A TOP two finish in the World Cup rowing event in Lucerne by the Australian women’s eight, which will include Manning product Tess Gerrand, will secure the crew a place in the London Olympics.
Gerrand will row in the three seat in the eight. The 24-year-old is now based in Sydney after returning to Australia from the US where she attended Yale University while also rowing in their women’s eight.
“It’s all pretty exciting,’’ Gerrand said this week.
And it’s all happened pretty quickly. Rowing Australia hadn’t supported a women’s eight for three years. However, there was a re-think three weeks before the Australian titles held in Perth in March. Rowers were informed that providing times pairs crews were good enough, Rowing Australia would put together an eight to train for London.
Gerrand excelled at the nationals, winning the women’s elite double scull with Monique Heinke while she also finished third in the elite pair. Gerrand also rowed in the winning elite four while she was a member of the NSW eight that finished fourth in the interstate Queens Cup.
She was then named in a squad of 10 to train for Switzerland and after trials held at Penrith last weekend she was informed she had a seat in the eight. All 10 members will head to Europe next month.
Gerrand admits she thought her Olympic hopes were shot after she missed a spot in the Olympic sculling squad last December. It was then she decided to row in the pair ‘to have a bit of fun and record some good times.’
“Luckily I did,’’ she said.
However, Gerrand has had extensive experience and success in Yale’s women’s eight in the US.
But the Australians still have a lot of work to do yet before they line up in London. Gerrand explained they’ll have to finish in the top two in the qualifying regatta in Lucerne to be rowed from May 20-23 to make the cut.
She expects the Chinese and Germans to be the main opposition.
“The Chinese finished sixth at the Olympic qualification regatta while the Germans usually have a strong crew,’’ she said.
“Ukraine is another to have qualifications,”she said.
However, Gerrand said the Australians have improved their times considerably in the reasonably short time they’ve been together.
There’s plenty of experience in the squad and Gerrand believes they’ll be able to clock even a quicker time when it counts next month.
If successful Gerrand will be the first Manning River Rowing Club product to gain Olympic selection.