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Row, row, row your boat - all the way to the Olympics!

Western Plains App

Kristin Murdock

09 July 2024, 7:40 AM

Row, row, row your boat - all the way to the Olympics!Jack Hargreaves and Jack O'Brien, both from the Western Plains, have made it into the Olympic rowing squad.

As reported by the Western Plains App recently [Narromine student off to the Paris Olympics,] young Callum Hutchinson is off to Paris as an Australian youth ambassador at the Olympics which start on July 26th.


Callum is one of six Aussie youths to be chosen for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity following his involvement in the Rugby Creates Chances program.


But he's not the only Western Plains athlete heading to Paris for the historic 33rd Olympics.

Jack O'Brien from Walgett and Jack Hargreaves from Nyngan have both made the cut and both in the sport of rowing.


Australian rowers first appeared at an Olympics in 1912, and then every Games since, meaning Paris 2024 will mark 100 years of Australian rowing’s continuous participation in the Olympic rowing regatta.


Joseph ‘Jack’ O’Brien from Walgett has won a place on Men's eight rowing team. Born in Dubbo and raised in Walgett, Jack competed for NSW at a youth level in his chosen sport. Jack spent 2019 as part of the men’s four, claimed gold at the World Rowing Cups II and III before qualifying for Tokyo at the World Championships.


By the time of the delayed Tokyo Olympic Games were held, Joseph was selected in the men’s eight instead of the four.

The Australian crew came fourth in both their heat and semi-final, to qualify for the A-Final and give themselves a shot at gold. However, a disappointing start to the final gave their opposition a head start they couldn't come back from.

Throughout 2024, Jack, now 26 years old, has continued to train and compete in the men's eight. He featured in the crew's fourth place finish at the World Rowing Cup II in May.

Walgett's Jack O'Brien


Fellow Western Plains local, Jack Hargreaves' journey from the small town of Nyngan to Olympic gold medalist is one of dedication and resilience.

Jack was a talented rugby player and originally only committed to rowing in summer to keep fit. Following high school, Jack elected to pursue rowing instead of rugby, joining Sydney University’s Boat Club. In 2019, Jack helped the men's four to qualification for the Tokyo Games, through strong performances at the World Rowing Championships.


Alongside rowers Alexander Purnell, Spencer Turrin and Alexander Hill, Jack won gold at the Tokyo Games. This year, Jack and his fellow Tokyo gold medallists Alexander Purnell and Spencer Turrin were added to the men's eight team to try and win an elusive first gold for Australia in the event. On the announcement of his place in this year's Olympic squad, Jack, who is studying a Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology, said he was excited to make the trip to Paris.


"I can't wait to make some good memories with everyone," Jack said. "If you go well it's great, but its more about the time we spend together."

Nyngan's Jack Hargreaves


The Australian Olympic Committee has selected a 37-strong team across nine boats to contest the Olympic rowing regatta at the Vaires-sur-Marne Nautical Stadium in Paris.

Rowing Australia Chief Executive Sarah Cook, who rowed for Australia at the 2008 and 2012 Games, said being selected for the Team was the ultimate reward after years of dedication, focus and commitment.


“Our rowers train three times a day, six days a week, and commit themselves above and beyond, all with the goal of having their name on the Australian Olympic Team,’ Ms Cook said.

“On behalf of everyone at Rowing Australia, I offer my sincere congratulations and know they will do themselves, their family and their country proud in Paris.”

The Olympic rowing schedule runs from the 27th of July to August 3rd, so keep an eye out for our local heroes!