The Australian Men's Four overcame a late setback to win the final of their event in the Olympic Qualification regatta in Poznan, Poland at around 6.40 pm Sydney time. With earlier wins in the Women's single sculls and a second in the Women's double sculls Australia has now become the first nation to qualify for every boat at an Olympics since qualification was introduced.
The Men's Four were hot favourites to qualify following their spectacular victory at the World Cup in Lucerne two weeks ago but when bowman Matt Ryan awoke yesterday morning with a severe stomach upset and was declared unfit to row with only a few hours to race time there was naturally concern in the crew.
Fortunately the two sweep reserves were on hand and Coach Tim Conrad arranged a late medical substitution with Terrence Alfred coming into the bow seat in place of Matt.
The crew and the sub handled the situation professionally and led all the way through the race.
Francis Hegerty when called said " We've had a very stressful morning over here. Fortunately we had the reserves on hand and Terrence did a great job filling on for Matt." Coach (and 1976 SUBC Olympian) Tim Conrad characterized it as a " hard day at the office" and " not bad for a last minute crew change.
Following their success the four now returns to Australia to begin their final Olympic preparations. In one of the toughest classes of boat the Aus Men's Four now has a real chance at an Olympic final and a medal - we wish them the best.
The conclusion of the Olympic qualification regatta sees a total Aussie team of 48 rowers , six of whom are Sydney University Rowing members along with coaches Andrew Randell ( former SUBC Coach) and Tim Conrad ( SUBC Olympian '76).