Georgie Rowe training at home

Georgie Rowe training at home. Image: Georgie Rowe / Twitter

Georgie Rowe is part of the Women's Eight vying for a medal at Tokyo 2020. She's also a nurse, and mentored by Minerva Network on her way to her goals.

Georgie Rowe is one of the rowers in the Australian Women’s Eight for Tokyo 2020. She’s come across from a background of surf lifesaving, with big dreams and bigger ambitions.

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Rowe, and the Australian Rowing team, have had a strong Olympiad of preparation, despite the disruption of the last 18 months. In fact, she argues that the Australian Rowing team is as prepared as they can be, speaking to The Inner Sanctum before Tokyo 2020.

“We have been training and training and training three times a day, six days a week for the past four or five years,” the 28 year old explained. “This is our final dance, and I kind of want to get on the stage, and spin my head.”

“I look forward to training every day, at the moment its an awesome boat to be a part of,” she explained. “Its like magic, you wake up every day and you get to train, and I feel like we are prepared, because we haven’t left any stone unturned, and the support networks around us have really built up.”

One of Rowe’s support networks is the Minerva Network. The Minerva Network is about women supporting Australian women in the business of sport.

Minerva connects athletes with leaders in the community and in business, and Rowe has been connected with Romilly Madew AO through the Minerva Network. Madew is the CEO of Infrastructure Australia, and is one of the co-Founders of the Minerva network.

She and Rowe share a passion for surf-lifesaving. Madew is an active member of Bilgola Surf Life Saving Club, while Rowe started out at Collaroy Surf Club, before turning to still water rowing later in life.

Madew is Rowe’s mentor through the Minerva Network, and Rowe explained the impact that the CEO has had on her.

“I couldn’t imagine my life without her now, in terms of a mentor, but also as a friend and she’s another motherly figure to me,” the rower said.

“She’s so supportive and she gives me so much of her time and that’s just something that I do not take for granted.”

Rowe has been blown away by the connection with Madew, and all of her family along the way.

“I have no expectations, and when her [Madew’s] daughter’s driving around my ‘Rowe Rowe Rowe Your Boat’ t-shirts, and her son was helping organise them I feel so lucky that I’ve got this extra family and this support network from Minerva,” she explained.

“Initially it was just meant to be a mentor program, and I think [Minerva] use Rom’s and my relationship because we’ve kind of taken it to a level that they probably didn’t think was ever going to happen, and I can’t imagine my life without them.”

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Rowe is an aged care nurse, a role that has been critical, but rewarding over the course of the pandemic. Rowe explained that at the start of the pandemic, Rowing Australia dispersed all the rowers back to their homes, away from the centralised hub at Penrith.

And for rower, it meant a chance to step back into that side of her life.

“I was working, and I was able to give back, and it’s very fulfilling when you can actually manage both, and I feel like for me, nursing might not be the most exciting area of nursing, but its very important and I really get a lot out of it,” she explained.

Rowe (top left) is one of a number of Australian Olympians working in Public Health

As much as Rowe has enjoyed being an aged care nurse, as she has been in various capacities since 2014, she has bigger goals on the horizon.

“I’m studying a Masters of Public Health, and a Masters of Business Administration at the moment, and have that in the back of my mind, as well as nursing aged care,” the 28 year old explained.

“I want to get a little bit of different experience with different exposure and get my clinical skills up.” So for Rowe, theatres, hospitals, and day surgery are all on the agenda, in between training sessions.

“We’ll just see what happens, I’m pretty fluid. I just take opportunities when they come and talk to people, and it would be nice to have some down time,” Rowe explained.

Rowe’s high aspirations are also a reflection of how far she has come.

“I think even to get to an Olympic Games to compete is so special, but for somebody like myself who has come from a public school, not an extremely wealthy family, and had a lot of adversity in my life, I feel like there are a lot of people that have been given these opportunities and really make the most of it,” Rowe explained.

“The Olympic Games has been our endpoint, and there’s been so much focus on the pinnacle, but at no point have I not enjoyed the last five years of training, and I’ve really enjoyed and savoured every moment,” she said.  

“I actually have mixed emotions with the Olympics, because it’s almost sad because it’s an endpoint, and I feel like it’s so special what we’re doing at the training centre, and with the girls.”

And while today’s final will mark the end point for this Women’s Eight, as they race at Tokyo 2020, it is by no means the last of what we will hear from Georgie Rowe.

“I definitely want to continue with my nursing and public health and MBA, I want to eventually be more into an executive role within a workplace,” she said. “I want to work through the different levels [of health care] and get to a position where I can help others and be a positive role model, and I know it’s a cliché as it sounds, to inspire others and see where it takes me.”

But despite Rowe’s uncertainty about the specifics of her future, two things are sure. Firstly, that she will be supported by her mentor, and the Minerva Network, and secondly, that she will row all the way to the finish line, wherever it takes her.

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