After a gruelling sequence of regattas during the last four months, numbers were down for Sydney at the annual grade championships regatta at Penrith. There were however a select group of youth athletes who were keen to represent the club and maintain their racing fitness ahead of the upcoming northern hemisphere season.
SRC has traditionally performed well at the Edward Trickett Grade Championships, an event which rewards depth across different classes of rowers. This year however, with many of our athletes coming of the tough national selection process, and misadventure affecting the senior grade rowing squad, the club only had a small group that competed over the weekend.
The standouts in this bunch were a group of under 21 athletes, for whom the coming months may still hold opportunities for representative and international racing. On the women’s side, the quad of Bianca Riley, Brianna Caputo, Georgia Bradley and Madison Brown won the B grade final ahead of a field of eight crews. Subsequent wins in the A grade double and B grade single delivered a rare Trickett turkey to Bradley.
For the men, similar success came in the B grade quad, winning in a time of 6.09 over a small but select field that included a top Canberra crew. This was followed by the rare sight of an SRC first four in the A grade double sculls, with the combination of Patterson and Boakes narrowly besting Bevan – Barnes, Parcsi – Duignan, and Brenner – Kenny.
The club’s masters also got involved in the action, with a Steve Handley coached crew collecting a bronze in an explosive final of the C four. The Sydney men were up against a tough field but turned heads with their performance, including that of respected rowing analyst Barry Moynihan who commented on the ‘Humphrey Bogart’ looks of the SRC 2 seat, Charles Lloyd Jones.
The legends had earlier won silver in the C eights, marking a successful regatta for the squad ahead of the upcoming state and national master’s championships. The senior men’s squad competed in the D eight with some juniors. The race began well with an early lead to Sydney established over the race favourites Balmain, however the 1000m journey proved too far for the SRC crew, which faded into 5th.
When I first joined SRC I was told by the then club captain, Simon Nola that the club has on numerous occasions won every event at the National Championships. At the time I thought that this was an absurd joke to make as no club could ever be that successful. After last week’s results at the Australian National Championships or the Sydney International Rowing Regatta as it’s known these days, anyone could believe that statement to be true. SRC won the 2016 Champion Club point score after bringing home 21 Gold, 6 Silver and 8 Bronze medals to become the best rowing club in Australia.
There were so many great performances during the week which makes it very difficult to know where to start but it makes sense to begin with our most successful athlete, Harriet Hudson who won five Gold medals in five events (U19 1X, 2X, 4X, 8+ and Club 8+) which is a remarkable achievement. Her focus and determination throughout the season and the regatta have been on point and her preparation flawless. Congratulations on a terrific regatta and all the best for the junior selection trials in April.
It was not only Harriet who did well for the Sydney ladies, in fact every female at SRC at least won a Gold medal. Romola Davenport teamed up with Harriet to claim the U19 4X and 8+ titles and secured a solid 5th place in the U19 1X. All the best to Romy also for junior selection.
Right after I cleaned up their boat, Madison Brown and Emily Partridge cleaned up the Club 2X race. They won in fine form by over a length to finish their tough week on a high and pave the way for the rest of the club boats on the final day.
In the U19 4X Georgia Bradley teamed up with Lauren Lyon of Leichhardt, Crystal Piper of Lower Clarence and Hannah Lisa-Wilding of West Aust RC to storm through the field and claim the silver medal in one of the best races of the regatta. We took Crystal Piper under our wing for the regatta as she also rowed the 2X with Georgia. Crystal and Georgia had a terrific regatta and learned some valuable lessons from their first Nationals.
Lesson #1. Check the weight of your boat before racing.
Crystal won her heat in the U19 1X but was relegated to the repechage after her boat was found to be 900g underweight. Luckily she accepted the lesson by learning the hard way and won her rep. She finished the regatta a finalist in the U19 1X, a silver medallist in the 4X and a bronze medallist in the SG1X which was a very strong race for her. Georgia was not far behind Crystal in 4th position and Lauren Lyon in the same race was right at their heels so well done girls. It is exciting to know that the three of you still have another year in the U19 and School Girl categories and we look forward to seeing you go for gold together in the future.
To make up our Club 8+ we called upon our handy utility women Brianna Caputo and Bianca Riley. The last seat was filled by Charlotte Trent from Sydney Girls High School. These girls combined really well with our already tired full time girls. The fresh legs were greatly appreciated as they won the club 8+ by half a course over UTS and Sydney Uni.
