By Meryl Swanson MP

12 September 2023

120923 - Federation Chamber - CONSTITUENCY STATEMENTS - Nichols, Harrison

Right about now one of the youngest up-and-coming sporting champions from Paterson, Harrison Nichols, is probably getting home from school and raiding the pantry and the fridge, like most ravenous 17-year-olds. He'll be readying himself for a bit of homework and an early night after dinner, as every morning he is up well and truly before dawn, before most of us have even thought about waking up, and he is out rowing, training on the magnificent Hunter River. I also want to say a big shout-out to his parents, who take him to rowing, and to all the parents of early sporting children—swimmers, rowers. You do a really great job.

Many would be surprised to hear that Harrison, at 17 years of age, has most recently competed in the World Rowing Championships, which were held in Belgrade last weekend. He was the youngest in his PR3 coxed four team. Being the youngest doesn't mean he's at any disadvantage, though. He's had a fantastic year. He's had stand-out performances in the PR3 single sculls at the interstate regatta and at the Australian Rowing Championships in early April. He's performing well beyond his young years.

His team were outstanding at the world championships, coming home in fourth position overall, and they have therefore qualified for the Paris Paralympics in 2024. We will all be watching and cheering you on, Harrison.

On Sunday evening our time, Harrison was presented with the McVilly-Pearce Pin, a tradition only afforded to those who have represented our great nation on the water. Harrison is the 923rd recipient of this prestigious honour. It is a further testament to his dedication, determination and ability in his chosen sport of rowing at such a tender age.

Harrison, you are a fantastic young man. I was so proud to be able to present you with your local sporting hero grant earlier this year. You were an inspiration in that room. I can't wait to see where you go. I was particularly proud, even though you were quite embarrassed, to give you the opportunity to speak in front of a group of young sportspeople to practice what it's going to be like when you win loads of medals over your sporting career. You will handle that media beautifully. Your will do our nation proud. You have got such a bright future. I can't wait to watch you at the Paris Olympics. You are going to not only make Paterson and your parents very proud but all of those kids at Hunter Valley Grammar School and all of our people across Paterson. Row hard and go well, Harrison.