Birthdate25 Sep 1995
Rising Star – September 2017
At nearly 22 years of age, Australia’s Robert Black has a lot to look forward to. He has shown talent in sculling and sweep rowing and is a two-time under-23 World Champion. This year, he set a new under-23 World Best Time in the men’s four at 5:50.16 along with his crewmates.
A September’s Rising Star, Robert shares his love of rowing, motivations and dreams.
Rowing is the sport that suits me best because… I’m a morning person and there’s no better way to watch the sun rise than by getting some serious work done on the water with your mates. I love being a part of a team and working together to make extraordinary things happen.
I like sculling because… of the freedom it gives you in the single and you can directly see what effect a technical change or focus has on the boat. In bigger boats I love the punchy dynamic feel of the boats up at race pace.
I like sweep rowing because… of the team aspect. This year Liam Donald (my pair partner) and I wouldn’t have gone very far if we rowed differently to each other. I liked the give and take partnership that it forces you into. Also I really enjoyed having someone there to pick me up when I was low and share the experience with me when we were on top of the world.
My favourite rowing memory so far… winning gold in 2016 and 2017 in the quad and four. It’s not every day you get to hear your national anthem played at a world stage and I’ve been lucky enough to hear it twice! Another one is when I was in year 7 at school and watching my school’s first eights race at the Head of The River. That was the day I fell in love with the sport.
The qualities I most appreciate in my teammates are… being able to talk openly about training racing and preparing for a World Champs. Being on the same page I think is really important to success. Plus, a good sense of humour. You can find some pretty dark places during training and racing and if you can enjoy that then that’s half the battle won.
Antonio Maurogiovanni… has coached me internationally for the last three years and he has many quotes and sayings but my favourite would have to be “Happy but not satisfied”. He said it throughout the whole campaign this year and even after breaking the World’s Best Time in semi-final of the under-23 men’s four he reminded us that we still had a job to do.
My goal in rowing is… to become an Olympic Champion.
My least favourite training session… Erg sessions. I am so thankful that in Australia we can row all year round and don’t have to be relegated to the erg for months on end.
My favourite training session is… race work in big boats. There’s just so much energy and excitement during those sessions. The hot-lap paddle before a regatta is up there as well. Great way to settle the nerves and get ready to race.
On the erg, my best score so far is… 6:06 for 2km.
My most difficult race so far was… the final of the under-23 quad in 2016 because of how close the final stages were. We led from start to finish but the Kiwis came flying home in the final 250m. We hung on by 0.4 seconds in the end and I was absolutely spent!
What I learnt most from competing at junior/under23 level is that… anything can happen and just because you’ve beaten a country in earlier stages of racing it’s not a guarantee that you’ll beat them again. I leant that the hard way at the juniors in 2013. We won our heat comfortably then finished the regatta coming eleventh.
My non-rowing friends think that rowing is… all I talk about. It’s just such a big part of my life that I can’t help but ramble on from time to time.
When I am not rowing I’m… going out for coffee, lunch or dinner with friends and family. I come from a pretty big family so just hanging out at home is pretty eventful. I love getting out on my bike as well. It’s my ‘me time’ where I do lots of my thinking.
My biggest strength is… my love for racing. I’m always happy and smiling at training and around the boat park, but as soon as it’s time to race I’ll do anything to get my bow ball in front.
A weakness I would prefer not having is… my erg scores aren’t where I would like them to be. Also a few extra inches in height would not go astray either.
In my fridge, you will always find… chocolate! The new Cadbury Milk & Dark chocolate is my current go-to pick.
If I could change one thing about the world it would be… to have a light puff of tail-wind everywhere I rowed.
If I could have dinner with any three people in the world they would be… Connor McGregor, Roger Federer and my Pop (grandfather). McGregor and Federer because they’ve both been/are the worlds best in their disciplines yet carry themselves in such different ways and I think it would be an interesting evening. My third choice is my Pop and namesake. He died before I was born and all my relatives tell me that we are very similar people.
If I could have a super-power it would be… telepathy and mind control because the mind is stronger than the body.