Well done to all of our girls this week. It was great to see the birth of a new women’s eight out in force and you delivered fantastic results across the board. Special thanks must go to Milly Cheetham who coxed the eight. Milly did a terrific job commanding the crew and getting them fired up for the race. The girls had never rowed the eight before but Milly got the girls to focus on one basic theme which was to finish each stroke together. Timing was the key and from there the rhythm flowed on. Once they got out to a two length lead Milly kept asking for more. “I know I keep asking you for another length, well guess what? I want another one!”
I was so impressed by all of our club boats on the Sunday. We won five out of the six club events which is an amazing achievement and the best result any club has ever produced. My only regret is that we didn’t enter our girls into the Women’s Club 4- event. With the club eight events being included into the regatta for the first time we are incredibly proud to have SRC down as the first victors.
The U21 men’s sculling group was a strong showing for SRC. Charlie Patterson, Dylan Boakes and Max Duignan came 2nd, 4th and 5th respectively in the single scull. Charlie and Max demolished the U21 2X in fine form. Max Brenner (U19) joined them in the U21 4X which was a joy to watch. Clean blade work and absolute relentless determination to go flat out to the line snuck them in under the psychological 6:10 barrier. Charlie has impressed everyone this season with consistent results. Unlike previous years he was prepared and organised for each race. It was satisfying or me to see him arriving early, checking oar measurements and boat set-up and even performing a land warming up before each race. It is this level of professionalism that we aim to teach every athlete at SRC and to see them make the step up is very pleasing. luck to Charlie and Dylan for your U21 selection trials. Take everyone on with plenty of passion and don’t hold back.
Max Duignan and Dylan teamed up to win the Club 2X. It was great to see them drive the boat so well when under pressure from the Mercantile crew. Through the 1000m they were 2nd and pressed on to win by clear water with a 3 point step with 500m to go. Well done on a great regatta fellas.
The U21 sweep category saw Hugh Courts, Rob Wells, Henry Kamp and Hamish McDonald take the Gold medal in the coxed four which was steered to victory by George Davis. Henry, Hamish and Hugh joined Charlie in the Youth Eight for NSW in the Interstate Regatta on Sunday. That race was something those guys will never forget as they charged out very aggressively from the start to ask Queensland the question of how much they really wanted it. The NSW crew cruised to victory in an official time of 5:40. The boys prefer the time of 5:39 as it says on the minimax data so let’s go with that. This was an impressive victory and a great way to finish a tough week. The coach of this crew, Jason Baker was elated and deserves huge congratulations as he has worked tirelessly to get this crew right for the Interstate Regatta.
The Club’s token German and chocoholic Max Brenner raced very well all week. He showed signs of being a very intelligent racer and one who is quick to come up with brilliant strategy in his racing. Max would work to hold contact with the leading crews through to the 1000m and would look to break them in the second 1000m. It was a very tough and mature way to race. He backed his ability to be patient and wait for his moment to make his move like the sneaky German he is. Max was just short of a Silver medal in the U19 1X as the Italian Matteo Sandrelli managed to hold off Max’s final sprint to the line.
The U19 2X had Max and Matteo join forces which made for an interesting combination. It’s been a long time since the Axis Powers of Germany and Italy joined forces and this time it was to work in their favour. They matched up really well and conquered the field in the last 500m. This was a gutsy performance and one that I loved watching. Their last 500m was 4sec faster than anyone else which made for a very exciting finish. It was terrific to see Max go from no medals last year to three Gold and one silver this year.
The Men’s Club 4- and 8+ were very dominant for SRC. A big thank you must go to our senior men Matt Dignan, Scott Woodward and Jack Farthing for leading the charge here. Their leadership for our youth athletes goes a long way to teaching them not only how to race really aggressively but how to win. The three of them had a good saying for the week to get the young guys fired up and prepared for some solid hangin’ & bangin’ racing. They got the guys together and simply just said “Get around it fellas.” “We all have challenges in our lives and the only thing to do is to get around it and get around us cos we’re gonna get around you and get you across that line first.” These guys put serious power in the water and do their first 500m like it’s their last. Will O’Connell was in these crews and commented on how nervous he was about keeping up with Diggers in the four.
“It’s just so fast and scary. I’ve got Woody breathing down my neck telling me to rock over and then I’ve got Diggers launching himself back at me fu@$ing quick. It’s like I’m in a psycho sandwich from hell. I’m worried that I won’t be able to keep up but I know that this experience will teach me how I need to race in the future to be a winner”.
