Eve Macfarlane says when she started rowing four years ago at Rangi Ruru Girls' School she dreamed of competing at the Olympics, but never expected it to be in 2012 in London.
Macfarlane's meteoric rise from schoolgirl novice to Olympian was completed yesterday when she was named in the New Zealand rowing team for the world's most prestigious competition.
Macfarlane, 19, the youngest member of the Olympic team, is now thankful that the school's rowing director, Rex Farrelly, tapped her on the shoulder and asked her to go along to rowing and at least give it a try. He must have seen the potential in the teenager from Cheviot.
"I gave it a go and loved it from then on," Macfarlane said.
At that stage she was into every sport going – "netball, basketball, athletics, volleyball, touch, cross-country running, anything I could get my hands on, really.
"They've all been taken over by rowing. They've got the boot," Macfarlane said yesterday.
In her first year Macfarlane rowed in five events at the Maadi Cup national secondary schools' regatta for five gold medals.
So impressive were her performances that the next year she was included in the New Zealand four to row at the junior world championships.
That crew won the gold medal and at the end of 2010 Macfarlane made the step up from the national junior squad into the senior squad.
In early 2011 at the national trials the selectors decided to move Macfarlane from a sweep (single) oar boat to a position in the quadruple sculls.
"I got thrown into it. It was a struggle making the transition [from one oar to two]. But Richard Tonks was coaching us and he's helped a lot.
"I wouldn't call it a piece of cake now, but it's going well," Macfarlane said of the transition.
Tonks' training sessions are renowned for their toughness.
"Yes, they are tough, but that's all part of it. You need to do the work to get the results. It's good fun and a challenge."
The quadruple scull crew of Macfarlane, Fiona Bourke, Louise Trappitt and Sarah Gray won the bronze medal at last year's world championships behind Germany and the United States and expect all the crews in London will be tough to beat.
The crew will race in World Cup regattas, which will give them more experience racing before they strike the white-hot competition of the Olympics.
Two other rowers from Canterbury are also included in the team for the London Olympics.
Matthew Trott from Ashburton and John Storey from Christchurch are both members of the men's quadruple scull.
New Zealand Olympic rowing team for boats already qualified for London 2012:
Single scull: Mahe Drysdale
Pair: Eric Murray and Hamish Bond
Double scull: Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan
Lightweight double scull: Peter Taylor and Storm Uru
Quadruple scull: Robbie Manson, Matthew Trott, Michael Arms and John Storey
Four: Sean O'Neill, Chris Harris, Jade Uru and Tyson Williams
Single scull: Emma Twigg
Quadruple scull: Eve Macfarlane, Fiona Bourke, Louise Trappitt and Sarah Gray
Pair: Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown
Lightweight double scull: Julia Edward and Louise Ayling
Double scull: Fi Paterson and Anna Reymer
- © Fairfax NZ News