Tom Russel began rowing in 2013 for St Andrew’s College out of Avon Rowing Club in Christchurch. He was first selected into the New Zealand junior team in the men’s pair in 2016 as an U17 athlete, and the crew placed 7th. After a successful final year in school rowing in which he won the Springbok Shield and Maadi Cup in 2017, Tom was selected into the New Zealand junior men’s coxless four. The crew picked up a silver medal at the World Rowing Junior Championships in Lithuania against an extremely talented Great Britain four.
Less than a year later Tom found himself competing at the World Rowing U23 Championships in Poznan, Poland, again in the men’s coxless four. In a highly competitive field featuring crews that had medalled at elite-level World Rowing Cup regattas, Tom and his crew came home with a bronze medal. Their performance impressed the Rowing NZ selectors so much that the entire crew was chosen to compete at the elite World Rowing Championships in the same year.
Tom Russel is a name to watch for the future and is hoping to press on into the elite ranks in years to come.