For his high standing in the club and his indisputable legacy to Australian sport, it has long been the desire of this column to catch up with Doug Donoghue AM. Such is the value of the man’s time however, that until this date the wish has remained unfulfilled. Between his commitments in the rowing community, his work at the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC), and his dedicated training regime on the beaches of Sydney’s eastern suburbs, there is seldom a moment spare. That changed recently when Doug announced that, after 20 years of service, he was stepping down from the AOC executive board and relinquishing many of his responsibilities within the organisation.
With the greater freedom this change has afforded him, Doug invited me to meet him at his new office, located at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Sydney’s Rocks district. Needless to say the offer was quickly accepted, and soon I found myself entering the monolithic art deco structure for an audience with the great man.
On arrival it is clear from the number of semi-vacant freight cartons and strewn packing foam that Doug and his colleagues have only just moved into the premises, and he apologises for the general state of disorder that pervades the space. While most would accept the short-term collateral that such a move brings, for a precise and deliberate operator like Doug the situation is disquieting.
Doug explains that previously the AOC’s executive had been housed in the prestigious Governor Macquarie Tower on Phillip Street in the CBD. That location placed them alongside high powered law firms, investment banks and government bureaus, but pressure to rationalise forced the relocation to their current, less glamorous location. Having had a long and fruitful corporate career in the resources sector Doug is no stranger to change, and he accepts the imperatives that drove the move “We had an office in St Leonards and another in the CBD, so the move to a central location has been positive”.
Despite this I struggle to reconcile the placement of Doug, who is recognised professionally for his prudent financial management and investment nous, in the MCA, an edifice that serves as a beacon to the abstract and the creative. I speculate that perhaps subconsciously it is the impact of the many postmodern works of canvas and sculpture that surround the AOC’s new offices that have driven Doug to step away from his roles on the organisation’s Finance, Audit and Remuneration Committees. Is he seeking to distance himself from these official roles in the search of something more transcendental?
Doug assures me this is not the case; rather the decision was made due to his long time spent in the roles (Doug was recently awarded life membership of the AOC for this service) and the wish to pursue other interests along with his continuing role in the Australian Olympic Foundation.
Having inspected most of the floor, we now come to Doug’s own office. I am immediately taken by the scarcity of its decoration, with just a copy of the Financial Review, a few files and some working papers on his desk breaking the continuity of the russet colour scheme of the walls and desk. While Doug is known to enjoy the natural beauty of Sydney’s geography, it is clear in the workspace artistic embellishments offer no utility.
I also notice Doug doesn’t have a computer at his desk, a rarity in this day. He is certainly no Luddite (he owns and operates a mobile phone) rather the choice reflects his work patterns. His energy is legendary and he is always on the move. As such there is no time for leisurely web browsing or email correspondence.
There is a sole window in the office which offers an enviable view of the Harbour Bridge on this bright autumn afternoon. I make mention of this, suggesting it is quite a blessing. Doug offers a shrug that indicates he rarely, if ever, would gaze out the window and idly enjoy this hard earned vista. Having spent some time with him it is clear that he is motivated not by titles or perks, but by the athletes that he has served over his many years overlooking the finances of the AOC.
The genesis of this long career in sports administration lies very much in his young days as a rower, first at Sydney Boys High School and later at Sydney Rowing Club. The fashion in the 1960s was for the younger rowers to coach novices once they had learned the craft, and Doug followed this path into coaching along with the likes of Ray Green and Keith Jameson who were around the club at the same time. Over time Doug’s business acumen came to be recognised by the elder statesmen of the club, and he moved into a position on the Committee. This included being part of the legendary board of the 1969-70 season that included Alf Duval, Phil Cayzer, George Parlby and Ernie Chapman. This was a golden age for the club, of which Doug reminisces, “it was a tremendous thrill to be part of Sydney’s success”.
Fortunately the thrill of Doug’s association with the club continues to be felt through his frequent attendance at events like the club regatta, Rowers’ Reunion and the AGM. He is always forthcoming in offering his time and energy to the club, and continues to be a valued counsel for its decision makers. It is with this in mind that I leave Doug to his work, returning to the boatshed with new found inspiration to apply Donoghue’s ethic to training and service.
A crystal clear day saw the beginning of the NSW Masters’ Championships last Saturday and Sydney Rowing Club was there in force to close off the 2012-2013 season that has seen SRC show tremendous depth in all levels of competition.
The Women’s G quad were the first Sydney crew to take to the water and the first to get a podium finish holding off the Port Macquarie composite crew for 2nd place.
Bill Mison offered some advice to the Men’s A-B four before they put to the water. “Get in front out of the start then settle. Don’t rate too high or you’ll burn out”. This advice was taken on board and with 400m to go, the man in 2 seat, Paul Coates came to appreciate its relevance. The boys managed to hold on for Bronze even after losing steering in the closing stages of the race.
Later that morning the mighty Men’s C eight, “The Legends” continued on from their success at nationals to defeat three composite crews for the state title. At this point it is worth noting that composite crews, usually a common sight in masters rowing, were not as common at this year’s NSW Championships.
Kirsten Liljeqvist chalked up the first gold for the ladies teaming up with Kathleen Hextell from Drummoyne to win the Women’s A-C pair.
Sunday morning saw a number of races cancelled due to a pea souper of a fog engulfing the Sydney International Regatta Centre. The fog at times was so thick it was impossible to see beyond lane 7 from the finish tower.
Racing eventually commenced at 10:30am and Kaye Smythe and Dorothy De George got things started with a win in the Women’s G double.
Ken Ambler was in his element for the whole regatta taking silver in the Men’s F single scull and Gold in the Men’s E quad and double. Ambler was also on hand during the regatta to dish out valuable rigging advice and scientific analysis of every individual stroke taken in the race.
Well done Team SRC – ‘”bringing home the medals”.
Team SRC has ended the season with a swag of 6 gold, 8 silver and 3 bronze medals.
All SRC’s results here.
The first Rowers’ Reunion for 2013 was blessed with fine weather and a large attendance as many members took the opportunity to catch up with old comrades in the convivial setting of the SRC boatshed. While the reunion is always keenly awaited, this year’s event held particular significance given the official proceedings planned to coincide with the usual luncheon and drinks function.
Foremost amongst them was the naming of the club’s new eight - Ernie Chapman and as guests arrived many moved down to the hardstand to lend a helping hand in rigging the boat for the ceremony. This proved to be an enjoyable affair as all bonded over the exercise. Mick Allen applied the lettering to the bow of the boat as Dallas Smith, Max Annett and Phil Cayzer looked on. Club coaches Ken Ambler and Paul Coates sourced the nuts and washers and then bolted together the section in the boat. Numerous former rowers assisted in attaching the riggers with Larry Parker, Russ McLean and Lachlan Carter all chipping in alongside current athletes Simon Nola and Hugh McLeod.
