Launceston rowers Henry Youl and Ciona Wilson off to Penrith

Uncharted waters: Launceston rower Ciona Wilson training on the Tamar River and hoping for a national call-up. Pictures: Rob Shaw
Uncharted waters: Launceston rower Ciona Wilson training on the Tamar River and hoping for a national call-up. Pictures: Rob Shaw

Henry Youl and Ciona Wilson are hoping their senior international rowing careers will begin with an invitation to the mainland later this month.

The Tamar rowers are both training under Tasmanian Institute of Sport rowing program coordinator Brendan Long seeking invites to National Training Centre testing camps in Penrith (for women) and Canberra (men).

While fellow TIS scholarship holder Blair Tunevitsch has been down the road before en route to becoming a 2011 world champion, for his clubmates the opportunity would be a significant step up the rowing ladder.

Nothing to lose: "I feel I might as well give it a crack," said Henry Youl.

Nothing to lose: "I feel I might as well give it a crack," said Henry Youl.

Youl has made the transition from juniors having twice rowed coxed fours at under-23 world championships, finishing third in Rotterdam last year and fifth in Plovdiv earlier this year.

“There’s definitely unfinished business. I want to be a world champion,” said the 21-year-old wholesaler storeperson

“I just want to keep making the Australian team and hopefully get into NTC.

“​We’ve got a really good group here and love getting out there and tearing it up. It’s fun and having such a good sparring group helps you get a little bit more out of yourself and that’s where the improvement comes.”

Double act: Henry Youl and Blair Tunevitsch on the Tamar River.

Double act: Henry Youl and Blair Tunevitsch on the Tamar River.

Wilson, 25, is targeting Australia’s women’s pair, four or eight with the four the only women’s heavyweight event on the Olympic program.

“I feel I’m on target to make the NTC,” said the disability support worker. 

“It’s just a matter of performing when I need to in order to get selected. If I do, I would have to relocate to Penrith which I would be happy to do because the program has been quite successful and is a great environment with other girls to compete against.

“Here I’m the only female among this group but that’s good because if I can keep up with the boys it must be making me row faster.”

Both Launceston Church Grammar School products have their long-term sights set on the 2020 Olympics.

“I’d like to think I can make Tokyo. There are people my age at the NTC and there’s still three years to go but that will go pretty quickly,” Youl said. “I feel I might as well give it a crack because I’ve got nothing to lose.

“The Olympic Games is obviously the pinnacle and I will keep trying to make it either until I do or I get too old.”