The reaction from everyone on the bikes watching these races was priceless. “HOLY SHIT”! was the common expression from other coaches as they watched our 4- and 8+ get clear water by the 250m mark. This was an awesome way for Diggers to go out. He has raced hard for SRC over many years and we thank him for his contribution. He always said that Lloyd Caetano is the hardest man at SRC but Diggers is by far the only one who can claim that title.
Anthony Kenny stroked a composite U19 4X with George Finlayson (Scots), Alex Grzeskowiak (Capital Lakes) and Brad Pearsal (Corowa) to a gold medal. He kept the beat up really well as they had a stroke for stroke battle with the Hawthorn crew. The lead swapped a couple of times throughout the race but they managed to hold on for a 2sec victory. Kenny was also a member of the club 8+ as well with Rob Wells, Dylan Boakes and Max Brenner. Max Brenner and Kenny are also trialling for the Junior Team with Tom Barnes, Jackson Kench and Pasha Bevan so all the best to you boys.
Chris Morgan was in fine form at this year’s regatta bringing home 6 medals. The final of the single was very impressive as Nick Purnell charged from 6th place into 3rd with a 1:36 last 500m. Morgs just held him off to secure the silver medal which was a great scramble to the line. His Olympic 2X preparation is coming along well as he and Dave Watts look to find more speed at the higher rates but they won easily. They teamed up with Wilson Mure and Max McQueeney in the 4X which managed to edge out the crew of Girdlestone, McCrae, Hill and Purnell.
Before this race went ahead the boat was 6kg overweight. Morgs came up to me and mentioned something about a hacksaw and the Empacher boat which almost gave me a heart attack. It turns out that the weights were corroded and stuck inside the boat which explains the use of the hacksaw. I was relieved to find out that the Empacher was not harmed in the process of removing the weights.
With the boat now closer to the required weight, they were ready to race. Morgs typically coached it the whole way down the course very calmly. He has so much experience in the 4X and he brings a lot of confidence to that boat. The calls he made were spot on and the crew was very responsive every time he called second half legs or shaping the blades out. It was very noticeable the difference he made and even when under pressure from the other crew, he calmly lets the guys in front of him know how far they are ahead and how to cover their push. I’d go as far as saying that he’s the best in the country at sitting in the bow of a 4X.
His performances at the interstate regatta for South Australia in the single and eight were also very impressive. Two bronze medals in two and a half hours is no easy task. Congratulations on a great week Morgs and all the best for Rio.
The senior Men’s sweep section was again dominant for SRC. In the Men’s Pair, Angus Moore and Josh Hicks once again proved that they are two of the best rowers in Australia as they won the silver medal ahead of Spencer Turrin and Alex Lloyd who came 3rd. It was amazing to see how well Gus was performing after he had Glandular Fever only a month ago. His diligence and commitment to picking himself up and getting back on top has been inspiring. Spencer and Lloydy got their own back however, as they put together a solid row in the coxless four a length ahead of Gus and Hicksy’s crew which also included Alex Hill (Adelaide) and Will Lockwood (MUBC). Hilly and Gus have a good history of rowing fours together with Spencer and Lloydy so this was a bit of fun to see who would win when they go side by side. If you ever want to see what good sweep oar rowing looks like, do yourself a favour and watch Spencer and Lloydy in action. They are in my opinion the best in Australia which is why they’ve been selected as the Aussie Pair for the Rio Games. If you had to pick two guys to go up against the Kiwi pair, these are the guys you would pick. Bloody good job guys, well done.
I encourage everyone to get around these two and give them your support.
The Coxed Four Championship of Australia was again won by SRC. James ‘Chappo’ Chapman along with Nathan Bowden, Simon Keenan, Ed White and Kendall Brodie won very convincingly over the crew from Adelaide to defend our title. The coxed four is such a good race to watch and we encourage more crews to enter this race in the future.
A special mention must go to Josh Hicks and James Chapman who have been selected in the Australian Eight to go for qualification into the Rio games. Congratulations on your selection and good luck.