Once this task was completed the Empacher eight presented a magnificent sight. The highest praise that could be given is that it is worthy to carry the name Ernie Chapman and this was the very sentiment offered by Keith Jameson in his preamble to the naming, “Ernie Chapman served as the club’s President for 19 years. In choosing to purchase this boat the board considered the manufacturer’s reputation for making craft of similar longevity and distinction”. Ernie’s wife Jennifer then christened the boat, adding her wishes that the boat should carry many Sydney crews to victory in years to come.
Another highlight of the day was a touching ceremony involving the family of the late Bob Allen. Bob was a champion lightweight sculler of Australia, and prior to his passing had expressed the wish that his personal rowing skiff should be given to a young sculler of promise and character. Bob’s friend Ray Green undertook the search and recommended Henry Robinson, a junior athlete from the Blue Mountains. Henry has just completed his first season rowing and despite this novice status finished 6th at the NSW state championships in the U16 single. He expressed his sincere gratitude for the honour of receiving the boat and all present were moved by the occasion.
The party then moved to the Wharfside Room in the club for lunch and the presentation of 50 year pots to Mick Allen and Alan Grover. While most in attendance had been to many Rowers’ Reunions, none could recall a year when two more significant figures reached the milestone of 50 years membership.
Dallas Smith presented Mick with his pot, noting both Mick’s outstanding career as an oarsman and his service to the club in retirement. As a rower there have been few in the club’s history of equal standing. Before he became a member at Sydney he rowed at Mosman where he achieved King’s Cup and Olympic representation. Once at SRC, he was a key member of the coxed four that won nationals and was selected as an all Sydney crew to race at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
Just as notable however, has been the voluntary application of his significant construction skills to the club’s building committee. Undertaking major projects such as building the coaches’ office, repairs to the pontoon, and general maintenance of the club’s fleet, Mick has offered both his technical expertise and life lessons to anyone willing to join the table on a Wednesday for a cup of his finely brewed coffee. While many claim to bleed blue for SRC, Mick is unquestionably a man who lives, breathes and speaks “blue”.
In the words of Dallas Smith “He’s got a boat named after him, he’s got a blue blazer and now he’s got a 50 year pot. I think that’s a credit to his commitment to this club and what he has done, and is still doing down there”. A man of few words, or as Mick put it “I don’t talk much but I swear a lot”, Mick was humble in reply saying simply “It’s been a pleasure”.
Michael Morgan then presented Alan Grover with his pot. Alan too is an Olympian, having competed in Tokyo with Mick before winning a Silver medal in the eight in Mexico City in 1968. His coxing career spanned several decades and included all the highest achievements imaginable for Sydney, NSW and Australia. His service to sport continued through his work at the Australian Olympic Committee where he developed a team marketing program and worked on the bid for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Michael, however took greater pleasure in reminiscing on the memorable times they shared rowing for Sydney and Australia. In particular their international tours, on which Alan’s exploits were legendary. If only we could say more, but as Michael and Alan steadfastly agreed “What happens abroad stays abroad”. Irregardless, it was a pleasure to see Michael present the pot to Alan, each with wide grins and a look of recognition in their eyes that hinted at unspoken stories of the past, no doubt to be relived over a drink later in the day.
Reflecting on the achievement of 50 years membership from Alan and Mick, one had pause to reflect on the other major development that occurred at the club in 1963. That was the year that the speedboat shed, which is still in use today, was constructed. That the structure has survived so long is a testament to many factors; a sturdy build, rigorous maintenance and endearing utility. While it’s true that it may have occasionally strayed into a dishevelled state, it always got the job done. So too have Alan and Mick continued to provide great worth to the club, both in their service and their character. To be blessed with more members like those two will determine the state of Sydney Rowing Club 50 years from now.
There was a veritable feast of talent at the Rowers’ Reunion on May 5th including 12 Club Captains including (and in no particular order…):
Sydney’s Master’s Women have come home with seven wins and a second placing at last weekend’s Iron Cove Regatta - with Kaye Smythe bagging four medals on the day. A great result! See all SRC’s results here.
The recent results from the national selection trials have reaffirmed for SRC Head Coach, Tom Morris, the importance of consistent and well-structured training in achieving results. Many people will claim that there’s some secret to success in this sport but this is untrue.
Success is quite simply the culmination of doing everything without excuses. The kilometres on the water, fronting up to every ergo session, finishing every rep in the gym and not hitting snooze on the alarm on day six of a heavy training week.
Our team succeeded at the trials because they did all of these things better than their opponents, without excuses. The results don’t lie in the end… Success!
See the full team lists:
Dale Caterson. The name is etched permanently in the annals of Sydney Rowing Club history (on the wall at the entrance to the registered club, just past reception). Indeed, the man’s legacy transcends the mere boundaries of our humble boatshed. Not only was he the club’s premier coxswain in the glorious period that was the 1980s, he also holds the auspicious title of Australia’s first gold medal winning coxswain. He achieved that feat in the Men’s Eight at the 1986 World Championships in Nottingham, the same year he won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh. Those were the last Commonwealth Games to feature rowing and as such when the sport is reintroduced in 2018 Dale will be defending champion. He is also an Olympian, having competed in Seoul in 1988 in the Eight which finished 5th behind the likes of West Germany and the Soviet Union.
Knowing this history, it is always with great trepidation and excitement that I await an opportunity to speak to Dale, and today’s SRC Regatta is no different. Having seen the volunteer roster organised by Keith Jameson, I know that D. Caterson is to be undertaking the important task of speedboat driver in the afternoon session. Being the punctual man that he is it’s no surprise to see him arrive at the foot of the SIRC grandstand right on noon, making his way through the crowd undeterred by the torrential rain that is battering the Penrith Lakes. He wears a large protective coat as defence from the elements and as much as I envy him for the heat it must provide, I recognise that it is the ever present Caterson smile that now delivers warmth and comfort to the other volunteers assembled.
I extend a nervous hand to Dale and he grasps it firmly in a greeting of sincerity and character. Immediately I feel a tingle go through my body, perhaps as the result of a residual charge coming from Dale due to his work as an electrician, perhaps the body’s physical response to touching greatness. In any event, it is a joy to behold the man now, and my early apprehension is quickly eased by Dale’s charitable nature. While he has matters pertaining to the regatta that prohibit him from being subject to an interview, he welcomes me to join his team for the afternoon session. This represents a rare opportunity to see a master at work, so I eagerly accept his invitation to board the ‘A.W Brown’.
Dale has volunteered to drive the speedboat that carries the Boat Race Officials down the course during races. This is a task every bit as complicated as steering a crew down the lake as a coxswain. It involves negotiating a path around the many boats on the water, and metering the level of wash produced by the craft so as to minimise disruption to the racing crews. Despite the low visibility caused by the heavy rain Dale has little difficulty, manoeuvring the speed boat with the same Napoleonic guile and poise as he steered eights in his competitive heyday.
