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Hopes for ‘incredible stuff’ from rowers

Tokyo 2020 Rowing Finals Day 05

Among the massive 37 members of Australia’s rowing team locked in for the Paris Olympics are 11 first-timers, while another seven are already gold medallists looking to add to their haul.

But while 26 athletes are returning after wearing green and gold in Tokyo in 2021, plenty have jumped ship to different boats, giving the team a new look.

Tokyo Olympic champions in the men’s four, Alexander Purnell, Jack Hargreaves and Spencer Turrin, will now row in the eight-man boat, while women’s four champions Anabelle McIntyre and Jessica Morrison will now row together as a pair.

They are among the shifts that could help boost Australia’s medal count in Paris, with a host of three-time Olympians ensuring a strong presence of experience among a group expected to feature on plenty of podiums.

Turrin, already a gold medallist, said making a shift to the eight-0an crew for Paris was a “challenge” but one he said could lead to some “incredible stuff”.

“It’s a new challenge, being in the eight, but I’m relishing it,” he said.

“I like having a lot of different personalities around me and being part of this group that’s doing some really incredible stuff.

“They couldn’t be there last time, so to have my family and friends there in Paris, and have the support of all of them around us, is so exciting.”

Lily Triggs is one of the 11 rowers heading to her first Olympics, just a year after making her first senior national team.

“I can’t put in words just the amount of pride and excitement I feel being able to represent my country and the sport on this level,” she said. “I think it’s an incredible experience.

“It’s the pinnacle of any athlete’s career trying to make an Olympics, so I think I’m just really trying to take it in stride and appreciate every moment of it, but I’m also coming in swinging.”

“There’s a lot of experience in the crew with both Molly (Goodman) and Oly (Olympia Aldersey) individually being world champions in this event. I feel like myself and Jeano (Jean Mitchell), coming in as new athletes, also bring a lot of excitement and energy. Combining those two factors, I think we’ll be a pretty exciting combination at the Games.”

The Australian rowers received their tickets to Paris while training in Italy.