The Open Men’s Eight Sprint Championship of Australia was an opportunity that we did not want to miss out on, so Coach Don Cech put together the fastest eight in the country to see how fast it could go. The line-up was Kendall Brodie (c), Josh Hicks, Ed White, Alex Lloyd, Spencer Turrin, Simon Keenan, Nathan Bowden, Chris Morgan and Angus Moore. They went 1:15.0 for 500m which is moving. The tail wind had the water moving with a fair bit of momentum and the boat was on the run before it hit the line so it was hard get good purchase on the blade and bend it in the first seven strokes but they did a good job in the chop and ticked it along nicely. Maybe another 1cm longer on the oars and a held start could have given them another two seconds I reckon. Having their blades feathered on the quick start made things a little difficult. Kendall said she saw 1:08 splits which are unheard of so well done fellas and Kendall. What I love about this is the willingness of all these elite guys to do some fun club races. They are under the pump every time they race as selectors are always watching so it’s nice to see these guys get around it and have some fun. There isn’t enough of this anymore and I think that it is important to have fun and compete. It’s not often you get to put eight really good athletes together to see how fast you can move an eight.
Leah Saunders flew the flag for the club in the Open Women’s categories claiming a bronze medal in the pair and a silver medal in the 4X which was great to see. Leah has also just been selected to trial for the Women’s Four to compete in the Non-Olympic World Champs. Go for it Leah! We’ll get around ya. The highlight for Leah as well as Kendall Brodie was their first ever podium finish in the NSW Women’s Eight in the Interstate regatta. The girls flew out to hold contact with the leaders Victoria and Queensland to post a time of 3:06 to the 1000m. To finish in 3rd place and be on the podium for the first time since 2007 is a fantastic result and something that Leah and Kendall should be very proud to be a part of. They have been an integral part of helping NSW achieve this result and deserve free ice cream for life.
Another notable performance was that of Gavin Parcsi in the Open Lightweight Single Scull. Gavin studies medicine and works in the hospital full time so has not trained full time this season. He manages to fit in the occasional row each week and gets most of his work done on the erg. He performed brilliantly in the Semi Final to qualify for a spot in the final. He said his boat was a good boat and that she’ll go all day. ‘Siope’ is a 1999 Sykes Mould 26W which is the best Sykes single ever made. It is far stiffer than any single they make today and certainly a very sturdy vessel. Not coming last was the goal he set for himself and he managed to fight all the way to the line to take 7th place in the dying stages of the race. With about 500m to go Gavin was in 8th position so he stepped, chipped over the top and regathered to cross the line ahead of the mercantile sculler who would later go on to race the club 2X and get beaten by SRC yet again.
Tom Cavanagh and Matt Bladen won bronze in the U23 lightweight pair but the real hero here is Lloyd Caetano. Lloyd has a reputation for being a good club man because of his selfless nature and willingness to help out where needed to support the club. Lloyd entered into the U23 lightweight pair race having never rowed the pair before to enable Tom and Matt to have a race off for the bronze medal because unless you beat someone, you don’t get a medal. This was Lloyd’s first time making weight and he sat on the bike all rugged up for 2hrs just make the bronze medal race go ahead. You the Man Lloyd!!
Overall SRC won 258 points ahead of Mercantile (222) and Toowong (177). Out of 43 SRC athletes, 35 won medals. 32 athletes won a Gold medal. Well done to all who participated in the regatta for the club and thank you for the support you provided for your team mates. The strength of the club is at an all-time high and I feel privileged to be a part of such a terrific community. Last week at the SIRR was extremely fun and it was a very enjoyable culture to be part of.
#SFRC #SRC4life #bepartofit #getaroundit
SRC President Keith Jameson OAM: “I was delighted with the club’s performance at the National regatta. What was most pleasing was that we achieved success at all levels, from Junior to Elite Senior, and that our members not only rowed well, they also enjoyed themselves”.
Club Captain Paul Coates: “It’s a wonderful feeling to be part of the best rowing club in Australia”.
Vice Captain Kendall Brodie: “The club spirit during nationals was palpable and it showed in how the SRC athletes raced and supported each other throughout the week. Both the Men’s and Women’s Club eights reaching the top of the podium was a special result and the vibe that day was great. Being apart of the NSW Queen’s Cup crew that reached the podium for the first time in eights years in third place was a particularly rewarding personal achievement”.
Chappo’s Mum: “While some parents would be nervous watching their children compete at the highest level, for Mrs Chapman the sight of young James in the blue of NSW is a familiar one. As he rowed to the start line of the King’s Cup, she was relaxing with a cold drink at the regatta bar, “One last win would be great, but he’s had a good run.” Many drew similar reflections on James’ 13 appearances for NSW following the crew’s defeat at the hands of the Victorians for the 2nd consecutive year”.
