'Motley crew' ready to rock London
THEY might call themselves the "motley crew", but after coming together less than two months ago Australia's women's eight combination has qualified for the Olympics.
The combination continued its fairytale run by winning the final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Switzerland overnight on Tuesday.
It became the 11th Australian boat to qualify for London, the other 10 booking their places through strong performances at the 2011 World Rowing Championships in Slovenia.
One of the members of the women's eight, Sally Kehoe from Toowoomba, said the fact the crew had ony just started rowing together made it a totally different scenario to her Olympic debut in the eights in Beijing.
The 25-year-old also said while it was an incredible thrill to qualify for London, it was just the start of the really hard work.
"It's a very different feeling to four years ago," Kehoe said.
"This time round we have really earned our position and fought to be here.
"We haven't been a priority boat, but being the underdog is working for us so far."
Speaking after the win, women's eight coach Nick Garratt said the crew would now race at a World Cup meeting also in Lucerne this weekend. Garratt said that despite the obvious joy within the group, the important thing was to get in as much racing as possible.
"We'll head to Lake Spach for some long easy kilometres tomorrow before returning to prepare for the World Cup," he said.
He also said it had been a phenomenal effort.
Two more crews had the chance to qualify for the Olympics in finals held last night. Kim Crow was one of the favourites in the women's single scull, while the lightweight men's double scull crew of Tasmanian Tom Gibson and Rod Chisholm from New South Wales were also a strong chance.