SINCE he began rowing nearly four years ago Matthew Madden, of Blaxland East, has had one goal in mind — to make it to the Australian National Championships.
His dream will come true next week when he competes at the national championships, which he described as his biggest rowing event so far, during the Sydney International Rowing Regatta.
"This is what I've been working towards since I started rowing so it's exciting that it's finally here," he said.
Matthew will race in the under-19 division in a composite team with three other boys from the Nepean Rowing Club and Leichhardt and is confident they will do well.
"It'll be a really good experience rowing with the guys in my team. I think we'll perform really well together," he said.
The year 12 student will also represent St Paul's Grammar School in the Schoolboys Championships single scull division.
"I'm aiming for finals in both my races. I want to do the best I can," he said.
Despite juggling year 12 exams with his busy training schedule, Matthew says he is keeping up with his school work and appreciates the study breaks when he is out training on the Nepean River.
"I train five days a week, up to 18 hours per week, both in the water and the gym. If anything it helps because it keeps me busy and focused and gives me a break from study."
Matthew says he is motivated by the international and Olympic rowers he sees training on the river.
"I was rowing beside the Estonian rowing team this morning, but not for long because they overtook me," he said.
He is also looking forward to attending the first World Rowing Cup to be held in Australia. "It's really, really exciting that the World Cup is coming," he said.