Team SRC Athletes:
Harriet Hudson: “After recently moving to Sydney to join the highly regarded Sydney Rowing Club, my nationals competition experience was my first as a non school rower Wearing the light blue colours of SRC and representing one of the best rowing clubs in the country (the medal tally score agrees) was definitely the highlight for me. Upon arrival in early January, I was pleasantly surprised with the camaraderie that the club encourages, and this was even more evident last week. Support came from every direction, whether it was words of advice from the river bank with Carts, JB and Don following every race on their bike, or a shout out from fellow club mates as they rowed through the bridge up to the start line. This family environment is one which is not found in most clubs, and one which is obviously cherished and enhanced by the longer standing members”.
Charlie Patterson: “The Nationals were pretty exciting for me. The atmosphere was intense. It was a great opportunity to show what I was capable of and get into some serious racing. The highlight was representing NSW in the State Youth 8. We put in some solid training and built great crew spirit which paid off winning the Noel F Wilkinson Trophy. Thanks to JB, Will Raven and Kurt Thomas. It was great pairing up again with Max Duignan in the U21 2x where we held off Queensland for a solid win. I also won the quad with the two Max’s and Boakesy. That was a great race. I was also pretty happy taking silver in the U21 singles against Adam Bakker. All up I had a top week and it was definitely a great result for SRC”!
Dylan Boakes: “The best part of nationals for me is the level competition in every boat class and age group. It’s always great to get out and race quality opposition every time you get in the boat. It’s a great yardstick to see where you stand and deeply satisfying when you get the results you want. It’s also fantastic to be able to watch the racing amongst the open divisions, it’s a rare opportunity to watch world class athletes first hand and one that’s always enjoyed”.
Max Brenner: “The highlight of nationals, as any sportsperson would say, was the racing. But for me it’s more about the mental preparation that goes on prior. The nervousness of the days before racing is always what gets you. The thoughts of how the race is going to go and if you will perform your best kept me awake at night. In German it’s called “Lampenfieber” which literally translates to “lamp fever”, but is pretty much performance anxiety. I guess the highlight was the satisfaction of doing well and performing your best when the moment calls for it.What most outsiders don’t see is the pride of the club doing well. Seeing everyone asking the simple question, “How did you go” shows so much caring and compassion for all members of the club. It is at nationals when Sydney Rowing Club really comes together to not only show its racing spirit but also its team cohesion”.
In her first season at SRC, Brianna has been part of the successful and growing women’s squad. The season, which began in earnest at the Newcastle regatta in September 2015 and saw wins at Taree, the SRC Regatta and the Gold Cup, culminated in a barnstorming win in the Club women’s eights on Sunday. Racing a UTS crew that featured Australian representatives the young Sydney crew were underdogs but executed their race perfectly, “Coach Carter instructed us to win, and we did”.
JB took home the biggest swag of coaches medals for the week, with his squad of youth athletes taking all before them over the week. They cleaned up the U21 boat classes and provided the bulk of the athletes in the Club crews on Sunday. There was also a large contingent of Sydney men in the interstate youth eight who pleased Jason with their performance “Rowed hard. Done Good.” Unfortunately Jason’s other star athlete Eric Horrie suffered an injury during the week, but was still able to win his single.
For Leah, the week saw a silver in the open quad and bronze in the pair, but the big event was always going to be Queens Cup. While the dominance of the Victorians remains, the young NSW crew is gradually closing the gap to the top and this year finished in 3rd place. Leah was proud of the effort, “We gave it everything”. Coach Dan Noonan has already predicted a bold showing in 2017.
The club’s lightweights toiled hard but had limited success during the week, with their Sisyphean determination perhaps best exemplified by migrant oarsman Matt Bladen. Matt struggled across several boat classes during the week, with strong training efforts unable to be translated into race success. Eventually however there was wealth for toil as he partnered Tom Cavanagh to a Bronze medal in the U23 lightweight pair, “I thought we could go faster, but apparently not”.
Was there ever a derby so formative, so didactic, in dispensing the dastardly truths of racing? For one kilometre you rattle down the course, oars splashing, waves crashing, desperately hanging onto your tender lead. The rasp of the slide blurs your ears as each breath grates to the heaving of the boat – back and forth, back and forth, wresting the water with your blade. As the promising shore curves inwards from the corner of your vision, your ears strain yearningly for the welcoming sound of the final horn, declaring your triumph over the lions of Leichhardt from a bowball behind. And then, as victory seems apparent, and the jubilant novices can already feel phantom medals hanging from their necks, their hungry opponents leap into offense and snatch the crowning victory.
