Free racing again at Australian trials
A tough four days of trials saw the return of Olympic Champion Duncan Free, the continuing bid to be the best by Drew Ginn and the domination amongst the women scullers of Kim Crow at the first round of Australian national team trials for the 2012 Olympic season.
The trials started with a 5km time trial in small boats on the Nepean River, just near the Sydney International Regatta Course. Drew Ginn and partner Joshua Dunkley Smith won the men’s pair time trial and then went on to also finish first in the 2km race, also in the pair, on the Olympic regatta course.
Ginn’s 2008 Olympic Champion partner, Free used these trials to signal his return to top rowing following a bicycle accident seven months ago that prevented him from competing in the 2011 season. Free, 38, broke his leg in many places in the accident and his rehabilitation has seen his ability to row coming before his ability to walk freely. The accident was such that one of Free’s legs is now 2.6cm shorter than the other. This has meant an adjustment to how Free’s feet are set up in each boat that he rows.
Free found himself near the back of the field in the 5km time trial but for the 2km he was just off the leaders’ pace of James McRae and Karsten Fosterling. Free is targeting the men’s four as the boat he would like to compete in at the 2012 London Olympics and over the final two days of trials Free raced in various fours combinations, each competing over the 2000m distance. When Free teamed up with Ginn (and Dunkley-Smith and Nick Purnell), the crew finished a credible third.
After the trials Free commented that although he would have liked to do better, considering his last seven months, he was confident that he was on track to work back into the Olympic team.
Kim Crow was the only rower to win all of her races, including team boat combinations. Crow, a silver medallist from the 2010 and 2011 World Rowing Championships in the double, had this success despite not being able to race with her doubles partner, Kerry Hore who is recovering from surgery.
The 2008 Olympic Champion from the men’s double sculls, David Crawshay won the men’s single and then continued to show good form when he rotated through different doubles combinations. When Crawshay paired with his 2008 doubles partner, Scott Brennan the duo easily won.
Hannah Every-Hall led the way for the lightweight women winning the single. Every-Hall raced this year in the lightweight women’s double sculls where she finished fifth at the World Rowing Championships with Alice McNamara. McNamara was second.