On Friday 16 June, the Australian Olympic Committee announced the selection of Taylor McCarthy-Smith (Brisbane & GPS RC) and Cormac Kennedy-Leverett (Griffith University Surfers Paradise Rowing Club) to the Australian Youth Olympic Team for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. The two Queensland athletes have been selected to represent Australia in the Women’s and Men’s Single Sculls, respectively.
Kennedy-Leverett is the reigning Junior World Champion in the Men’s Double Sculls, while McCarthy-Smith qualified Australia’s Women’s Single Scull after winning the Qualification Regatta, held in Vanuatu, earlier this year.
18-year-old McCarthy-Smith changed boats from the double scull to the single scull this year, and was stoked to secure Australia’s Youth Olympic quota at the Oceania qualification event in Vanuatu.
“At the end of 2017 I got a call letting me know I was going over to Vanuatu to try and get a spot for an Australian junior to compete at the Youth Olympic Games in the single, and I knew from then that I wanted to be the one selected and it became a daily goal for me to work towards,” McCarthy-Smith said.
“I am really grateful to have the opportunity as this doesn’t come around every year.”
The Brisbane rower finished 13th in the double sculls at the 2017 Junior World Championships, and is expecting YOG to be just as competitive.
“I think that the YOG will be an amazing experience just like other international competitions. Our race will be over 500m so that is really exciting because I love to sprint and will be different from the World Juniors. But although the racing will be different, I know it will be just as competitive as the World Junior Champs and I look forward to the challenge.”
The 2018 Youth Olympic Games will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina from 6-18 October.