Alumni student Jeremy McGrath (Year 12, 2012) has recently qualified his boat class for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games and is a step closer to realising his Paralympic dream.
It’s a dream come true for the talented rower who hopes to be named in the Australian Paralympic Team in August this year. Jeremy only started rowing around November/December 2012, just after finishing the HSC. However he didn’t start competing until late 2013 and now he is within reaching distance of Rio de Janeiro!
A delighted Mr Graham Anderson, Arden Anglican School’s Principal shared: “Jeremy is a wonderful example of perseverance and persistence. Jeremy has a prosthetic foot and since graduating from Arden has passionately pursued rowing with outstanding success. Jeremy and his team competed in Italy in April 2016 in the Legs, Trunk and Arms Mixed Coxed Four boat class. They made history when they secured victory in the Final Paralympic Qualification Regatta and in turn qualified the boat class for the Rio Paralympic Games. It is the first time Australia has qualified in this boat class for the Paralympics. What an outstanding achievement and opportunity for Jeremy and his team mates to compete at this elite level of sport on the international stage. We wish them all the very best for the coming months.”
Reflecting upon the influence of Arden on his life, Jeremy observed: “During my time at Arden I learnt how to pursue higher standards for myself, which has assisted me in pursuing my Paralympic ambitions. I learnt how to work hard and be resilient and persistent, which are attributes I hope to continue to have during my future sporting and working careers.”
When asked how he felt when he heard that he’d qualified the boat for the Rio Paralympics, Jeremy said: “At last year’s World Championships there were eight Paralympic spots up for grabs out of 12 and we narrowly missed out, coming ninth. Being able to comeback this year and not only qualify but also win the international para regatta, and beat some of the crews which beat us last year was unreal and I felt such relief and a sense of redemption.”
Reflecting upon the qualities he thinks are important for being an Australian Rowing Team representative, Jeremy commented “When most people see an Olympic or Paralympic athlete they tend to see the physical strengths. However I believe what makes a successful athlete is mental toughness. This is even more important in rowing, as you are unable to see your opponents when they are ahead of you which can make you want to give up, especially when you are tired and all your muscles are filling with lactic acid. It’s the athletes who have mental resilience that end up being the most successful.”
Discussing what he enjoys about rowing, Jeremy shared: “If you can get over the early mornings then rowing can be a very tranquil sport as you get to row in very beautiful parts of the world and watch the sunset rise over Sydney harbour.”
When asked what life skills rowing has taught him, Jeremy reflected: “I think it has taught me patience; rowing is a very technical sport where you need to be perfectly in time with your rowing partners and it takes time to develop the rhythm you need.”
Aside from rowing, Jeremy is currently a third year student in Occupational Therapy at Sydney University. Discussing his dreams for the future, Jeremy shared: “Subject to being rubber-stamped for the crew for Rio, and then competing, I am looking to get into athletics and see where that takes me. I have found a coach for athletics and I expect to spend the first year developing my technique and finding where my strengths lie, whether it be 100m or javelin. I am also looking forward to finishing my course and beginning work. I would like to work within disability and try to get people to participate in sport and recreational activities, as this is an area where I have my own personal experience and am interested in. I would love to take part in the Tokyo Paralympics Games but whether that happens and in which sport (be it rowing or athletics) remains to be seen.”