Neither the harshest training nor the lowliest coach could crush the aspirations of a prospective eight as utterly as this tantalizing defeat. The Promised Land was spotted, grasped and then let slip into the shadowy waters below Iron Cove Bridge, its haggard grew pillars a morbid tombstone to the hopes and dreams of every denizen slumping dejectedly in that eight man vessel of remorse.
Apart from that, the Sydney novices had a whopper of a time at the 2016 Drummoyne Regatta. The calm early morning weather sported the junior scullers first heat featuring Bradley “Cramp” Deng who was afflicted mid-race by the eponymous affliction but still placed an impressive second. Joining him was CHS hopeful Tal “Steal-Yo-Girl” Lewis in fourth and first-timer Andrew “Fresh Meat” Li who was hailed by the commentary as a J.B. Sharp competitor for the winter series. The consecutive novice heat also featured young talent Adrian “Pressin’” Castillo and Evan “Ghost” Wang who placed third and fourth respectively after a close trumping by Balmain and North Shore rowers. It was a great effort by all the boys and fantastic to see them taking out seconds and thirds so soon into competitive racing.
One step above, Benedict “Safety” Brenner placed a nifty third in his D Grade Men’s Scull after a fast-paced start past the island. Lucas “Halo” Chabo also ranked fourth in his heat against a representative from the Sunshine State. The masters likewise competed well in their quads – the Women’s C Grade crew came in at fourth while the Men’s D Quad finished fifth. The female master’s returned again to come fifth and sixth in their C Grade Doubles, showcasing the ability and competence of our master’s squad. Following the unfortunate eight race mentioned previously, we bounced back from that 0.41s defeat to see our Women’s D Grade sculler Kisha “Pop-up” Chabo finish second over Balmain and St. George. The small boats presence continued in the Men’s C Grade Double: the master’s crew came sixth while Cristian “Double” Pezo and John “Hungry” Bivell ranked fourth.
And now arose the novices, fresh off the singles and fresh in the quads. The first crew of Bradley, Tal, Evan and Ben came nobly to meet the challenge head on by taking out second place to an experienced crew from our pontoon landlords, Leichhardt. Up next was a battler boat with a lot of personality: maiden quad racer Andrew accompanied Adrian and the newly arrived Rahel “Granddad” Sahni and Alexander “Brownies” Migdalias. After a long and hard tug, they finished an honourable fourth. They moved over for Charles Lloyd Jones to blaze it to fourth in his C Grade Scull while the D Grade Double was graced by returning Concord oarsmen Cristian and Lucas, keeping both their form and their oars intact in a solid third place. The masters returned in the same event to come in as sixth. The C Grade Four benefitted from the Coates brothers hat trick in the boat but was glorified by the presence of Curtis “Fresh Male” Aroney who utilised his trademark gung-ho toughness to motivate his crew across the line into second place.
A solid regatta equaled a solid performance across all categories. The masters enjoyed the laid-back and relaxed atmosphere of the Drummoyne Regatta with their circle of deck chairs overlooking the start line. For the young ‘uns, this was a significant event because it marked the penultimate regatta of the season and was the final stop before the climactic CHS showdown scheduled at Taree in April. With the news that Sydney Boys High– our rowers’ main rivals in spheres both academic and aquatic – had purportedly withdrawn from the regatta, the boys were buoyed with hope of a gentle introduction to the interschool championship. Satisfied with some solid ranking and flirtations with victory, the racers dispersed to the lives they allegedly held beyond rowing to gee themselves up for the final regatta of the 2016 season.
Up Next: SRC Hits Taree… Again
The famous dog-legged course of the Iron Cove River, which has lain host to the Riverview Gold Cup Regatta for 132 years, produced an abundance wins for Sydney Rowing Club, on 27 February. The strength across the entire club was evident with wins secured in every race entered.
The regatta, well known for its carnage and destruction due to the treacherous course defined by multiple pylons, a dog-leg turn – and, not to mention, the turbulent water. It comes as no surprise this event always boasts a foreshore chockfull of eager spectators.
Spirits were high on race day and with multiple SRC crews entered in each race; some healthy in-house competition proved to be a successful ingredient for our 100% success rate.
The development squad, coached by Jason Baker, locked in a first and second in the MB4+ which saw these young guns skilfully steered down the course by George Davis and Edoardo Wayland, beating out UTS and two Scots crews for the final placements.
