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Buddy Story - Julia

We’re always on the lookout for good news stories, especially if they involve someone from our community of buddies and volunteers.

Julia (below) is just that. Fresh from her return from the Global Games in Vichy, France - where she bagged an incredible nine medals and set two world records - she tells us more about her involvement in the sport of rowing and representing Australia.

How long have you been rowing?

I’ve been rowing since 2002, when I turned 17. My mum pushed me to go - like mum’s always do, but i’m very happy that I did it.

I’ve joined six rowing clubs since I started, and I’m currently happy at Drummoyne Rowing Club. The team in Vichy was made up with others from Australia, including my awesome coach Kathleen (below right).

Tell us about being selected to represent Australia

I was at school and at the time was training ten times a week; I rowed at Penrith then and they needed another female for the team - and I was around. That was in 2003 and I’ve been representing Australia ever since.

I have represented Australia five times now: at the World Championship in 2003 in Milan, where I got a world record, and in 2006 at the World Championship in Eton, England. In 2019 I went to the Global Games for the first time. This was in Brisbane - as was the Oceania Asia Games in 2022. Then lastly I went to Vichy in France.

And tell us about the recent Global Games in Vichy

We had lots of selection trials because we could only take four rowers. The Australian Global Games team for France included the Head Coach, Michael Russell from Queensland, plus my coach Kathleen Hextell, and four rowers: two females from NSW, Bronte Marshall and myself, and two males: Mac Russell from Queensland and Aaron Skinner Victoria.

It was very hot and I hated the food as it was all covered in sauces, including the salads so I couldn't eat it! But I enjoyed the games and meeting new people. I also won nine medals: five golds, three silver and one bronze - plus I set two world records and two Australian records in indoor rowing. I was the only person to win a medal for every single race they entered.

It was good to row with the team.

My mum, family and friends came and supported me. It was good having their support - it makes you go faster!

How does it feel to be a world record holder?

I was very pleased that I got the world records. The records were in Indoor Rowing in the 1000 metre ergo and 500 metre ergo, both individual races.

I also came first in both my singles races of 500 metres and 1000 metres, and then I rowed in the mixed crews of pairs and coxed fours, which we all did well in.

Is this your greatest sporting achievement?

Well, I have six world records in total. My other records were set at the World Championships in 2003 in Eton, also in the Indoor Rowing on the ergo in the 2km, 1km and 500 metres.

I beat some of my own records in France.

What would you like to do next?

The next Global Games is four years away, and I’m not sure where yet. There are no other events coming up, but I’m happy to take it one week at a time.

I want to enter the next Global Games, but only if my coach wants to train me for the next four years.

Thank you, Julia, for sharing your story. It’s not every day we hear from a world record holder!

If you have a good news scoop that you’d like to include within the Gig Buddies newsletter, get in touch: reach out via email,, or by phone: 0402 708 814

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