (Strokeside), Jaimie Ford (Bowside). Georgina Miansarow (Lightweight non-travelling).

PARA ROWING SQUAD
 
Men’s PR1 Single Scull
Crew: Erik Horrie OAM
Coach: Chad King
Paralympic Qualifying: 1st to 7th place (incl. 1st in B Final)
Form: A five-time World Champion and three-time Paralympic Games Medallist, Erik has been at the top of his game for over a decade. He has had a completely different strategy this year. He has stayed away from the international races to concentrate on his family life and training in Queensland. He’s in good shape with realistic qualification and medal potential.

PR3 Mixed Double Scull
Crew: Nikki Ayers, Jed Altschwager
Coaches: Chad King, Christine MacLaren
Paralympic Qualifying: 1st to 5th place
Form: Nikki and Jed are big characters and another one of our top crews. They have really clicked as a combination and it’s been fabulous to see them record the world’s best time and be undefeated internationally this season. They are still to race the French and the Americans and have the potential to go all the way in this combination. They are in great form.

PR3 Mixed Coxed Four
Crew: Tom Birtwhistle, Harrison Nichols, Jessica Gallagher, Susannah Lutze, Teesaan Koo (Coxswain)
Coach: James Loveday
Paralympic Qualifying: 1st to 6th place
Form: Our Four has had a different path to the World Championships, with Tom having spent the season racing at Molesey Boat Club in the UK and Jess Gallagher combining her cycling and rowing ambitions and returning from the recent Glasgow World Cycling Championships with two fabulous medals. They are joined by the evergreen Teesan Koo as Cox, Susannah Lutze and Harrison Nicholls. The Four has had a very productive extended pre-World Championship camp and are progressing daily. They have a great opportunity to qualify and be in the medal zone.

Spares: Women – Lisa Greissl, Men – Toby Goffsassen (non-travelling).