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Boat Christening – The Lachlan Carter by Leah Saunders

Good morning to our Sydney Rowing Club family.

We all know that Sydney Rowing Club is the best rowing club in the galaxy, so it is quite the honour to have a boat in this fleet named after you. For a man who bleeds blue, loves rowing, and believes (to his very core… and enough to publicize to anyone who will… or will not listen) – that Sydney Rowing Club really is the best place in the world… this is well and truly deserved.

We are here to celebrate, and christen the Lachlan Carter. The very first athlete to introduce himself to me when I arrived at Sydney Rowing Club. He shook my hand, and gave himself a name… “Carts”.

Today, I’d like to share some quirks and characteristics which make Carts such a well loved and important cog who makes Sydney Rowing Club a better place to be. Some of the reasons why he so deserves a boat to be named after him.

He is a coach, colleague, team player, friend… and in the words of the athletes themselves, a guy who always has your back as a coach and a mate.

Carts bleeds blue. The Sydney Rowing Club blue. It’s an exact shade and you shouldn’t get it wrong. Carts will choose something just because it is Sydney Rowing Club blue. I came down to the club recently to collect something, and Carts greeted me with a compliment… “Oh, nice dress Leah!” I didn’t expect him to comment, and honestly I was surprised until he went on to say… “It’s the Sydney Rowing Club blue!”. Drink bottles, socks, hats, anything. Sydney Rowing Club Blue. Just how good are the oars… When they’re painted! Sydney Rowing Club blue!!

The Sydney Rowing Club motto is Mens Sana in Corpore Sano, a latin phrase which in English translates to healthy mind, healthy body. Carts has always been a caring and empathetic person, who understands that it is people who make boats move. It is people who get boats across the finish line first. People are not machines, and everyone has tricky mental days. Carts recognizes that to be physically ready to row well, our mind must be equally ready. He embodies the club motto in his everyday coaching, with his respect for athlete mental wellbeing, which makes us in light blue feel supported.

Carts gets around everyone who loves to row. He doesn’t discriminate between the real battlers and the elite, and has a profound knack in recognizing strengths in absolutely anybody. He will notice these strengths in others, and demonstrate them; to upskill all of us. It’s a one team mentality. Tom Gunton is a scat man at the best of times, but he has guts… and he is brave…. You’ve gotta race with that intensity.

You’ve gotta anticipate the catch like Harriet, pick the rest of the boat up. In and on…

It’s a well known fact that you should be doing “Morgs” laps of Hen and Chicken Bay… riiiight around the edges as close to the bank as you can be – no cutting corners. There’s even an acronym named after Morgs himself. Put simply… BLM. Be. Like. Morgs.

Carts is a kite holder. We are his little light blue kites. Allowed the freedom to fly, and the knowledge that someone will always be there to give you the grounding; to give you extra length in the string to go away and do fun, and fantastic things in this country; at SIRC, Iron Cove, Taree Summer Regatta; or overseas… Henley, New Zealand, Switzerland; and someone always there to give you a little tug and a little jolt juuust when your head starts to get a bit big for your own good. We like our team to be modest around here.

Carts is a tricky fellow who seems to have worked out the healthy balance of support and cajoling in his coaching – it’s a sneaky balance and you don’t quiiiiite know which end of the spectrum you’ll receive. There are times when you speak to Carts really needing to melt on someone because you’re having a shit day on the water, and you want someone to tell you that you’re great, and maybe to have a quiet afternoon, decrease those watts a smidgen on the ergo… He instead gives it to you straight and simple – there’s never any messing around. He cuts out all complications… do your job. “Good luck Leah. No matter how hard it is, don’t quit 2 minutes before the miracle happens. Just hold on a bit longer, and you’ll see that it is not far away, and then you’ll be on the other side. Be brave. Be Blue.”

In hindsight you know it’s exactly what you needed to hear…. There are times when you’re doubting yourself beyond what is sensible. It’s paralyzing when you have nerves which make you feel like you’ve forgotten how to put oars in the water… just wanting it to be over and done with. Carts will proffer some wisdom… “You need to accept it now and be prepared to fight. Don’t think about it as something you want to get over and done with. Think of it as an opportunity.”

