Launceston rower Ciona Wilson has claimed a bronze medal at the Rowing World Championships.
The 26-year-old’s podium finish in the women’s eight adds to a silver won by Huon’s Sarah Hawe in the women’s four a day earlier in the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv.
A fourth generation member of Tamar Rowing Club who has spent half her life rowing, Wilson follows the success of clubmates Ingrid Fenger, Carly Cottam, Ali Foot, Blair Tunevitsch and dual Olympian Brendan Long.
Wilson was in a women’s eight crew also featuring NSW quartet Leah Saunders, Georgina Gotch, Georgina Rowe and Emma Fessey plus Victorian Rosemary Popa, Queenslander Jacinta Edmunds and Annabelle McIntyre, of Western Australia.
The crew took a canvas lead at the 500 metres and at the halfway point had dropped to second.
The US seized control of the race and surged to gold while Canada overtook the Australians to claim silver.
A former Launceston Church Grammar student, Wilson relocated to the women’s national training centre at Penrith earlier this year to pursue her rowing dream.
“I’ve been rowing for 13 years and I just turned 26 so half my life. That’s a long time to be going backwards. But I would not change anything,” she told The Examiner in August.
“I’ve made a lot of life-long friends, learned lessons about discipline and perseverance. I think it’s a very character-building sport. But it’s not for everyone.
“I’ve learned a lot this year. I’ve learned that international racing is not dissimilar to domestic racing just a lot faster.
“I’ve also learned that racing is actually quite fun and gets funner the higher up you go.”
Seeking to retain the world title they had won in 2017, Hawe, 31, teamed up with Victorians Lucy Stephan and Katrina Werry plus Molly Goodman, of South Australia.
Coached by Tom Westgarth, the Australians had a good start chasing the USA with the Danes and Poland hot on their heels.
In the final 500 metres, Goodman upped the Australians’ rating to 41 in a bid to catch the USA while also facing a challenge from the Russians. The Australians held off the Russian charge but could not catch the Americans.
“It was a tough race and it’s great to see how much the competition has stepped up since last year,” Stephan said.
“I’m really proud of the girls and credit to the USA for how they raced.
“This is only the second year of the Olympiad and, ultimately, we’re building towards Tokyo.”