IT’S hard to imagine Kinross Wolaroi rower Daniel Whitehead, at 200 centimetres tall, not being the tallest member of the 2012 junior men’s quadruple scull crew set to head to Plovdiv, Bulgaria, for the Junior World Championships.
This year’s crew, though, is genuinely the land of the giants.
One quarter of a new-look crew Whitehead describes as scary, the 18-year-old will join fellow six-footers Riley Lum (South Australia), Luke Letcher (ACT) and Harry Jones (Queensland) in the Australian Junior Men’s Quadruple Scull team.
“Our quad is pretty strong this year. The average height is 205 centimetres. That makes me about the third tallest in the team,” Whitehead laughed.
“It’s pretty scary stuff.”
Scary as it may be, height will be a massive advantage for Whitehead and the Australian team come August when they take on the world’s best young rowers in Bulgaria.
“You’ve got longer leavers. You can row a longer stroke and get more force through the water which sends the boat further. It’s definitely a big advantage being tall,” he said.
It’s the second year running Whitehead has won selection in the Australian junior team.
At last year’s world titles in England, the Australians finished second in the B final.
Whitehead is the only member of last year’s quad scull crew to again make the cut a year on.
So of the four heading to Bulgaria in August, nobody is qualified more than Whitehead in knowing what it’s going to take to win.
“We’re taking little steps. First win states, nationals and then take out worlds, hopefully. We’ve got the potential in our boat to win it. Overall it’s a lot stronger team,” he said.
“[Gold] has been my goal all year.”
To win that gold medal Whitehead and the team, from all parts of the country, will be put through three 10-day camps before travelling to Italy for another camp two weeks prior to the start of the World Championships in eastern Europe.
He said over the 2000 metres, a sub six-minute time will get the Australian side on the podium in Bulgaria.
“To win gold it’s about 5.55, well it was last year,” Whitehead said.
“I’ve heard a lot from New Zealand, my coach is a New Zealander and he said they’ve got a pretty competitive quad going. Any country can put a good team together, it comes down to whoever is better on the day.”
The Junior World Championships begin on August 15.