Lequeux flying flag for France

Juliette Lequeux's desire to travel has helped her on to rowing's world stage.

The 21-year-old from Dunedin is representing France at the under-23 world championships in Sarasota, Florida, this week.

Competing in the single sculls, she finished third in her heat in 7min 52.63sec.

That left her needing to go through a repechage to secure one of the six spots in the final.

It certainly makes for an interesting OE.

Having attended Otago Girls' High School and represented Otago University, she moved to France in April 2018.

Alongside feeling it was a good time to travel, she thought it would improve her French.

Her father is French, making her eligible to represent the country.

Lequeux's grandmother lives in Bordeaux, where she is living at the moment.

However, she did not want to give up rowing.

She entered the French national championships last year and performed well, carrying over her fitness from the New Zealand season.

That gained her an invitation to the national set-up and she spent the European summer in Paris, training on the 2024 Olympic course.

She competed in the French eight at last year's world under-23 championships and gained the single spot this year.

Rowing was different in France, she said.

The year was long and the training tended to be all the same.

For eight months, they would train in either a single or pair, then break down into their crew boats for world championships.

There was no speed work and she did not find it as enjoyable as in New Zealand.

However, she felt it had helped improve her technique.

Lequeux plans to return to New Zealand in either 2021 or 2022. Her goal remains to make the New Zealand team with an eye to the 2024 Olympic Games.

Oamaru's Mark Taylor has qualified for the semifinals in the men's quadruple sculls.

After finishing last in its heat, the crew put in a stronger performance in the repechage round.

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