SRC presented in every lane of the Women’s Invitational Single Scull with the win taken out by up-and-comer Georgia Bradley who overtook her more experienced team mates in the final stretch to finish convincingly.
The Men’s Invitational Single Scull again contained a full host of SRC athletes which saw Charlie Patterson secure a near 10 second win. An honourable mention must go to Dylan Boakes, who despite capsizing on the rugged course, managed to get back into the boat and regain momentum to finish the race.
The men’s scullers backed up for a second race boating two MB 4X where SRC finished first and third, UNSW in second and Sydney Uni in fourth. The women’s scullers also had a second hit out in the WB 4X, securing a 10 second win over UTS and Leichhardt. With the high turn around in races, Lachlan Carter, coach of the scullers, had his work cut out for him on the day. It was great to see so many clubs attending the regatta on such a challenging course, especially in coxless boats!
In arguably the most highly anticipated race of the day, SRC’s Men’s Open 8+ contained five of last year’s victorious crew; Ed White, Josh Hicks, Scott Woodward, Matt Dignan and coxswain Kendall Brodie were joined by Simon Keenan, James Chapman, Nathan Bowden and – stepping up from the development squad – Hamish McDonald.
Fresh off the back of national selection trials, our men had more than just a title to defend. Sydney won the heat easily over Scots and Shore however, posted the third fastest time behind UTS and Sydney Uni from Heat 2. It was clear the final would be a hard fought battle.
Despite the relative strength of the other club crews, each holding multiple National squad members, Sydney remained confident they still had more gears left for the final. After an uplifting speech from Coach Donovan Cech, the fire was ablaze and the boys’ inspired to back up with a consecutive Gold Cup title.
Qualifying times put SRC on the outside of the turn in lane 3 – that didn’t stop them last year and it wasn’t going to stop them this year. Stroke Josh Hicks set up a flying rate right off the start, the crew following – knowing this 1400m race would be a sprint to the finish.
SRC lead the race from start to finish, taking a tight corner and powering down the final straight at an ever increasing rate. There was no question who was going to cross the line first. The margins resulted in a 3 second lead over Sydney Uni and an 8 second haul over UTS. Each SRC crew member savouring a sweet consecutive Gold Cup title and a precious golden oar.
Sydney Rowing Club was well represented at the annual King’s and Queen’s Cup Luncheon held at the Four Seasons Hotel, last Friday with eleven athletes and two coaches named in the 2016 NSW State Team.
The event began with a minute’s silence to honour the life of Sarah Tait, one of Australia’s most successful oarswomen both on and off the water. Lizzi Chapman gave a touching tribute to Sarah’s rowing achievements and strength of character as a role model and leader within Women’s rowing.
In a change of tone, the entrée of smoked salmon and salad accompanied the address from rowing historian, Andrew Guerin in which he detailed the rich history of the King’s Cup. The history of the event was no doubt inspiring and perhaps provided a glimpse into the future for the four SRC members who will contest the Noel F Wilkinson Cup (Men’s youth eight) in their first interstate team.
As the afternoon rolled on, the main of scotch fillet and potato gratin was served while highlights of last year’s interstate regatta underlined the strength of the New South Welshmen and Women and their passion and determination in racing for their state.
After a brief topping up of refreshments, King’s Cup veteran James Chapman together with Queen’s Cup coxswain Kendall Brodie were invited onto the stage to draw lanes for their respective races. It was sheer good luck that both the King’s and Queen’s Cup were drawn in lane 5, an ideal position to be in in such a race.
Wearing his NSW honour Blazer, Chappo took the opportunity to call upon this years NSW State Team representatives to reflect on what it means to wear the Waratah on race day as well as giving an insight into the winning streak of the NSW King’s Cup crew. Kendall spoke from a coxswain’s perspective on how the interstate race differs from any other race and how she brings her crew together. Kendall is looking forward to the regatta following the strength displayed by this years Queen’s Cup crew and the promise of an exciting race.
The afternoon was capped off with a delightfully fluffy meringue dessert and lots of eager discussion around which states are looking strong this year. We wish all of the NSW athletes the best of luck in The Interstate Regatta to be held on 20 March at the Sydney International Regatta.
As the dutiful barbecue loitered in the shadow of the boathouse and the annual Bay Run thundered past, the novices got to work. With many racing solo for the first time in their fledgling careers, they assembled bright and early by Leichhardt Rowing Club. Undaunted by the stampede of joggers marauding through the congregation, they launched from the pontoon into the strange and wonderful world of competitive racing at the Leichhardt Regatta.
