Five boys from St Augustine’s College have rowed their way into the coxed four final of the World Junior Rowing Championships Varese, Italy.
The crew of Brandon Smith, Oliver St Pierre, Joe Lynch, Josh Wilson and cox Ryder Taylor dominated their opponents in the heat, beating South Africa by a full three seconds.
The Saints crew – which is representing Australia after many months training without the new boats, large coaching teams and sheds full of equipment common at elite GPS schools – powered home in a time of 6:19.09 to finish as the A Final’s top seed.
There are only 40 boys in the rowing program at St Augustine’s who get by with second-hand boats and old oars, whiling borrowing equipment from other schools and clubs.
Training is up to eight sessions per week, the boys rising at 4:30am and rowing before school. In the afternoon they train until the sun goes down.
The coxed fours team have been doing this for two years.
Australia’s cox, Taylor, is just 13 years old.
Five minutes after Taylor piloted his team to a win, his counterpart for Turkey, cox Ege Buyukcetin helped his team post a time of 6:19.59 – just half a second behind Australia.
Both crews progressed directly to Sunday’s final and look the standout one and two seeds.
Buyukcetin took silver in this boat class at the 2021 World Rowing Junior Championships and will be looking to go one better this year.
The final will be rowed on Sunday at 7:55pm Sydney time and can be viewed via live-stream at the Rowing World Championship website.