Nick Wheatley and Jack Hargreaves were selected in April as the U23 Australian Pair for 2014. Last week at the World U23 Championships this crew rowed a great regatta to grab the silver medal. This report is from SUBC Coach Mark Prater who coached this crew through the last year.
The U23 World Rowing Champs finished up here in Varese, Italy on Sunday and the Australian Team achieved 4 medals (2 silver and 2 bronze) for the regatta.
One of the Silver medals was won by the Men’s Coxless Pair of Nick Wheatley and Jack Hargreaves, both from Sydney University Boat Club (and both former EAPS scholarship holders).
Nick and Jack won their heat on Thursday in the 2nd fastest time overall behind the Italian pair, and so progressed straight to the semifinal on Saturday. The semi was a tight race – our boys got to the lead by early in the 2nd quarter and held this almost until the line, when the Serbians and the Turks decided to sprint hard to the finish line. The Aussie crew chose to save energy for the final the next day and finished in 3rd to progress to the A final. This put them in an outside lane for the big one, but we were confident of being able to challenge for the win.
he final was a great race, with the Italians jumping out to the lead, but Australia only 0.5 sec back at 500m. Our plan was to push hard thru the middle 1000m of the race and we did this perfectly and hit the lead after 600m. Our effort dragged Italy with us and these two crews stretched away from the rest of the field. We knew we had to have almost a length lead on Italy with 500m to go if we were to hold off their big sprint finish. We managed to build a lead of around 1 sec, but this was not enough. Italy turned on the power with 500m to go and we could not match them for speed. Italy went on to win by a little over a length and the Australians clearly in 2nd, with the Serbians in 3rd.
12 months ago when Nick and Jack were at the U23 Worlds for the first time in the Men’s Eight and finished 10th overall, we set a goal of going back the following year in a pair and winning a medal. The fact that they have worked so hard for 12 months and achieved their goal is a credit to their drive and determination.
The guys had their best race ever in the final on Sunday and got the most out of themselves.
This is a terrific result for Nick and Jack, for SUBC, SUSF, NSW and Australia.