David Sain, Damir Martin and Valent and Martin Sinkovic realised they moved the boat well together.

As two doubles, Martin and Valent Sinkovic raced Sain and Martin at the first World Cup of 2009. They finished third and fourth. The four of them then joined together in a quad and fronted up at the second World Rowing Cup of 2009 as unknowns. Their race will go down in history. This crew of under-23 year olds had beaten the World and Olympic Champions, Poland.

“Since that win the Olympic Games became our goal,” says Martin. “But we have had steps along the way – World Cups, World Championships.”

The crew members have been recruited at various times by United States universities and they chose not to go as, they say, “because of our training, we wanted to prepare for the Olympics.”

Coming from a country with few rowers the quad remained stable as no other rower was able to press to get on the team and the line up remained the same through to these Olympic Games. Along the way the crew ticked off all of their goals. In 2009 they became the World Under-23 Champions. A year later they were the Under-23 and senior World Champions. The senior World Champion title was a first for Croatian rowing.

All four members are full-time athletes but as part of the Croatian army. As athletes they do not have to participate in army activities but occasionally they put on the uniform for photo promotions.

The crew often trains in doubles or singles with Valent usually the quickest in the single. Leading up to these Olympic Games they went on a training camp with Slovenia, rowing against the great Slovenian double, Iztok Cop and Luka Spik.

They came to London on the back of an unbeaten season and the crew are ready to put it all into place for the final. The men’s quadruple sculls final is due to be raced at 11:30am (GMT), Friday 3 August at Eton Dorney.