In the meantime Dale generously shares some of his wisdom with the crews marshalling before their races. He offers advice on boat position and prevailing weather, taking a particular interest in the crews wearing the light blue singlets of Sydney. At one point he pulls his speedboat alongside a Sydney coxed four and signals to the young coxswain “You need to sit lower in the boat, it’s more aerodynamic” The coxswain replies boldly “There’s too much water in here, I’ll get wet”, and much to the mirth of the SRC crew Dale responds “You’re not a sugar cube, you’ll be alright”. The young coxswain quickly realises his errors, both in the technical craft of coxing, and in impudence towards the experienced Caterson. These lessons are a gift that will be remembered and as such the legacy of Dale continues.
As the regatta comes to a close and we head back to the pontoon, I have pause to consider Dale’s impact on Australian rowing. One must remember that the success of the Australian men’s eight in the latter half of the 1980s was achieved despite the crew consisting mostly of men in their early 20s. With the likes of James Tomkins, Mike McKay and Andrew Cooper in the formative years of their rowing careers, it was the experience of Caterson, along with coach Reinhold Batschi, that delivered not only that crew’s success but paved the way for the re-emergence of Australia as a global rowing force through the ‘oarsome foursome’. While Dale is far too humble to claim responsibility for those glories, speaking to McKay and others, it is clear the high regard in which they hold him and the appreciation they have for his impact on their future competitive years.
It is in a similar vein that Dale’s contribution to Sydney Rowing Club can be viewed. While his days of steering our crews to victory are over, he continues to offer his time and wisdom to the young men and women of the club. One of the most significant avenues to achieving that end is the Rowers’ Reunion that Dale organises alongside John Sivewright. The day brings together the past and present rowers in a forum of conviviality and kinship that seeks to remember the great times of yesteryear, and reflect their lessons on the members of today. To that end we look forward to this Sunday’s event, and eagerly await the opportunity to share a tale with Dale and others.
Some clever recruiting added some numbers and extra muscle to the Men’s Masters Squad (or “The Legends” as they laughingly call themselves). There was the incredible coup of getting Steve “The Chairman” Handley to coach. The Club lent its support by providing a great boat. There was the unexpected discovery and motivation of one of the best coxes in the country...and it went from there.
However, not even the most optimistic of observers imagined just how much the group would achieve. Fastest time at the Iron Cove Classic, winners of the Head of the Parramatta, Trickett D-Grade Champions with 2nd in C-Grade(knocking off the State crew), Silver in D-Grade at Nationals and storming home in true SRC style in the final race of the Regatta to win Gold in C-Grade amongst a top class field on the Stroke-man’s 50th birthday! Together with some great results in small boats, the squad brought home 5 Medals, 3 Gold and 2 Silver – what a finish!
The Legends are Ian Paver, Scott Turner, Martin Ward, Charles Lloyd-Jones, Martin West, Ken Rickard-Bell, Mark Barrett, Steve Graham, Archie Law, Carl Quitzau, David Greenslade, Roger Brighton, Scott Trayhurn (cox) and Steve Handley (Coach).
See all SRC's results here
Over the four day championship regatta the SRC Masters group came away six gold medals, four silver medals and four bronze medals. Find all the results here.
Congratulations to everyone who competed.
2013 marks the centenary year of Canberra, with construction of the city having begun in 1913 as the architectural brainchild of Walter Burley Griffin. To mark the occasion, a number of major events are being staged in the nation’s capital this year, including international football games, cultural gatherings and most significantly, the Australian Masters Rowing Championships for the 2012-13 season.
It seems appropriate that as we celebrate the graceful maturation of this city, so to do we celebrate the coming together of the matured rowers of the nation to compete at the pinnacle of the sport. As Canberra seats the federal government, featuring the leaders of our nation, the masters rowers of Australia represent the guiding lights for the sport of rowing in these uncertain times.
As always, Sydney is to be represented by a strong armada of crews, each carrying justifiably high hopes of claiming victory in the toughest of competitions. The star of last year’s Championships in Ballarat was Jen Edge, who left the goldfields with four gold medals in her kit bag. This year she is back, racing in the A Single, before teaming up with Kirsten Liljeqvist, Kerren Turcato and Kim Odolphi in the B four.
The return of Kirsten Liljeqvist to competitive racing has been a particularly exciting development this season. Kirsten has raced at the highest levels for Sydney over the years but after some time out of the game her reintroduction to the SRC masters ranks can only be a positive for our chances at the regatta. Kirsten is also an accomplished yachtswoman and those skills will no doubt be a bonus to her crews on the often windswept Lake course.
Another crew to look out for will be the D eight coached by Steve Handley. The lads have raced at the highest levels of the grade rowing scene this year, culminating in a fine win at the NSW grade champs a couple of weeks ago. On that occasion they negotiated the 1000m course at SIRC in 3:01 minutes, a sharp time by any measure. They will need to reproduce that level of performance this weekend as they take on the likes of Canberra and a strong Victorian composite crew.
Of course, Kay Smythe and Dorothy De George will be combining in the double sculls as they continue in their build up towards the world masters games in Torino later this year. They have had a typically successful season thus far but coach Bill Mison will no doubt be driving them to lift their performance again as they seek to replicate last year’s unbeaten effort at this regatta. The pair will also line up alongside evergreen Lynette Skelton in the quad in a crew sure to turn heads.
A highlight is sure to be the mixed events, as some of our finest men and women take advantage of the rare opportunity to race in union. Ken Ambler will be a passenger to Deb Church in the mixed double. Meanwhile Charles and Kim Lloyd Jones will draw upon the experience of their morning sojourns across the mouth of Hen and Chicken Bay from home to their coaching commitments at Newington College when they race together in the E category.
Canberra is unique in Australia as it is a planned city. Its layout was carefully designed to maximise quality of life for its residents given both the abundant space in the area, and the dominant geographic features; Black Mountain and what we now call Lake Burley Griffin. Similarly, SRC’s masters rowers have planned their campaign this season with the intention of maximising quality of boat movement in the demanding conditions that will face them in the nation’s capital. We wish them the best of luck, and look forward to reporting on their performance over the weekend.
The Sydney Rowing Club men’s D grade eight has assembled in the boat park at SIRC. It is just after midday and despite the autumnal timing of the Trickett Regatta, the heat is oppressive. A high pressure system over the west of Sydney is bringing warm and dry atmospheric conditions to the regatta centre, while the high pressure of the upcoming race has reduced most of the SRC men to cold sweats. Having suffered defeats in the C grade eight and D grade four the previous day, confidence is low amongst the group. The question, though unspoken, is clear to all. How could they possibly overturn those losses, the ignominy of which lives so fresh in the memory?
The answer lies in the form of the small figure making her way from the grandstand to the boat park, lane number in her left hand, cox-box in her right. When the crew discover that Kendall Brodie is to be a late addition to the boat they are filled with a newfound self-assurance and poise. They know from both experience and reputation that Kendall is amongst the finest coxswains in the country, and if anyone can bring together this disparate group of oarsmen, it is her.
