Coach Cech Takes Top Honour

Sydney Rowing Club’s Head Coach Donovan Cech has  been awarded the distinction of Rowing NSW coach of the year. The honour came in recognition of a fantastic season for the club’s elite program under Don’s leadership. SRC also took home the 2015-16 youth pointscore shield and a number of the club’s athletes were presented with scholarships from the NSW Union of Rowers.

Don Cech with his 2015 Henley winning crew

The NSW rowing community came together for the annual presentation dinner on Tuesday night to celebrate the 2015-16 season and recognise the best achievements and contributions of the year. The glittering ceremony was held at the UTS clubhouse, with both the athletic and administrative stars of the sport assembled in their finest livery. This included the particularly arresting sight of the St George, Leichhardt and Sydney tables all wearing club blazers in a proud show of traditionalism.

2015 02 15_0159 Donovan Cech with Deloitte Trophy
Don Cech with the QL Deloitte trophy in 2015

The crowd was welcomed by the delightful Sarah Cooke, Olympian and Rowing NSW Director, who spoke passionately about the struggles at the elite levels and the importance of clubs as the foundation for any success. Then followed a Mezze starter and awarding of youth scholarships from the Union of Rowers. Senior Union official Paul Coates presented the cheques, including to young SRC members Harriet Hudson, Pasha Bevan and Charlie Patterson who were each grateful for the Union’s support of young athletes and better conditions for rowers.

Over the season the Rowing Association runs a number of point-score competitions across the different boat classes. This year SRC won the youth shield for points in under 19 and 21 races held across the season. Club Captain Paul Coates received the shield on behalf of the club and paid thanks to the many volunteers who contribute to the successful operation of regattas throughout the year. St George Rowing club won the overall point-score and recognition as the top club in NSW.

After a main of alternate service of beef and salmon, the CEO of Rowing NSW; Anthony ‘Doc’ Blower presented the individual merit awards. This year the athletes of the year were Sal Kehoe and Cam Girdlestone from SUBC, both of whom were abroad in training for the Rio Olympics. SRC’s own Donovan Cech was awarded coach of the year for 2015-16, a great honour placing him alongside the likes of past winners Nick Garret, Phil Bourguignon and Dr Andrew Randell. Lachlan Carter was on hand to receive the award in Don’s absence and spoke of his keen eye and eagerness to race his athletes.

Other notable honours recipients were Vic Walter, who received the Rusty Robertson award for his outstanding contribution as a regatta official over many years and Dave Jennings, who was awarded schoolboy coach of the year for a record 5th occasion. The night was enjoyed by all and thanks must go to the Rowing NSW staff for their efforts in organising the event.