“When you wake up in the morning, I want you to say “I love rowing”. Think about what you would do just to be involved in the National Time trial if you weren’t on the list. You want to be in this situation, so live it, love it, and have a crack. Enjoy the row champion”. There is a little part of me who believes that Carts has a secret psychology degree tucked up his sleeve. He knows his athletes well enough to be able to recognize when to put those thoughts back in our heads, just when we really need them most. So that we are ready to go again.

9/10 times, Carts is a hands on kind of guy. He is a great balance of proactive and reactive. He is hardworking, right from the little tasks to the big road block challenges. Getting the women’s Sydney Rowing Club program off the ground has always been a slippery devil of a duty. We are nestled here on the Parramatta between several big boys schools – Newington, Scotts, Sydney Grammar, Shore, and Kings. With strong ties geographically, as well as our talent scout JB, it’s fitting that the influx of men to our club almost has a life of its own. Carts works tirelessly to not only recruit women, but create and support a happy environment for them to live and row. With no concrete channels like nearby schools to foster the flow of women to our club, the recruitment and maintenance of the women’s program is a relentless task which rears its head often. In acknowledging this, and as a female rower at the club myself – I have never felt that I am part of an irritatingly tiresome task – quite the contrary. We are welcomed and celebrated.

Carts embodies the club spirit. In fact, he even embodies the training program! Formerly an athlete at Sydney Rowing Club himself, until 2012, when he was unfortunately plagued by degenerated and squashed discs; and a locked up SI joint… A painful mess. You would have noticed by now that Carts is on crutches at the moment, having earnt himself another nickname… The Crip Swing.

Earlier this year, Carts joined some of our rowing squad in the City to Surf. He trained so much, and ran so hard that he gave himself a stress fracture in the head of his femur. A nasty injury that has taken its toll, and we all hope you get better very soon. It is lucky though, that we have such a nice new pontoon that it’s easier for a crip swinger to clamber into the tinny.

Carts is a perfectionist. Seeking better in many ways. There are times when he will come up to his athletes and say… “I’ve been telling you to seek this feeling in the boat… Don’t do that anymore… I just rowed the Kirsten Liljekvist to Silverwater and back (it was bloody awesome, HOW GOOD are the trainer singles, you’ve just GOT to try one out). Anyway I tried some things, and here is what you’ve got to think about instead of this… He will go on to describe the feeling he has been seeking up to Silverwater and back – dodging all those boys schools along the way.

Carts is a STRONG candidate for making sure that boats are slipperily clean, chamois and everything. The way that boats are tied on, little knacks around the shed, trailer packing… You name it. It’s gotta be good. Carts has the eyes to make sure it’s done well.

Carts certainly has his finger on the pulse. He knows the lowdown in rowing, hot off the press… With ties to Rowing Australia, Rowing New South Wales, NSIWS, and clubs from rural NSW, right around the country. He knows the best positioning of the Sydney Rowing Club sticker placement on our cars…. AND frontline of fashion – “everyone has to wear the retro Sydney Rowing Club shirts. We look amazing. Like a team.”

Carts always thinks outside the box, and is ALWAYS willing to share with whoever stands nearby… “We need a prime minister who can stop the wind”… “I wonder if the water under the Gladesville bridge is shallow enough so that if we blew the bridge up, no ferries would be able to get past”… “Sydney Rowing Club should just put a tennis court right on top of the club”… “having a shower is like vertical swimming”…

Harriet Hudson is the lucky girl to row in the Lachlan Carter. She says: I think that Carts has definitely seen all of us at our best and at our worst, when I moved down to Sydney it was definitely the case of a country girl in a big city. Since moving down, Carts has helped me more than I begin to describe. It really comforts me to know though that Carts has always got my back as a coach, and also as a mate. I think it’s a good luck charm and I feel honoured to be able to row in a skiff named after a legend like carts.

Finally… Carts is the person you want to see at 5am in Winter before a long session… when you’ve left your speed coach at home… When your races are too close… and some mysterious liaising in funny regatta language with the boat race officials needs to be done so you can actually get to the start line on time… when you want some extra video analysis… when you missed out on winning that race by juuuuust the tiniest bit! Frustratingly so …. Or when you won that race by 20 boat lengths…. When you just need a hug… Here for the long haul alongside us all, through thick and thin, high and low. Carts, you make Sydney Rowing Club a better place to be. Congratulations on your new boat!


