A CONSTRUCTION lawyer from the Sydney office of Sparke Helmore has been chosen to represent her country at the 2007 World Rowing Championships in Munich beginning on 26 August.
Miranda Bennett, member of Sparkes’ infamous corporate rowing crew “Helmoars”, is a veteran of the world championships, having won in the lightweight quad division in 2002 with a record-breaking time, and securing a bronze in 2003.
But after missing out on the chance to race in the women’s double in Athens, Bennett decided to take some time off to complete her studies and begin a career in the law.
“I took a break from rowing and finished my uni degree, got admitted, and have been working at Sparke Helmore for the last two-and-a-half years,” she said. “Now I’ve just gotten back in to it, to give it another go for the Beijing Olympics.”
Competition for the two spots in the Olympic double team is fierce. There are women in a double team from Australia competing in the world championships, along with Bennett’s group of four and others who missed out on Munich, making at least six lightweight rowers who are vying to be one of two to race in Beijing.
“When we come back from the worlds, we all jump back into our own singles, and we’ll train for another couple of months,” Bennett said. “They race us off in the singles and then they do what is called ‘seat racing’ — they mix up combinations to try and find the fastest double to send to the Olympics.”
In order to maintain her racing fitness, Bennett is working three days a week at Sparke Helmore. When she is working she trains twice a day, but on every other day that regime is increased to three sessions.
“Sparke Helmore [has] let me cut back my hours a bit so I can increase my training load,” she said. “It is difficult to try and train at a level to be able to compete on the international stage, but Sparkes has been fantastic to accommodate that.”