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Future stars to shine at Junior Trials and School Pathways Regatta

The future of Australian Rowing is on display at the Junior Trials and School Pathways Regatta at the Sydney International Regatta Centre (SIRC).

The lure of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games is strong as some of the most-talented young rowers from across the country suit up from Thursday to Sunday for the U19 National Team Trials and School Pathways Regatta.

Racing for all events kick off on Thursday with heats for the Junior National Team Trials up first. These races will be part of the selection process to determine the crews to represent Australia at the 2023 Under 19 World Rowing Championships in Vaires-sur-Marne, France, from August 2-6. Vaires-sur-Marne will be the home of rowing at the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Thursday afternoon’s heats will see the best of the School’s Pathways Crews head down the SIRC course, with the crews racing in Eights and Quads. This year is the first time Quads have been a part of the Pathways Regatta program, with that boat class expected to grow in coming years.

These crews are selected by each state, providing a representative opportunity for the best school-aged athletes. Medals for first to third will this year be awarded to Pathway Eights crews following the finals on Thursday afternoon.

Excitingly, the NSW Men’s Pathway Eights crew contains schoolboy Harrison Nichols in the six seat. Nichols has recently been selected as a member of the Australian PR3 Mixed Coxed Four squad to compete internationally later this year.

The School’s Pathway Eights event has been a part of the performance pathway for a decade, giving school-aged athletes a taste of the opportunities available should they continue down the High Performance path.

In that time, the event has grown from only a small number of crews to approximately 20 crews, with all state represented. Athletes will be provided a tour of the Hancock Prospecting Women’s National Training Centre on the banks of the Nepean River and take part in the annual Pathways dinner, a long tradition to celebrate the future of Australian Rowing.

Deputy Performance Director Jaime Fernandez OLY said it had become a key launchpad for the next generation of Australia’s elite rowing talent.

“It has been exciting to see the growth of this activity over the years. It provides a great opportunity for learning, testing oneself, interacting with others and we hope for many, it’s the start of an ongoing journey in the sport, particularly when one considers the opportunity to compete at a home Olympic Games in 2032,” Fernandez said.

“For this particular cohort of athletes, these events are about providing opportunities for now, and also having a very clear and purposeful eye on the future. We wish them the best at this regatta, and also into the future.”

All seven states and territory have entered at least one crew, plus a crew of reserves from a number of states will combine and compete. Heats begin Thursday afternoon, with finals on Friday morning.