Rowers’ Reunion Invite

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Annual Dinner 2017 by Coach Carter

The 2017 Sydney Rowing Club Annual Dinner was a night to remember with guest speaker Leah Saunders being the star of the evening. Andrew Rowley did a fantastic job as MC making everyone who spoke on the night feel incredibly good about themselves as he read out their credentials and rowing history before welcoming them to come up to the mic to speak.

The menu was fantastic and all praise must go to Con Dedes and his staff for putting on a bloody good feed. The entrée this year was a vast improvement on last year as Chappo so aptly pointed out. Very good things are happening in the catering department this year with all of the changes that are happening up in the watergrill.
Over 100 people showed up to the evening and the vibe was feeling just right. President Keith Jameson was awarded a SRC blade by Vice President Steve Handley commemorating Keith’s 20yrs as Club president. Keith shared stories of his love and passion for rowing and this club. Thank you, Keith for everything you’ve done for SRC and may you serve as president for another 20yrs.
Just before Leah was up to speak I was given the pleasure of welcoming and sharing a little bit about her. I had nothing but positive things to say as we all know that she is the most bubbly character and friend to us all. She’s achieved so much in her career so far and we are very proud to have her as a member of a club.
Leah spoke brilliantly and was so humble in the way that she delivered her speech. It wasn’t your typical rowing guest speaker who would simply just tell you about all of their success and how good they are and basically run through every race that they won. Hers was a story about all of the people who helped her to get where she is today and what they mean to her. Almost everyone in the club got a mention which shows how we as a community help each other to achieve success. Everyone in the room was captivated by the club legend and were speaking so highly of her and her story. Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Leah. I certainly feel blessed to have been part of it and I’m sure everyone in the room felt the same way. We can’t wait to see your success in the future.

Roger Brighton was up next to toast the club and what a terrific toast it was indeed. Really funny stuff. Like me he managed to drop the ‘F’ bomb a few times which was a first as far as annual dinners go. But, like I said before, the vibe was right and everyone was feeling fantastic. Roger shared stories of when he raced for the club in the 80’s and we could all relate because we have similar experiences with our mates today.

Josh Hicks was in attendance having just won the world champs in the Men’s Four. He mentioned that Don Cech had predicted that Josh would be a World Champion this year back in 2015 which meant that Josh was not nervous at all on the start line while the rest of the crew were shitting bricks. Don does have a knack for predicting race/rowing career outcomes.

I was particularly pleased to see guests from the junior women’s Henley quad there (Hilary Ballinger, Ella Hudson from QLD and India Thomson plus parents). What a treat for them to hear Leah’s story and what a privilege for us to have such remarkable junior athletes getting heavily involved with the club.

Overall, it was the best annual dinner I’ve been to and Keith agreed with me on that one. That’s saying a lot because he’s been to almost every annual dinner since 1965. Everyone had a great time and pushed on long into the night. We must have had over half a dozen shandy’s.

The best thing about Sydney Rowing Club is that it just keeps getting better. Can’t wait for next year. If you’ve got any ideas for a guest speaker for 2018 please let us know.

Call for Volunteers – Head of the Parramatta 2017

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SRC Annual Dinner 2017

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Notice of Meeting


Parents Praise Coach Carter

A few weeks before the Henley Women’s Regatta, Don Cech contacted me and asked whether Somerville House rowers- Ella Hudson, Hilary Ballinger and Laura Chancellor would like to consider competing in the junior quad event at this regatta, as well as considering the Holland Beker regatta in Amsterdam.

Don had strategically lined up another young rower; India Thomson in the hope that this last minute, ‘thrown together’, quad could become a reality.

Although they had all competed at Nationals, the three Somerville girls were just at the start of their school rowing season and they had never even met India, let alone rowed with her.

However, after training in Brisbane on the Saturday morning before the planned Henley and Holland Beker regattas departure date, the three Queenslanders flew to Sydney to spend the what was left of the weekend in the care of Don, Lachlan Carter and the Thomson family.

They finally sat together in the quad and as luck would have it, they ‘clicked’ as a crew.

India flew out with the SRC squad, but our Somerville girls had to wait until Tuesday night before they were released from school to fly over to London.

Organising three young girls to fly alone to London Heathrow was quite an anxiety provoking experience for the parents, especially in light of recent terrorism events in the UK. However, the support and reassurance of both Don and Lachy was invaluable; knowing that Lachy would be waiting at Heathrow with 100% certainty was vital to us all. Not surprisingly, as soon as he had the three Queenslanders in the bus, he braved the London traffic and took them straight to the course to train!

