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Balmain, NSW Australia

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Monday Meet The Rower – Alex Smiles

Monday Meet The Rower – Alex Smiles


Alex is classified PR3  [ formerly LTA] which allows him to use his legs, trunk and arms when rowing. He is able to race in any size boat – single, double, pair, quad, four or eight – but internationally he has two boat classes he can be selected for, one the Four and the other, the Pair which was only introduced this season by FISA and we expect Australia to take up the opportunity to send a PR3 Men’s Four overseas to race. Currently the depth of elite rowing in the men’s PR3 sweep category is strong and growing weekly. Certainly within our squad we have 8 PR3 Mens sweep athletes; three experienced and racing at the elite level; two developing their skills and moving from competent to elite with the final three moving from novice to competent but all will be ready for racing next season.

Alex was classified last season and has been an integral part of our in-training men’s four. We have both a men’s four and women’s four in training with our long term aim of boating a mixed Balmain Para Program eight. At the moment we are on course to do just that come season 2018-19.

Success for Alex at his first outing

My name is Alex, and I’m studying a Bachelor of Arts full time at the University of Sydney, along with completing a Certificate IV in Web-based Technologies online. When I was 7 I was diagnosed with osteo sarcoma, spent a year in hospital undergoing chemotherapy, and had my right femur and knee joint removed and replaced with a titanium prosthesis. This prosthesis had to be replaced again when I was 13 due to an accident. During high school I took up fencing at the UNSW club, and ended up teaching fencing for a short time. I tried rowing in mid 2015 and found it highly enjoyable, but wasn’t able to commit to coming to training every Saturday. Now, in 2016, I’ve made a commitment to my own fitness, and will from this point be coming to training as frequently as possible.

Alex joined the squad in 2016 and though Uni life has clashed with rowing Alex remains a dedicated and committed member of the squad. His racing, though sporadic due to work and study, has been successful and we expect to see him sweeping down the course in our men’s four and mixed eight now in preparation and readying to race come the 2018-19 season.

Winners All

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