Rocky rowers go up against Australia's best
ROWING: GABRIELLE Davis was "over the moon” when she learned she had been selected to compete at the Sydney International Rowing Regatta next week.
Along with her fellow Rockhampton Fitzroy Rowing Club team mate, Nikeytah Hill, the pair will make the journey to Penrith on March 19 for a week of competitive rowing heats.
"I started rowing in grade seven, so I've been racing for four to five years,” Davis, 15, said.
"I started it socially in my first year and then did a few local regattas and love it.
"Then I went to my first competition and pushed further and tried to be better.”
"I row for school [Emmaus College] as well as for the club.
"The school supports us rowing and I basically row every morning and afternoon or at least once a day.”
Coming up to the regatta, Davis and Hill were training "really hard months beforehand” and will spend the next week resting in preparation for the intensive week.
"Once we get down there, it's game faces on and we'll do the best we can,” Davis said.
"It's mind over matter and knowing your body can do it... you just have to push through it and try your hardest.
"I have done so many other sports but rowing is definitely the toughest.
"You're pushed so much more and trained that much harder.”
Hill, 17, will be competing for her third time in Sydney, after five-and-a-half years of being involved in the sport.
"I love the experience of just racing, not even winning,” Hill said.
"Getting that experience and developing physically and mentally and learning how to keep pushing yourself.
"The mental side of things is the hardest but you've just got to remember what people say.
"My coach says 'you've got to push over the line' and have that mind set to keep going.”
Additionally, the girls have been selected to participate in a week-long camp, the Pilot Training Boat program, where they will join other rowers from Queensland's "pathway squad”.
The pathway squad is designed to provide young rowers with the chance to take part in the Australian Junior Rowing Team trials.
"I was absolutely excited when I heard, I screamed,” Hill said.
"Hopefully I can take it further with my rowing.”
RFRC Shed Captain, Kim Byrne, is confident the girls will make a name for themselves amongst Australia's rowing elite.
"Over the last 12 months, they've improved sensationally,” Byrne said.
"If they get through to the semis and a final, it'll just be magical for them.”