Head of the Lake winners Katrina Werry and Lucy Stephan have booked their tickets to Tokyo, selected in the Australian Rowing team.
Following the World Rowing Cup 3 simulation regatta at the weekend, the final squad of 38 was officially named, making up nine boats that qualified for the Olympics.
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Werry, who went to school at Ballarat Clarendon College and won two Head of the Lake titles (2010-11), will head to her first Olympics in the women's eight boat.
Stephan, who won a Head of the Lake crown with Ballarat Grammar School (2009), will attend her second Olympics in the women's coxless four.
Werry told The Courier it was an honour and relief to have her spot on the team confirmed.
"There was something very special about putting on the Olympic polo and seeing the rings on my chest," she said.
"It was just a surreal moment having worked so hard for so long.
"With last year being delayed and then we're finally here, the moment has come and just having the rings embroidered on my chest, I was just so ecstatic, had a bit of a teary moment, a few of us did actually.
"I'm just so proud and so honored to finally achieve this goal that I've been dreaming for so long."
It's been a tough 18 months for a lot of people owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, but especially athletes like Werry and Stephan who watched the Olympics be postponed to July and August in 2021.
"It was obviously very disappointing when it was postponed, we were training in our separate states for three months and not knowing when we would return back to Penrith as a squad," Werry said.
"It was quite hard to train and not know what the future of the Games were going to be.
"So to finally get our tickets was just completely overwhelming.
"It's final now, it's pure relief, we actually get to go, it's happening. It will look different, but we are going."
The female squad will leave on June 27 for Rockhampton where they'll spend three weeks, completing a training camp before they head to Tokyo.
Werry believes the crew is gelling well on the water ahead of their departure.
"It's a family dynamic and like with any family dynamic you have challenging times and really rewarding times as well," she said.
"We do a very good job of respecting each other and respecting our differences and figuring that out along the way.
"It is a journey. I think the most rewarding thing is I'll come away from this with eight siblings essentially, we're like a big family and we've become very close over the past few months."
Rowing Australia CEO Ian Robson echoed Werry's sentiment.
"The selection to the Australian Olympic Team is a proud moment for all our athletes, it reflects their hard work, resilience and determination to succeed in our sport of rowing," he said.
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