Women's eight to push for first Oly medal

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With two years preparation as opposed to two weeks, Australia's women's eight crew are approaching the Tokyo Olympics with a very different mindset to Rio.

The crew missed qualification for the 2016 Olympics but 10 days before the opening ceremony they were told they would be replacing the banned Russian rowers.

Arriving two days before their first race, the "Lateful Eight" as they were dubbed, were excited just to compete.

But Olympia Aldersey, who along with Molly Goodman remain from that 2016 line-up, said Tokyo was a totally different story.

This time around the coxed eight qualified with a second place at the 2019 world championships behind New Zealand with the Americans, who won gold in the past three Olympics, third.

"You can't compare this preparation really," Aldersey told AAP from Rockhampton, where the rowing team is competing ahead of flying to Tokyo on Saturday.

"It's the same boat - there's eight people in it - but that's about it.

"Before Rio we had two weeks preparation and we did the best we could now we've had a strong women's eight for the last three years so it's completely different.

"It's no longer, 'We are going to an Olympics', it's 'We are going to an event to win it' - that's more of the mentality now."

Aldersey, who was named Olympia after being born on opening night of the Barcelona 1992 Olympics, said the team was excited to have the chance to win Australia's first medal in the event.

At the 2004 Olympics in Athens they were expected to challenge but Sally Robbins stopped rowing in the medal race due to exhaustion.

"Even though there's been some crew changes since the world championships it's exciting to know that if we're on pace and doing similar speed to that race, we'll be in the mix for a medal for sure," the 28-year-old South Australian said.

"It's a big thing for us to achieve from a history perspective."

But Aldersey, who won gold in the women's four at the world championships before shifting to the eight, expected the USA crew to be the one to beat.

"New Zealand seem to be tracking along quite well but the American women are really strong," she said.

"They normally kill it, and they hate being beaten so they weren't happy about losing to New Zealand and us."

Australia has also qualified a men's eight after missing Rio, with nine boats and 38 rowers heading to Tokyo.

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