For most coxswains, the principal concerns are avoiding collision and collecting medals, but Brodie is different. While she does not train with the crew she prepares as thoroughly as any rower, knowing intimately both her own boat and the opposition so as to inform her of the optimal tactics for the race. While she does not have the strength to lever the oar handle, it is the strength of her personality that motivates and assimilates the crew. And while she cannot strike the water at the catch with precision timing, her words strike at the hearts of young men, driving them to greatness.
With this in mind, the SRC crew are immediately lifted in spirits and belief. Where before there was quiet panic, there is now joviality as the crew carry the George Parlby down to the pontoon on the warm-up lake. Kendall point outs a nearby masters crew attaching a ‘Go-Pro®’ to the stern of their boat. What exactly they hope to gain from the exercise is unclear but the thought of the ensuing footage provides great mirth to the crew, a welcome distraction from the nerves of the race and no-doubt a calculated move by Brodie.
Crucial to any successful race is a well regimented warm-up. How the boat moves in the warm-up has a major bearing on the crew’s confidence on the start line, and subsequently their likelihood of pulling hard during the actual race. Knowing this, Kendall sends the crew off the pontoon rowing “all eight, ‘full slides”. The rhythm and balance is immediately of sufficient quality to perform in a D-grade race, and as such the crew arrives on the course proper buoyed at their chances.
There is time for one practise race start before the off so Kendall calls the crew forward for a six stroke piece. When she isn’t coxing various SRC crews Kendall moonlights as a design student at the prestigious University of New South Wales, and she must call upon all her creative powers at this moment to come up with a positive spin on the lurching race start that the crew has just offered, "pretty good, nice timing on that first stroke”. With Kendall’s blessing, the crew lines up the start.
As the eight boats align themselves to the starter’s wishes, Kendall again demonstrates her experience by edging the crew a couple seats ahead of the opposition. The SRC boat is drawn in lane 2 (the far side of the course), so there is little chance that the Rowing officials will notice the discrepancy. Suddenly, the starter calls attention and the race is underway.
For rowers, the first 500 metres are generally a blur of excited energy as each crew attempts to capture a decisive break in the early stages. For the coxswain however, the first half of the race is a critical period both technically and tactically. She must first set the boat on a sure course, not just within the buoys that mark the lanes but also on a bearing that compensates for the prevailing wind, current and any washes produced by the referee’s boat. While this is being achieved through subtle movements to the rudder, she also must establish the relative boat speeds of the crews in the race to determine how best to ration the teams effort over the 1000m.
After about 200m Kendall makes the decisive call; the crew must raise its effort and begin the sprint to the line if they wish to stay in contention with the leading crews from St. George and Glebe. Her impassioned cries of ‘Up’ draw an instant response from the crew who are soon taking seats off the opposition. This only works for so long however, and soon the crew are in a mid-race malaise as the early effort begins to take its toll.
It is at this point in a race that athletes start to become aware of the physical pain brought about by the leg drive, and as such it is important for the coxswain to offer some distraction lest the oarsmen give in to fatigue. At this stage Kendall resorts to the classic “Hips” call, which has long confused rowers as they try to determine what can actually be achieved with the hips during the rowing stroke. This quandary pre-occupies the mind of the crew, which is an important mental diversion from looking out of the boat and feeling the lactic build up.
Kendall has successfully guided the crew into the final stages of the race. Once here, her job is essentially done. The rowers can see the buoys change colour so they know the finish is approaching. The roar of the crowd in the grandstand drowns out the voice of the coxswain such that in the desperate final sprint it is just a matter of how much petrol she has left in the tank. Would the early push take its toll? Could the unheralded crew hold on for victory? The finish horn sounds and the eights cross the line....
A win to SRC!
The NSW Edward Trickett Grade Championships is named after the famous sculler who was Australia’s first world champion in any sport. It marks the grand final for grade rowing and as such is awarded ‘championship’ status by Rowing NSW. As such the medals are highly prized and the event attracts competitors from far afield to race for glory in graded events.
The grade system itself is very simple, with every competitor being assigned a grade score based on their competitive history. This determines whether a competitor is eligible to race in A, B, C or D grade. In crew events the score is the average of the crew. Such unions represent the true joy of grade racing as new and unlikely combinations are formed due to the grade score imperative.
This year the pressure was on SRC as St George rowing club have been closing the gap in the interclub point score in recent months, such that they are in a position to challenge for the year end title. This meant a strong showing from Sydney was vital and our athletes did not disappoint, winning a swag of medals to be crowned the top performing club at the regatta.
The highlight of the weekend was the club’s dominance of the big boats. Our women entered the C and D grade eights with crews consisting of a mix of elite level rowers like Leah Saunders and Bry Cole, alongside juniors like Ellen Towers. They won the D eight by 7 seconds and backed up to win the C eight by 14 seconds. These were particularly important wins as they relegated St. George to 2nd place on both occasions.
On the men’s side of the draw the D eight was won by the masters crew coached by Steve Handley, who led throughout the race and held a margin of half a boat length over St. George at the finish. The crew also raced in the C grade eight, where they were narrowly defeated. Fortunately this loss was at the hands of another SRC crew (we boated 3 crews in the race, a testament to the depth of both our membership and our fleet). The winning combination was a development crew coached by Jason Baker featuring the likes of up and comers Jack Van Der Vegt, Zac Bengtsson and Tim Stanway.
The only other men’s eight race contested was the B grade eight, where Sydney came up against a strong Sydney Uni crew featuring the nucleus of the squad that has won the U21 nationals championship title just a few weeks ago. Once again however the men in light blue proved too strong, recording a dominant win with a second Sydney crew filling 3rd position. This was the final race of the regatta and with 18 members astride the podium it provided the perfect setting for the awarding of the Edward Trickett trophy to club vice-captain Scott Woodward. A fitting end to a most successful regatta for the club.
Eleven of our talented athletes have been invited to trial for Australian selection at Penrith they are: Angus Bagby, James Chapman, Millicent Cheetham, Tess Gerrand, Tom Gunton, Alex Lloyd, Chris Morgan, Simon Nola, Leah Saunders, Spencer Turrin and Ed White.
Joining them over the next two weeks are coaches Tom Morris, Lachlan Carter and Jason Baker.
Good luck everyone!
1. How many SRC athletes represented Australia at the recent Sydney International Regatta?
6 – James Chapman, Tess Gerrand, Alex Lloyd, Chris Morgan, Simon Nola and
2. Name the two SRC athletes selected into the NSW Masters team.
Kirsten Liljekvist and Ken Ambler.
3. What was the cost of the Red House property, purchased in 1874 at Abbotsford?
4. How many SRC athletes have been invited to National Selection trials?
11 – (Angus Bagby, James Chapman, Millicent Cheetham, Tess Gerrand, Tom Gunton, Alex Lloyd, Chris Morgan, Simon Nola, Leah Saunders, Spencer Turrin and Ed White).