Lachy had to live in the same house as the four girls in Henley and he certainly deserves a medal for that feat alone. Not only did he share his expert coaching tips with the quad, but also his culinary and shopping skills. He was a very steadying influence on them despite the overwhelming nature of their first international rowing event.

After a day of sightseeing and punting in Oxford, it was on to Amsterdam, where (once again), Lachy’s care of the girls was exemplary. Organising them in both a junior quad and double scull events was no easy job, but he committed himself to the task with his usual skill and efficiency.

On the final day of their trip, Lachy dropped them safely to the airport and made sure that they were all going to catch the correct flights home, even though he was flying back to London for the Henley Royal Regatta.

Thank you, Lachy, for allowing these four young rowers to experience and enjoy such a wonderful International rowing trip. In addition, we would like to thank Don for his foresight in offering these 4 girls a terrific opportunity to row internationally.

We are certain that their successes in the future will be a reflection of the time and effort you put into them overseas.

The Hudson, Ballinger, Chancellor and Thomson families.

Henley Fundraiser Roaring Success by Kendall Brodie

Members, crew and family mingled as the night began with welcome drinks and canapés, the duck pancakes being notably delightful. Before taking our seats the MC Andrew Rowley drew the guests’ attention to a screen set up at the front of the room where a live feed of the Women’s Henley Regatta was playing. Everyone gathered around the screen to watch the Sydney composite junior women’s quad convincingly win the quarter-finals race which would take them into the semi-final. This was an exciting start to the night and the good news of our overseas crews kept on coming with the announcement of the Australian Men’s four with two SRC athletes claiming gold at World Cup 2 as well as Leah Saunders taking silver in the Women’s Quad. Many of the young members were watching the races on their phones; it made for a great atmosphere that we could all share in the success of our athletes. Team Manager Michael Rowan took to the Mike and highlighted that three out of the five SRC athletes competing at World Cup 2 have represented the club at Henley, and what a pathway to be on for our crews heading overseas!

Britannia Cup 4+

The night was abuzz with so much rowing action going on, the loud auction was a frenzy of hands flying up and a tussle for the Avoca beach house saw Scott Woodward (two-time Henley representative) coming away victorious, he was quick to rope in others to share in the cost which was unlucky for Ed White (2015 Henley winner) sitting next to him. The silent auction saw the bread roll go to Jenny Cole for the bargain price of $20 and a game of heads and tales had lady luck delivering a bottle of champagne to Tom Gunton (Henley winner 2015).

Wyfold 4-

A video put together by Scott Patterson was played featuring the Henley crews training with some dramatic music in the background, it certainly gave the guests a visual of how hard the crews have been working, not to mention how tidy their rowing is looking! James Chapman stepped forth and called the crews up, introducing each member, some with more roasting than others. It was great to see the turnout from our members, notably previous Henley representatives and current US based athletes. It was a festive evening and very successful in fundraising for the tour, thank you to everyone who came and best of luck to our touring athletes!

Henley Royal Regatta Major Fundraiser this Sunday

Join us for a night of celebrating in the Smoking Goat Restaurant as we send off Sydney Rowing Club’s four Henley crews. they are the Britannia 4+ of Charlie Patterson, Will O’Connell, Michael Bernerius, Alex Nichol and coxswain Charlie Nicholas. The Wyfold 4- of Nick Clifton, Jack Quinn, Clinton Boltman and Max Brenner. The Frank V Harry Cup 4- of Maddy Farrar, Susie Dear, Candice Williams and Emily Partridge and the JW4X Sydney composite of Ella Hudson, Laura Chancellor, Hillary Ballinger and India Thomson. Crews will be accompanied by coaches Lachlan Carter, James Chapman and Team Manager Michael Rowan. There will be raffles silent and loud auctions so come along on Sunday 18 June and support the crews. Click here for the booking form.  See you there!

SRC Blazer orders now open

The club is again taking orders for the Sydney Rowing Club blazer. The blazer, introduced in 2015, is a traditional tailor-made two-button striped boating blazer with a light blue base and ivory stripes bordered each side by a dark blue pinstripe. The club’s emblem appears on the pocket, and the cloth is 100% wool. A bulk order of ten or more will include the blazer measuring at the club. Click here to make your order.

SRC’s Henley Crew sporing the blazer