OARSMAN Tom Swann will be the first Ballarat athlete to contest Olympic gold in London.
The Australian men’s eight, featuring Swann, claimed the last spot in tomorrow night’s final with a top-four finish in the repechage last night.
They will race from lane six in the London Olympic regatta’s marquee event at Eton Dorney.
Swann, a former Ballarat Grammar athlete, was in seat five in the Australian boat for the repechage with a strong finishing Dutch crew relegating the Australians to fourth place in a time of five minutes, 28.67 seconds.
Great Britain dominated the race after powering to an early lead with the Australians placed third at all three 500-metre splits and in a battle with Canada and the Netherlands to peg back the Brits.
All four boats advanced to the final with the United States and Germany, which had each qualified as heat winners.
Australia was ranked fifth fastest of the eight heat crews on Saturday night.
Ballarat’s five-time Olympian Anthony Edwards has his chance to row for a spot in the lightweight fours finals tonight.
Edwards and his world champion Australian crew will row in the semi-finals tonight at 9.40pm (AEST).
Fellow Ballarat rower James Marburg will be in semi-final action in the men’s pairs on tomorrow night at 8pm, following Swann in the men’s eight final at 7.30pm.