5. Featuring our own James Chapman and Spencer Turrin, how many wins has NSW now recorded in the Kings Cup?
34 – (We were looking for six consecutive wins but we didn’t ask that so technically the correct answer is 34 and while James and Spencer have only the one win together in the crew, the answer we are accepting is 34).
Team SRC came away with excellent results from the final Grade regatta for the year. With a stash of medals over the two days - we brought home 11 Gold, 5 Silver and 5 Bronze and the coveted Edward Trickett Point Score trophy for the 2nd year in a row.
It is worth mentioning that regatta commentator Barry Moynahan pointed out the great depth of Sydney Rowing Club in both Men’s C 8+, where we had three eights competing and in the Men’s B 8+ where it was a delight to see eighteen Sydney medallists on the dais.
Here are all our results:
Women’s C Grade Quad Scull Final - 3rd
· Rachel Towers, Eleanor Marshall, Bry Cole, Phoebe Donovan.
Men’s C Grade Eight Final – 1st
· Jack Van Der Vegt, Tim Stanway, Max Brenner, Zac Bengtsson, Theo Cominos, Lachlan Hine, Michael Keene, Dan O’Malley-Jones and Coxswain Millicent Cheetham. Coaches: Tom Morris, Lachlan Carter, Jason Baker.
Men’s C Grade Eight Final – 2nd
· Charles Lloyd Jones, Scott Turner, Mark Barrett, Carl Quitzau, Archie Law, Stephen Graham, David Greenslade, Roger Brighton, Coxswain: Scott Trayhurn. Coach Stephen Handley.
Men’s B Grade Double Scull Final– 2nd
· Dean Robinson, Michael Keene. Coach Tom Morris
Men’s B Grade Double Scull Final– 3rd
· Tom Birtwhistle, Alex Lazarou. Coach Lachlan Carter
Men’s A Grade Double Scull Final – 2nd
· Hugh MacLeod, Simon Nola. Coach: Tom Morris.
Women’s C Grade Double Scull Final – 1st
· Ellen Schiffler, Anais Alonso. Coaches: Ray Armstrong, Ken Ambler.
Men’s C Grade Coxed Four Final – 1st
· Zac Bengtsson, Tim Stanway, Theo Cominos, Jack Van Der Vegt. Coxswain: Romola Davenport. Coaches: Tom Morris, Lachlan Carter, Jason Baker.
Women’s D Grade Eight Final – 1st
· Kirsten Liljekvist, Genevieve Becker, Ellen Towers, Bry Cole, Eleanor Marshall, Steph Harper, Jen Edge, Romola Davenport. Coxswain: Millicent Cheetham. Coaches: Tom Morris, Lachlan Carter, Ken Ambler.
Men’s B Grade Quad Scull Final – 1st
· Sean Madeley, Tom Birtwhistle, Lachlan Hine, Alex Lazarou. Coaches: Lachlan Carter, Jason Baker, Tom Morris.
Men’s A Grade Quad Scull Final – 3rd
· Josh Taylor, Dean Robinson, Hugh McLeod, Simon Nola. Coaches: Tom Morris Lachlan Carter.
Women’s C Grade Eight Final – 1st
· Phoebe Donovan, Sam Doyle, Ellen Towers, Bry Cole, Eleanor Marshall, Steph Harper, Jen Edge, Leah Saunders. Coxswain: Millicent Cheetham. Coaches: Lachlan Carter, Tom Morris, Ray Armstrong.
Men’s A Grade Coxless Pair Final – 1st
· Ed White, Tom Gunton. Coach: Tom Morris.
Women’s C Grade Coxed Four Final – 1st
· Sam Doyle, Eleanor Marshall, Bry Cole, Jen Edge. Coxswain: Millicent Cheetham. Coaches: Lachlan Carter, Tom Morris.
Men’s D Grade Eight Final – 1st
· Charles Lloyd Jones, Martin Ward, Mark Barrett, Scott Turner, Archie Law, Stephen Graham, David Greenslade, Roger Brighton. Coxswain: Scott Trayhurn. Coach Stephen Handley.
Women’s A Grade Single Scull Final – 2nd
· Leah Saunders. Coach Tom Morris.
Men’s A Grade Coxless Four Final – 2nd
· Sean Madeley, Don O’Malley-Jones, Ed White, Tom Gunton. Coaches: Tom Morris, Lachlan Carter.
Women’s C Grade Single Scull Final – 1st
· Phoebe Donovan. Coach Lachlan Carter
Women’s D Grade Coxed Four Final – 3rd
· Isabella Pytka, Rachel Towers, Ellen Towers, Genevieve Becker. Coxswain: Zara Dwyer. Coaches: Ken Ambler, Ray Armstrong.
Men’s B Grade Eight Final – 1st
· Jack Van Der Vegt, Dan O’Malley-Jones, Sam Hardy, Lachlan Hine, Scott Woodward, Theo Cominos, Ed White, Tom Gunton. Coxswain: Angus Bagby. Coaches: Tom Morris, Lachlan Carter.
Men’s B Grade Eight Final – 3rd
· Luke Stait, James Gerofi, Zac Bengtsson, Max Brenner, Tom Birtwhistle, Kurtis Aroney, Sean Madeley, Alex Lazarou. Coxswain: Kendall Brodie. Coaches: Lachlan Carter, Tom Morris.
You are cordially invited to our next Sydney Rowers’ Reunion on Sunday 5 May 2013.
Please click here for the full invitation.
Click here to read the article from Sydney’s Daily Telegraph 31 August 1972 – featuring Sydney Rowing Club’s Olympian Michael Morgan.
A wedding is always a joyous occasion, but to be at the nuptials of two SRC members makes today particularly special. There is a persistent drizzle of rain outside the small the chapel that the couple have chosen to host the ceremony but it does nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the large crowd assembled to bear witness to the union.
As the Groomsmen enter I survey the room. The walls are adorned with religious iconography; there are ornate stained glass windows and just to my right is a tapestry depicting the 3 magi following the star of Bethlehem. Seated in front of me are Dan Noonan, Karsten Forsterling and Jarrod Bidwell, men no less wise in matters of boat speed and physical endurance having followed the guiding light of John Driesson to Canberra.
Then I notice, standing next to a sculpture of Jesus, the strikingly similar visage of SRC’s Dom Grimm. Dom has been surprisingly absent from the boatshed this season, so I make room on the pew and usher him over. Presumably out of respect for the service Dom is reluctant to acknowledge my overtures but, like Peter on the road to Golgotha, he recognises me after the third time of asking.
Dom takes a seat next to me on the hard wooden pew, wincing in discomfort as he folds his large frame into place. There is a brief lull in proceedings so I take the opportunity to ask Dom why he hasn’t been rowing this season. I fear perhaps he has suffered some road to Damascus epiphany and given up the sport as so many do after many years enduring the hardships and pain of the elite athlete lifestyle. He whispers solemnly in reply, “I was in full training for the Riverview Gold Cup and feeling in top form, the boat was moving well. Then, after the final training session, my back completely gave out. I needed help just to get out of the boat”. While feeling great empathy for Dom (he sustained a similar injury to that experienced by Drew Ginn, Duncan Free and many other top rowers) I can’t help but feel relieved that my fears of a Grimm retirement have proved to be unfounded.
