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Zoe McKellar meets USA


Aussie U23 Triallists at Princeton Boathouse


Two rowers from our club, Zoe McKellar and Emily Shepherd were invited to attend the US-based U23 women's team trials to be held at Princeton in May-June.

The initial intention was to select a women's eight from the eleven women asked to trials. For these US-based trials, three rowers were from Australia and eight were from US colleges.

Zoe Mckellar gives her account of traveling to the US to try for the U23 team. In the end, a decision was made to send a four instead of an eight so Zoe along with six others did not get to fulfill her dream to make the U23 team. Here is her account.


"After rare circumstances occurring at the U23 Australian team selection trials in March, I was fortunate enough to be invited to trial in Princeton for the US-based U23 Australian team.


Returning from Nationals at the end of March, myself and fellow pair partner, Emily Sheppard continued the gruelling training over the next seven weeks prior to departing for the US.


Arriving at Princeton University in late May, we met with the ten other trialists and coach, Annabelle Eaton. Over the next two weeks, we took part in a training camp that involved rotational crew rows in a variety of boat classes, along with cross-training sessions on the erg and bike. Over these two weeks, combinations were established to help find the fastest crew prior to selections. Some challenges were met over this period which involved adjusting the stroke to find a middle ground between the “Aussie way”, a more technical stroke, compared to the “US way”, a power-prioritised stroke. Despite these differences, we were all keen to make changes and adapt to make the combination as fast as possible in the short time we had.

Prior to the trial week, there was talk of targeting either an 8+ or 4+ which would be decided based on the results over the upcoming week. We began trial process with a 2km ergo test followed by three days of seat racing in coxed fours. In the end, Rowing Australia decided to take a coxed four. Unfortunately, I was not successful in the selection process, however I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity and made several new friendships and memories throughout the journey. This great learning experience has only fuelled my ambition to make a team in 2024."



U23 Women trialling in the eight at Princeton


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