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Crow starts four-year solo row to Rio

22 March 2013

ROWING: For London Games rowing star Kim Crow, every race matters on her four-year solo journey to Rio and she isn't wasting any opportunity while most rivals and teammates rest up at the start of the Olympic cycle.

Rowing Australia's poster girl, Crow is also the leading attraction at the first World Cup regatta to be held Down Under, on Penrith's Nepean River this weekend.

The 27-year-old is one of only 17 London Olympians, from a 44-strong Australian squad, backing up at the Sydney International Regatta Centre as she solely focuses on mastering the smallest and most challenging boat in the sport - the single scull.

Crow took bronze in the single in London, only 10 weeks after experimenting in the boat when her double sculls crewmate Brooke Pratley was injured.

The former Melbourne hurdler was the first rower in 20 years to win medals in both the single and double at an Olympics after she and Pratley also won silver.

While the women who beat her in both events aren't competing this year, Crow is back in the boat training as hard as ever.

"I didn't want to take the year off because I wanted to continue the momentum that I was building up in the single and feel as though I have a lot to learn," she told AAP.

"I need the whole four years to learn about the boat and learn about myself in rowing this boat.

"It's a different challenge to crew-boats."

Australia's chance to host a historic World Cup regatta, as world body FISA attempt to globalise the sport and stretch it beyond its European stronghold, is also a major motivating factor as she lines up as favourite in a solid 11-boat field.

"It's such an exciting carrot to have," Crow said. "I would love more than anything else to win here."

Crow successfully rid herself of post-Olympic cobwebs by comfortably taking out the national title at the final of the single sculls at the Australian championships on Thursday.

South Australians Bryn Coudraye and James McRae also showed their World Cup credentials with a dominant win in the men's pair over Josh Dunkley-Smith and Josh Booth.

The main focus for Crow and all rowers in 2013 will be the world championships in South Korea in August and most European nations have shown a disregard for the first World Cup regatta by failing to send teams to Sydney.

It's hit the regatta hard in some events with only three boats entered in the men's four - Australia, New Zealand and Britain - while just four have entered the men's pair, quad and eight.

"Getting out to Australia from Europe does seem like a logistical nightmare but it is something that the Kiwis, Australians and Chinese do every year - we go to Europe and make it work," Crow said.

Jim Morton

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