While Dom was explaining this to me the vows were taken, and now the ecstatic Bride and Groom are signing the register. I press him further on his plans for the future, “I had the choice of trying to manage the injury throughout this season or take some time out of the boat and make sure I was good to go for 2013-14. I’m confident that I will be in peak shape next year.” This is indeed good news. Dom broke a long SRC drought by winning a world championship gold medal in the coxed pair at Karapiro in 2010 and all at Sydney are hoping Dom can continue on the path to the top of the sport.
A student at the prestigious Sydney Boys High school, whose alumni include SRC greats Doug Donoghue AM, Keith Jameson OAM, and Gianmarco DeNigris, Dom was a talented but wayward youth. It was only when he came across the road to Sydney and started training under Gary Robertson that he began to realise his enormous potential. Dom rose through the ranks quickly to the stage where he was a world champion at the young age of 23. Since then his international career has been hampered by persistent injury as was the case this year.
With his back fully recovered however and a solid pre-season of land training behind him, Dom will be well placed to attack the next Olympic cycle and fight to regain his place on the national team. In the meantime Dom has balanced training with part time work in the professional services industry and studies in sports administration.
Bride and Groom are preparing to walk down the aisle together as husband and wife, but I decide to sneak out a side door before the fanfare starts playing. As happy as I was to celebrate the matrimonial union of the two SRC members, I am even more overjoyed at the prospect of Dom Grimm getting back into the boat with his Sydney comrades. It is in that context that he and his rowing partners will undoubtedly form their own bonds, the strength, fidelity, and endurance of which would be the envy of any married couple.
On Sunday April 7 in the SRC gym we tested almost 40 school boys and girls for the SRC winter rowing program, Sydney Rowing Club Talent Advancement Program (STAP).
The program is designed to give year 10 and 11 students the chance to continue their rowing over winter, improve their skills, experience life at a club and create pathways for continued rowing after school.
Athletes came from a range of schools to participate in national standard testing which consists of Concept 2 dyno measurements and an incremental step test on a stationary bike. The standards were high with almost all athletes ranking highly on the testing criteria.
It was also great to see eight of last year’s STAP boys were at the club for a reunion paddle and had a great time.
Also five of last year’s SRC STAP members have nominated for the national junior team, Rob Wells, Sam Hardie, Sam Horsley, Dylan Boakes and Charlie Patterson. Good luck boys!
The day was made possible by the contribution of several club members who committed their Sunday mornings to help out. Simon Nola, Kendall Brodie, Angus Bagby, Lachlan Hine and James Riley collected data on the hordes of school kids who descended on the gym.
Also present were James Chapman and Tim McLaren adding a star quality to the proceedings. They did a great job chatting and providing inspiration to the kids and their parents.
These club members’ contributions are greatly appreciated and they also helped to provide a picture of one of the great aspects of the club.
So we are looking forward to a busy winter at the club and a bright future at SRC.
With perfect conditions prevailing at the Iron Cove regatta course on Sunday 7 April, Kim Lloyd Jones opened the ledger for SRC with a 2nd placing in a composite E quad scull.
In what many viewed as an upset, the Steve Handley coached Men’s D-E eight stormed home nearly six seconds ahead of the Leichhardt eight to win the final. The crew was Lloyd Jones, Ward, Barrett, Quitzau, Law, Graham, Greenslade - stroked by Roger Brighton and cox: Scott Trayhurn.
It was a sprint back to the pontoon for Carl Quitzau, Archie Law, Stephen Graham, David Greenslade, Roger Brighton and Scott Trayhurn, who backed up in the A-C eight narrowly beaten (1.57 seconds) by a fresh Glebe composite crew who are the State Masters eight, so a terrific race for the light blue men. Congratulations also go to Coach Handley.
Kaye Smythe, racing as a G grader, showed off her excellent form wining the F-J single scull, 5.74 seconds ahead of her nearest rival from the Leichhardt Rowing Club.
With a 12.99 second margin between them and the UNSW crew, Kerren Turcato, Kirsten Liljekvist, Kim Odolphi and Jen Edge flew home to win the A-B Quad Scull.
Deb Church and Ken Ambler combined in the mixed double scull. They were daylight ahead at the 500m, coming home nearly 10 seconds ahead of the crew from Glebe.
Kim Lloyd Jones, Sue Ella Day, Lynette Wherry and Kristen Greaves gained 3rd place in the D Quad Scull. Then Kirsten Liljekvist and Jen Edge teamed up with a Leichhardt/Sydney composite A-C eight and another win for the day.
Next up Maria Daniele was second in the E single Scull.
Ken Ambler was joined by St George rowers, including fellow state crew member, Stephen Irons to win the E quad scull by clear water ahead of the Leichhardt No. 2 crew.
Roger Brighton and Charles Lloyd Jones had a cracker of a race in the D-E pair to win and leaving their opponents to follow in 10.63 seconds of their wash.
Ken Ambler took to the water yet again and convincingly won his F-J single from Lakes Rowers and the St George No. 2 sculler.
And in the final race of the day, Kirsten Liljekvist, in a very composite boat, easily won the mixed eights division 2 race.
Ernest William Chapman OAM
Thursday 28 March 2013
Camellia Chapel, Macquarie Park Crematorium
Ernest William Chapman, OAM, was a remarkable man.
Loving husband to Jennifer, loving father of Graeme and Jill, father-in-law of Doug and proud grandfather of Melissa and Ian.
As we have heard Lindsay tell, Ernie grew up in Drummoyne and lived and worked in the area for all of his life.
As a young man Ernie commenced his rowing at the Balmain Rowing Club, serving as Club Captain, before switching to Sydney Rowing Club and the prospect of representative honours.
And they followed!
After winning various NSW Champion fours and eights with Sydney in the early 1950s, Ernie was three times an emergency to winning NSW King’s Cup crews and a member of two runners-up.
Ernie and his lifelong friend Vic Middleton were selected to represent Australia as emergencies for the eight and won the pair-oared event at the 1951 Centennial Games in Christchurch.
But it was not all hard work rowing in New Zealand. It was on this tour that Ernie met and won the heart of Jennifer.
Ernie became the proudest of Olympians when selected in the Australian boat which won the bronze medal behind the USA and Russia in the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki. This was the first time Australia medalled in the Olympic eights event after three earlier attempts - a feat matched by only five of the fifteen Australian Olympic eights that have followed.
“Once an Olympian, always an Olympian” and, from where I sit, there has been no crew, no rowing section, and no Olympic team that has emphasised this proud truth more than those who represented us in 1952.
