STUDENT Dan Porter could be the next Steve Redgrave – and he’s never lifted an oar!
The Huddersfield University student is set to join Britain’s Olympic rowing squad, without ever having sat in a boat.
Dan, 21, a graphic design student and a rising rugby star, is among 60 finalists being asked to be part of the 2012 London Olympic rowing campaign.
It’s part of a national drive run by UK Sport to find athletes most physically suited to the sports of rowing, volleyball and handball.
The UK Sport campaign, Sporting Giants, aims to find tall athletes with specific attributes for the three sports, in order for them to be recognised for their raw talents and trained up to represent their country in the Olympics.
Dan is a prolific try-scorer and goal-kicker for Selby RUFC, but has never even thought about rowing.
After applying for the Sporting Giants Olympic venture in March, he then forgot about it until later in August.
“I received a letter saying I was short-listed to attend a September screening trial at Gateshead, one of five locations for the rowing trials which involved three hours of tests including endurance, strength, posture, height and arm reach.”
If the latter is greater than your height, as in Dan’s case, you are likely to be suited to rowing.
All the results were analysed to see who had the best attributes and potential for progressing to the World Class Start Programme, run by GB Rowing and sponsored by Siemens.
This would involve being trained up to compete on a national and international stage with the aim of winning a 2012 Olympics medal.
Dan said: “Although I saw on the internet that my results were beating all the averages – my arm strength results were the highest of all 2000 applicants. I didn’t think I had made it when I hadn’t heard for a while, but when I received the news I was absolutely thrilled.”
After finishing his course at the Huddersfield University, Dan plans to move to his nearest elite rowing centre, at Durham, to begin his Olympic training programme with his assigned coach John Thickness. After playing rugby since he was four years old, Dan now says he can’t wait to get started with his rowing.