When Dungog's Spencer Turrin took up rowing as a school boy in 2006, little did he know he would be heading to the Olympic Games 10 years later.
Turrin is not sure if he will be competing in the pairs or fours, but has definitely got a spot on the team for the August Rio de Janerio games.
Born and bred in Dungog, Spencer started rowing as a student at St Joseph’s College Hunters Hill.
“I did alright at school, but gave it up for 12 months when I finished, but realised how much I missed it and went back,” he said.
“For the last four to five years I have been working towards the Rio games and am currently based in Canberra training with the team.
“We will head to Sydney next weekend for the Kings Cup 8 at Penrith and the Australian National Championships.
“Ideally I would like to compete in the fours at Rio because I have been working towards that for the past three years, but I may compete in the pairs.
“Either way it doesn’t matter, as I’m thrilled the hard work has paid off and I’m heading to the games.”
Following the Sydney competition, Turrin will head to Europe with the rowing team for more competition and training.
He will fly to Rio the week prior to the games beginning for practise.
“I’ve been training pretty solidly since being in camp in Canberra, so am hoping to do well in Rio,” he said.
It’s been 40 years since Dungog has produced an Olympian, with Kevin Bacon riding his horse Chichester at the 1964, 1968 and 1976 games.
Success after success
In 2010 Turrin won silver at the Australian Youth Cup in the eight and the coxless fours and bonze in the coxless pair.
The following year he won silver at the Australian Rowing Championships in the Interstate Men’s Youth eight.
Turrin teamed up with Alex Lloyd in the coxless pair in 2012 and both were offered scholarships to the Australian Institute of Sport.
They continued to row in a coxless pair and won silver at the national championships in 2012.
The pair were then selected to row in Australia’s second coxless fours at the Rowing World Cup 1 in Sydney where they won a silver medal.
At the following national selection trials Turrin and Lloyd won the coxless pairs and were selected into the Australian coxless fours which is Australia’s priority boat.
The crew won gold at the World Cup at Eton Dorney in 2013.
At the world championships the same year they crew was placed second in Chungju, South Korea.
In 2014 the duo won the champion pair of NSW, the champion four of NSW and the King’s Cup and the World Cup 1 in Sydney, rowed in the winning Australian coxless four and the winning Australian eight.
At the Australian Rowing Championships they placed second in the coxless pair then went on to earn the number one ranking in the coxless pair and coxless four at the selection trials.
In the final of the 2014 World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam, their coxless four won the bronze medal.
At the World Rowing Championships in Aigbuillette France they placed second behind Italy.