The 1952 rowers, of whom I believe Phillip Arthur Cayzer, Mervyn Finlay and Vic Middleton are here today, were central members of one of the most exclusive clubs in the world – the Kapyla Club, which took its name from the 1952 Olympic Village in Helsinki and was restricted to the 84 members of our Team at those Games. They included 1952 Olympic champions Shirley Strickland, Marjorie Jackson, Russell Mockridge, Lionel Cox, John Davies, Ernie’s close friend and 1948 Olympic champion Mervyn T Wood, and the great John Landy who, along with Marjorie, went on to become State Governors.
And the fact that under Presidents, the late John Treloar and Ray Smee, the Kapyla Club now always meet for their annual reunion lunches at Sydney Rowing Club, commencing with a shot of aquavit and pickled herring, was largely due to Ernie.
On retirement from active rowing Ernie followed his close friend, Olympic coxswain and coach, Tom Chessell to Newington, where Ernie coached the winning Head of the River eight in 1966.
It was at Newington where Ernie commenced mentoring the young Michael Dennis Morgan - later to become his good friend, an Olympic silver medallist, an Australian, and Newington’s most successful, coach.
Ernie was a Sydney grade and school rugby referee at St Joseph’s and Newington Colleges. A black letter type referee, who did not tolerate fighting, Ernie refereed the first ever Colts grand final at North Sydney Oval between Manly and Eastern Suburbs. He sent off five players.
Community involvement and service were important to Ernie. He was a pillar of the church and a Lodge member at Birkenhead.
He was a long-serving boat race official, Vice President of Rowing NSW and life member of the NSW Union of Rowers.
But it was to Sydney Rowing Club that Ernie made his greatest contribution and where he was an institution.
Champion oarsman, coach, Vice-Captain for eight years, a Vice then Senior President for four, before being elected President from 1975 to 1978 and then from 1979 to 1995 – a total of 19 years. Ernie was awarded the Club’s Honour Blazer in 1959 and Life Membership in 1974.
As President, Ernie transformed the Club by recruiting another former rower from Newington, John Manning Turnbull, for the position of Secretary/Manager and engaging Steve and Helen Dedes to run the Club restaurant – a family association which pleasingly continues today through Steve’s son, Con.
I came to know Ernie personally when I joined Sydney Rowing Club with Homebush Boys High in the mid-‘60s and then served with him on the Club committee.
In those days Ernie would row to the Club and home each day from across the river at Gladesville. He would take the bus up to Five Dock, check-in at the Sydney County Council, where he was an Installations Manager, collect his Council van which could be seen parked in the President’s spot at the Club for much of the day, before returning it by 4.00pm and being back in the Club by 5.30pm.
While, as “My Lord Ernest” as many of us addressed him, Ernie was relaxed entertaining Governors and other dignitaries, he always retained his common touch, drinking with the members opposite his favourite Resch’s tap at the corner of the bar and from where, as President, he could formally welcome women who entered the Club with a peck on the cheek, before rowing home to Jennifer and the children for dinner.
Ernie loved Sydney Rowing Club and fittingly enjoyed lunch there last Thursday with Jennifer and his 1952 team mates, Mervyn Finlay and Vic Middleton, and their wives Prue and Margaret just before he collapsed.
I swam most mornings with Ernie and his mate Nick, in their case breaststroke, in the slow lane at Drummoyne Pool until Ernie could no longer manage.
“Good morning cobber” was a nice greeting from Ernie to start each day.
Ernie was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 1989 for his “service to the sport of rowing and to the community”.
Throughout his life – through his integrity, his sense of fair play, his dignity, his respect for others and his attitude to life – Ernest William Chapman embodied all the values and virtues that the Olympic Movement treasures.
Ernie would often say - “it’s nice to be among nice people”.
Ernie, we will miss you not being among us!
John D Coates AC
SENIOR MEN’S SWEEP
Alex Lloyd – Canberra based
Spencer Turrin – Canberra based
James Chapman – Melbourne based
Chris Morgan – Sydney based
SENIOR MEN’S LIGHTWEIGHT SCULLING
Simon Nola – Sydney based
SENIOR WOMEN’S SWEEP
Tess Gerrand – Canberra based
U23 MEN’S SWEEP
Tom Gunton – Sydney based
Ed White – Sydney based
U23 WOMEN’S SCULLING
Leah Saunders – Sydney based
This list does not include coxswains or U21/Junior athletes that I will be recommending trial for the team selection (Jnr & U21 are voluntary and not invitational). The full list out and placed on the noticeboard in the club.
I had organised several weeks ago to get a lift out to Penrith for the World Cup regatta with Simon Nola. At the time I had given little thought to his racing schedule, but having watched first his win in the lightweight quad for Sydney on Friday, and then his 3rd place finish in the interstate Penrith cup for NSW on Saturday, I began to worry if my request for an early start was perhaps too great a tariff to ask of a man who had just endured 6 consecutive days of racing. It is a given that once the season is completed the lightweights will reward themselves with a night of hedonism, casting off the shackles they have cast upon themselves during the previous 10 months of training.
Waiting by my front door on this warm Sunday morning, I was about to forgive Nola his tardiness when I saw his Silver Peugeot round a nearby corner. Checking my phone again I see he is precisely on time. I shouldn’t be surprised; as a lightweight he must take exacting care to measure the inputs and outputs from his body to ensure he weighs in right on 70kgs. In his career as a trader on the floor at CBA he must execute his trades at the correct volume and price and at the right time or shareholders could lose millions. In short, he is a man for whom most all moments of the day are charted and planned with cartographic accuracy. Whether this is a trait with which he was born or a result of his strict Jesuit upbringing is unsure, but what is certain is that I will be arriving at the Penrith Regatta Centre at 9 am ready to take in the morning heats before the world cup finals.
Greeting Nola I am surprised at his energy for this early hour, with a skim latte in one hand he extends the other, shaking it I can’t help but note an apprehensive layer of sweat. Having enjoyed a successful regatta I am quick to congratulate the former SRC Club Captain and he takes my compliments in the sincere spirit with which they are offered “This was my 12th nationals, and the lighty quad was the first time I’ve won a gold medal”. I am taken aback, Nola has long been recognised as one of the top lightweights in NSW, evidenced by his multiple selections in the state team, and I had taken as read that he would have picked up a few titles through the years. This opinion is formed however without a true knowledge of just how competitive the lightweight scene is. The champion lightweights seem to strike their peak at around 35 and as such they remain in the sport a lot longer than most heavyweights.
Whenever I have to opportunity to speak to Nola I am keen to seek out his thoughts on the state of affairs both at SRC and rowing generally in Australia. He is considered by shrewd judges to be a wise counsel due to his long time at the club and strong intellect. While he is only 28, a young man by any standard (masters A grade) he has been an active member of SRC since 2001, longer than anyone else in the shed rowing at this year’s nationals. He is also a certified philosopher having completed his studies at Sydney University some years ago specialising in the theories of Descartes. It was Descartes who famously coined the phrase Cogito Ergo Sum (I think therefore I am), but on this occasion my thoughts are dominated by a sense that Nola’s usually gregarious nature is giving way to tension as he speaks quickly and enthusiastically like a nervous actor bluffing backstage before opening night.
