Chasing London dreams

Australia’s quad scull crew (from left) Amy Ives, Sarah Cook, Brooke Pratley and Sally Kehoe.
Australia’s quad scull crew (from left) Amy Ives, Sarah Cook, Brooke Pratley and Sally Kehoe. Antonio Bassi

A TOP-seven finish will be the first aim of Toowoomba's Sally Kehoe when she launches her 2011 World Rowing Championship campaign on Sunday.

Kehoe will make her sixth senior world titles appearance in the stroke seat of Australia's quad scull boat when the championship heats get underway on Lake Bled in Slovenia.

The 25-year-old will team with Sarah Cook (ACT) and New South Wales pair Amy Ives and Brooke Pratley.

More than 1200 athletes from 68 nations are set to compete at the eight-day regatta.

While Kehoe and her team battle for medals during next week's event a lofty finish also carries a huge incentive for competitors.

The top-seven quad boats at the championships qualify for next year's London Olympic Games.

“Our qualification is top seven, so if we make the final that will be automatic qualification,” Kehoe said this week from Slovenia.

“The field is showing a lot of depth so that will be our first challenge and a good one at that.”

The Aussie quad boat has performed below expectations during the world championship build-up but Kehoe is confident her crew has the ability to lift on Sunday.

“We were very disappointed with the Henley Royal Regatta and the Lucerne World Cups,” Kehoe said.

“Our last-minute preparations didn't go to plan as one of the crew members had been out of the boat for five weeks and we bought her back in two days before racing began.

“We struggled with combination and rhythm and unfortunately just had to race like that and get the most out of it.

“It was far from ideal, but I think some great lessons were learnt from the whole experience.”

Kehoe, who has competed internationally in single and double sculls, and was a part of Australia's eight crew at the Beijing Olympics, assumes a new boat seat during the championships.

“Our crew has changed a lot in the past seven weeks,” Kehoe explained.

“We have been able to get consistent training in and we have also had a crew seating change.

“I have been moved into the stroke seat and I'm feeling a lot more comfortable and confident in that position.

“We are hoping to execute races now to same the quality of our training.

“I believe if we are able to do that successfully we will be in a very competitive position.”

The heat-winning boat moves to Thursday's final while repechages will be contested on Monday.

Topics:  slovenia titles

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