Rupert Guinness at Champion Lakes Regatta Centre

Jack Hargreaves OAM was back where he feels he belongs on Friday, the day after placing third in the final of the Open Men’s Single Scull Final at the Australian Rowing Championships (ARC) at the Champion Lakes Regatta Centre in Perth. 

He was in the Coxless Four boat. And on top of the podium.

Hargreaves (Sydney University-NSWIS) is regarded as a sweep oar rower rather than a sculler, even though he went into Thursday’s Single Scull Final as the defending champion.

After losing his crown to Caleb Antill (UNA-ACTHP) – a pure sculler – Hargreaves (University of Sydney/NSWIS) focused on the Coxless Four in which he won Olympic Gold in Tokyo with Alex Purnell OAM, Alex Hill OAM and Spencer Turrin OAM.

On Friday, Hargreaves, a 2023 Australian Rowing Team (ART) team member, raced with the Sydney University crew that won the final with Purnell, Jackson Kench (ART member) and William O’Shannessy.

Hargreaves will then finish his racing campaign at Champion Lakes on Sunday, rowing in the NSW Men’s Coxed Eight crew vying for the King’s Cup.

However, before switching mindset from small to big boats, he still pledged to use his set back in the scull as “a bit of fuel for next year … to put a bit more effort into [the scull event] and try to win it back in my last year, get it back off Caleb … “

Before “next year” there is also the goal of winning in the Australian Four at the 2023 World Rowing Championships at Belgrade, Serbia in September, which has extra cache as nations seek to qualify their boats for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris.

Hargreaves is cognisant of the pressure on the Australian Four to back up their success in Tokyo. And after slipping a peg with a Silver Medal in the event at last year’s world titles, he says they are reading to step back up to where they left in Japan.

And the world titles in Belgrade is the regatta to do it.

There is also the Australian crew’s ambition to emulate the success of the Oarsome Foursome, who won Olympic gold in 1992 and 1996 in a memorable era that saw Great Britain go on to dominate Olympic competition, winning Gold in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016.

Hargreaves says today’s Australian Four taps into the history created by the Oarsome Foursome – and their counsel.

“It was good to get it back for Australia,” he said. “The hard thing now is … everyone can win once, but to win twice…”