Nola’s demeanour seems strange to me; he should be at ease with the world after his performance in the Penrith Cup the day before, the crew charging home in the final stages of the race to finish 3rd, NSW’s first medal in the event in 7 years. “I reckon if it wasn’t for the start we might have pushed Tasmania for 2nd, we just had some shocking strokes in the first 100 metres and dropped way back. Having experienced running last in that race before (in 2011 and 2010) I was fearing the worst but we started to pick our way through the field and we were running really well in the last half of the race. Nevertheless, very happy with 3rd” I had seen the race replayed on television and Nola’s description matched my memory of events. The crew had done a fine job and will be well placed to challenge for ascendency in years to come.
It is only as we are pulling into the car park at SIRC that I notice that Nola is wearing a white Australian team singlet and bright yellow team shorts. I ask if he had perhaps swapped gear with another athlete yesterday when he reveals the source of his nervous excitement on the drive west, “After the quad on Friday RA decided to enter a lightweight quad in for the World Cup. The Dragon was selected” Now it makes sense to me, Nola has been steeling himself for the high point of his rowing career to date, racing for the national team. While he has previously represented Norfolk Island at the Commonwealth Games, it is his dream to row for Australia in an Olympics, and this moment marks a major step towards that end. No more needs be said between Nola and myself. I leave, offering only a confident nod and firm shake of the hand, heading off to the grandstand. There I will sit with hundreds of others to watch Nola as he continues on his rowing odyssey.
The inaugural Sydney International Rowing Regatta was billed as the biggest rowing event to hit our shores since the Sydney Olympics and, as it did in 2000, the Penrith Lakes regatta centre provided an exceptional venue as it played host the best rowers in the country. Blessed with perfect conditions throughout the week there were no excuses for competitors as they lined up for the climax of the elite racing season.
The first component of the regatta was the national championships the highlight of which for Sydney was undoubtedly the performance of Leah Saunders in the U23 single sculls. Leah won her heat on Monday comfortably to qualify in a centre lane for the A final. From there she started strongly, racing to a length lead at the half way mark, before the Queensland sculler Eleanor Wilson raised an effort to reduce the margin to just a canvas at the 1500m station. Once into the final stages however it was Leah who had more to give, and while Wilson put a big gap between her and 3rd place she could not match the plucky sculler from Maclean who went on to win by a length. This was an outstanding performance from Leah who will be eligible for U23 racing for a couple more years, suggesting future national Senior B representation is on the horizon.
Another proud moment for Sydney supporters came in the final of men’s lightweight quad, where the crew of Hugh McLeod, Dean Robinson, Simon Nola, and Dennis Bernhardsson scored an emotional victory. Wearing black armbands in honour of Ernie Chapman, the crew that included some of our longest serving active members charged to an early lead and never looked back, increasing their margin at every time check to ultimately win by a length and a half. This was quite a performance considering the race had drawn together the finest lightweights from around the country, most of whom were advantaged by racing in composite crews that combined the best talent from their states. Composite crews from Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales faced the starter but it was the true blue men of SRC that stood tall at the finish, sending a message that SRC is the new home of lightweight men’s rowing in Australia.
The interstate races were held on Saturday and drew an enthusiastic crowd out to Penrith to bear witness to the intense rivalries and crisp rowing that invariably accompanies the state of origin racing. First up for Sydney was Tess Gerrand racing in the single for the first time in a while having predominately trained in sweep boats since her selection in the Australian women’s eight. This showed in the race with Tess finishing behind a field of specialist scullers.
Next we saw the Penrith Cup for lightweight men, a boat for which the NSW crew was dominated by SRC, with Dennis, Simon and Deano alongside Syndey Uni’s Ed Carvalho (Hugh McLeod was reserve). NSW has performed poorly in this race in recent years, and after a terrible start from the men in blue it seemed another last place finish was on the cards. The boys dug deep however, picking up the rating and going for home before the 1000m mark to move through into 3rd. The effort told in the final stages with the West Australian’s coming back late but the NSW crew fought bravely to hold on to the bronze medal position. This was the first time NSW had medalled in the Penrith Cup since 2006 and ultimately proved crucial to the final pointscore result.
Leah Saunders continued her great week, taking her place along with Millicent Cheetham in the victorious NSW youth eight. This was perhaps the most exciting performance from a NSW perspective, with the girls winning in a time that would have finished 2nd in the senior eight, a sign that perhaps in years to come this group will be able to break Victoria’s dominance in the Queens Cup. For the individual members of the crew, it is clear that there will be seats up for grabs in Australian crews in the lead up to Rio so Leah and her teammates will be well placed to move into the top echelons of the sport in coming years.
Kendall Brodie made her debut in the NSW senior crew, coxing the Queens Cup crew that finished 5th. This was a worthy honour for Kendall who, as many SRC members can attest, has forged a reputation as a fine coxswain that should see her have a long career in the Queens Cup Crew for NSW.
The Kings Cup saw the old and the new for SRC, with 5 time winner James Chapman in the crew alongside rookie Spencer Turrin. Despite a couple changes to the crew that has dominated the race in recent years, as well as a few notables having a post-Olympics year off from serious training, it was business as usual for NSW. They kicked to an unassailable lead in the first half before a desperate challenge from the Victorians reduced the margin to a canvas on the line. In truth the Nick Garratt coached crew never looked under threat as they recorded a 6th consecutive win in the prestigious race much to the delight of the parochial home crowd. Chris Morgan rowed in the 3 seat of the South Australian crew that finished 3rd.
The regatta ended with the World Cup that pitted the Australian crews against competition from NZ, Great Britain and the United States. SRC was represented by the usual suspects; Tess in the pair and eight, Chapman in the four (while Turrin and Lloyd raced in the B crew), and Chris Morgan in the men’s quad. Simon Nola also received a late call up to represent Australia for the first time in the lightweight quad.
Tess began with a 3rd place in the pair, but all eyes were on the women’s eight to see if the Australians could repeat their victory from the heats over the reigning Olympic champions, USA. What followed was a magnificent race from the ‘motley crew’, who led by as much as a length before holding off a late charge from the Americans to win by a canvas. Those lucky enough to be in attendance experienced the biggest cheers in the SIRC grandstand for many years as the local fans screamed the ‘motley crew’ home.
Sydney RC members would be thrilled by the result in the men’s four, with the old bull Chapman racing in the top Aussie crew that narrowly defeated the younger combination that featured Turrin and Lloyd. This augers well both for Spencer and Alex’s future in the Rowing Australia team, as well as Chappo’s recovery from his persistent wrist injuries. It was truly a joy to see 3 SRC members on the victory pontoon at an international regatta, and hopefully this is a taste of things to come now that a new group of members are moving into the national team.
For full results visit: https://www.regattacentral.com/regatta/results2/index.jsp?job_id=2760&org_id=0