28 April 2008

The University of Queensland Boat Club (UQBC) are set for grand representation on the international stage this year following announcements for the Senior Olympic team and the Australian Under 23 and Junior teams.

Queensland athletes provide a significant share of national teams in 2008 with UQBC at the heart, providing two of three Queenslanders to represent Australia in rowing at the Olympics this year.

Sam Conrad will become Australia’s first third-generation Olympian when he lines up in the men’s eight in Beijing.

His father Tim rowed at the Montreal Games in 1976, while his grandfather, Maurice Grace, competed at the 1956 Games in Melbourne.

Having rowed in multiple World Championships, Sally Kehoe will now get the chance to compete in her first Olympic Games as part of the women’s eight crew.

Duncan Free will row alongside Mr Conrad in the men’s eight, with Queenslander Pippa Savage hoping to qualify in the single scull at a qualification regatta in mid-June.

Many of the young guns of UQBC have excelled at recent trials and gained selection in the national U23 and Junior squads, a feat of which UQBC President Hardy Cubasch is very proud.

“It’s tremendous news,” Mr Cubasch said.

“This year the club will have nine athletes and two coaches representing their country at World Championship level.”

The Australian Selection Trials for the U23 and Junior Australian crews wrapped up last Sunday (April 13), with team announcements made last week.

Jared Bidwell and Blair Brown were selected in the U23 men’s quad and are recognised as Australia’s number one and two U23 scullers.

Henry Bryan has been selected in the U23 men’s lightweight quad and Kim Brown in the U23 women’s double.

UQBC will dominate the Junior men’s quad with three men making the crew: John Trovas, Chris Anderson and Scott Laidler.

Recognition extended beyond the rowers with UQBC Head Coach Lincoln Handley named coach of the men’s U23 quad and UQBC U19 Coach Andy Cruickshank named coach of the men’s Junior quad.

Hardy Cubasch said he was pleased to see the new generation within the club striving to new heights.

“It is very encouraging to see so many great results being driven forward by the new generation of the club’s elite athletes,” Mr Cubasch said.

“Congratulations must go to Andy for being selected in his first Australian team and Lincoln for having athletes chosen across three different categories.”

The U23 crews will compete in the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Brandenburg, Germany from July 17-20 with approximately 40 countries and 600 athletes competing.

The Junior crew will compete in the World Rowing Junior Championships in Linz, Austria from July 22-27.

The Junior Championships will see the launch of a number of future stars and is the biggest regatta for juniors with many competitors rowing internationally for the first time.

Media: Stephen Dankert at UQ Sport 07 3346 7520 or stephend@uqsport.uq.edu.au