Festive spirits may have been in the air, but the idyllic Christmas experience was far removed in the heady heat at the 2015 Reindeer Regatta. SIRC came alive with lively Christmas costumes and North Pole paraphernalia. The competition was never in question, there of course, and no-one let the festival fanfare alter their game. This was typified in the debut event of the regatta as Leah Saunders won the under 23 Lightweight Women’s Scull in classic form. She was followed shortly after by second and third placings of fellow under 23 troubadours in the lightweight coxless pair featuring Messrs Boakes, Haskard, Courts and Wells. The under16 men’s scull procured some noteworthy results as well with Timothy ‘Tuner’ Trent coming first over St. George’s alliteration alumnus Konrad Kluck.
Two divisions, two Master’s Doubles, two shiny medals; the gentrified gentleman of SRC proved their worth by taking home both titles. Georgia Bradley came a resounding third in the under 21 women’s scull, as did the aforementioned under 23 pair rowers who snagged a cheeky W in the A/B Men’s Coxless fours. This four-man ferocity produced a second placing in the Men’s under 16 coxed quad, where novice rower Lucas ‘Good-Song’ Chabo employed his skills and earned some well-deserved stripes. Maxwell Duignan and Maximilian ‘Cheer’ Brenner both topped UTS for first place in the under 21 men’s Scull. Two consecutive firsts ensued as the afternoon matured: Charlotte ‘Expectation’ Trent (women’s under 16 scull) and athletes West, Lloyd Jones, Greenslade and Brighton (master’s coxless four).
Fiona Martin, Kaye Smythe, Deb Church and Dorothy De George made a classy come-from-behind win in the women’s master’s quad scull which show cased their many years of experience behind a sculling blade.
The afternoon was graced by possibly the most decked out coxed quad at the entire regatta. Spectators applauded as a coxswain dressed as St. Nicholas drifted by encased in a mock-up sleigh around his seat. The big man was accompanied by an entourage of antler-toting rowers with neon blue streamers attached to their riggers. The spectacle helped enliven a taxing day of races and reminded everyone of the Christmas carousal that exemplified this auspicious regatta. Gavin Parcsi honoured his female counterpart’s success by besting the Lightweight Men’s Scull. Lucas ‘Dettol’ Giles and Max Brenner blazed to glory in the under 21 double scull alongside a fellow Sydney crew in the next division. A successful and festive day was had at that most prestigious of race courses in this most auspicious regatta, commemorating the season break for the holiday of the year.
Story by: John Bivell
Hugh McLeod completed a stunning form reversal on Sunday, winning the prestigious men’s open single scull title at the NSW Sprint Championships. After a long period of exodus, McLeod’s return to the elite ranks of sculling left onlookers marvelling and provided a real lift for club mates a SRC enjoyed another day in the sun at Penrith.
Only a small group from Sydney backed up the next day for the Sprint Championships following a gruelling Reindeer Regatta on Saturday. Amongst them was Hugh McLeod despite many rowing commentators declaring the former lightweight a spent force in the small boat.
A win in Newcastle last month was dismissed as an easy kill on local waters, while fresher in the minds of Penrith locals was his failure over 2000m the day before An ignominious defeat renewed calls for McLeod to accept a gracious retirement and accolades for past glories.
Hugh, however was keeping the faith, casting his elephantine memory back five years to when he was crowned fastest man in NSW. Students of boat speed have long argued that the art form is one not dulled by the winds of time, but since Liam James took the title so memorably as the SRC regatta of 2011, few thought Hugh could climb the mountain again.
Such predictions were made a folly on Sunday as McLeod turned the heckles into hails in comprehensively winning the men’s open single, and in doing so earning the right to challenge James for the title of fastest man in NSW.
Against a blue chip field of scullers from across the state, McLeod was dominant in recording a length victory described as evidence of divine intervention in the sport of rowing.
The win in the feature event had a telling impact on the rest of the SRC squad, with performance lifting beyond rational expectations to include wins by Georgia Bradley in the under 17 single and Max Duignan in the under 19 single.
All representatives of the club distinguished themselves, a feat attributable to the senior leadership in the club.
This week we catch up with one of the newer members of the SRC fraternity, Dr Cam Brewer. Since Cam’s move from Western Australia last year the men’s squad have found an extra gear, a testament to his skills in and out of the boat. We caught up with Cam at the club recently to find out more about the man who has become an integral member of the men’s sweep squad.
The SRC annual dinner was held last Saturday night at Dedes Restaurant in Abbotsford. The guest speaker Kitty Chiller captivated the crowd with her insights into the preparations of the Australian team for the Rio games and her background as a world class modern pentathlete.
The annual festival of winter rowing that is the Cayzer Cup was held last weekend in Melbourne with the host club Mercantile reclaiming the coveted cup. With Phil’s passing this year the event held extra significance and the club was duly represented by a touring party of 17 athletes.