No shortcuts to success. We asked our 776BC athletes Alice McNamara
and Josh Dunkley-Smith
what initially drew them to rowing and the key aspects that made it possible to represent Australia.
Josh Dunkley-Smith: Rower + Dual Olympian
I don’t think anything specific made me choose rowing, rather little things added up over time. When I started rowing at Mercantile Rowing Club, I got opportunities to row with and against some of the best in the world. I had some great nights screaming myself hoarse watching Drew Ginn and David Crawshay, both Mercantile members, win gold medals at Beijing on a projector screen at the sheds.
I loved racing, whether it was a dusty club regatta, national champs or even worlds. I never really paid much attention to who I was up against, I just tried to do my best and enjoy what I was doing. Especially at Under 23’s, when I came up against internationals for the first time I knew they were in exactly the same situation.
Alice McNamara: Rower + World Champion
I was fortunate that at my school, Loreto Mandeville Hall Toorak, rowing was the sport with the highest participation rate and had a dominant culture. At the time I was heavily involved in basketball and I enjoyed the team aspect more so than rowing. However, that all changed after the Head of the Schoolgirls Regatta. I was hooked on the intense comradery and spirit.
Finishing Year 12 is a tough time but rowing was the link to a new community and sense of direction. A few coaches at my school had links to the Melbourne University Boat Club and in 2005, TIm Dolphin coached myself and Jess Huston (WA) to a bronze medal in the LW2x at the u23 Worlds in Amsterdam. He was definitely the biggest link in my move to representing Australia. He allowed me to have a lot of input and involvement.