The odds were in Sydney’s favour for the first novice heat with 80% of the line-up toting the light blue zootsuit. Our furtive foursome battled all the way down the course and left the sole Central Tablelands representative wallowing in their wash; Tal “Smokin’” Lewis finished fourth, with Evan “Colorado” Wang in third, Oscar “Ends” Gullickson as close second and Alexander “Migdanamas” Migdalias in first place. Although facing a winning duo from Central Tablelands and St. George in the second heat, the Sydney novices still defied each other as they defied the course. Young ‘uns Bradley “Family Man” Deng and Adrian “Grape” Castillo finished in close third and fourth with Rahel “Ironfam” Sahni placing fifth to trump the unsuccessful Penrith presence.
Not long after came Lucas “Crack” Chabo who achieved an honourable third in his D Grade scull. The following A/B double snagged the second win of the day as Lloyd “Broken” Caetano teamed with a local Newington coach for a whopping final push past Rodd Island. He soon moved up a boat size to take out second place in the C quad scull, marred only by a post-start disparity between bow seat and his presence upon it. Kisha “Prep” Chabo served in her first D Grade scull and ranked a hotly contested fourth, displaying remarkable concentration for such a newcomer to competitive regattas.
The A/B scull, stretching from beyond Iron Cove Bridge to past Rodd Island, had some new faces in the start – three young rowers who were racing up a division to tame the dreaded 2000m. Accompanied by the more mature Lloyd Caetano, they challenged the entrenched boyars of this event. Cristian “Orange” Pezo kept pace with his competitors almost to the finish and allowed the aforementioned Lloyd to rank third. In the second heat saw Ben “Mumford” Brenner have as fun a race as he predicted on the start line, while John “What-A-Head” Bivell held forth against a boat whose fin had been unceremoniously savaged by a tree en route to the event, creating all manner of directional intrigue down the course.
The return of the novices spiced up the atmosphere one again – finally, another chance to prove their mettle against the big boys of the regatta. Oscar, Alex, Rahel and Adrian came fourth after some solid rowing upon the bay – ditto the second crew featuring upcoming athletes Bradley, Tal, Evan and Lucas. Both boats exceeded their expectations and showcased proudly the skills honed over the summer holidays in the shadow of Sydney Rowing Club. With a job well done, they loaded their boats and retired from the event. The regatta slowly eased into the afternoon – CHS hopefuls from Sydney Secondary College Ben and Tal pulled a cheeky third in the D double – aside from one major upset involving a Concord High double, a five boat length lead and an oar that attempted escape velocity. Pleased with a fine day and an even finer barbeque from the hosts, the junior janissaries of the Parramatta River loaded the trailer and hit the road.
Next Time: The Drummoyne Denouement Gets Personal
The Club’s annual regatta was held last weekend and, with the State’s elite athletes taking some time off following the grueling trial process of the previous seven days, nurse the regatta was a relaxed affair this year. A big contingent of members made the trip west to support the club and enjoy some quality racing action.
Cloud cover and a light southerly breeze made for temperate conditions at SIRC for the 2016 SRC regatta. Throughout the boatpark there were constant reminders of the national selection trials of the past week, with evidence of RA and ASADA testing visible at every turn. With selections finalised for most boat classes on Friday, there was much discussion of the fates of the nations top rowers as the volunteers assembled for morning duties. Who would make up the four? What of the lightweights? Would Tonks be parachuted in to coach the eight?
Such questions were soon forgotten as racing commenced and new heroes were being crowned. The first winner for SRC was Lloyd Caetano, who overcame a sluggish start to eventually take the lead in the under 19 single at around the 1500m before racing away for a 2 length win. While Lloyd is Canada Bay born and raised, the next Sydney winner was a recent arrival in Harriet Hudson. Harriet has migrated to Sydney from Queensland for tertiary studies and has been naturalised into the Carter stable. Her win followed success at the State Championships last week and a strong showing at the Nationals is anticipated.
A big field was assembled for the para single and Sydney’s Erik Horrie chalked up another win as he continues his preparations for Rio. Senior public figures in attendance watching the race included the Mayor of Penrith, the member of the legislative assembly for Drummoyne – John Sidoti, and Canada Bay Council Sustainability Committeeman Norbert Brenner.
Coach Baker also had a large group of under 21 athletes racing in what for many was their final regatta of the season as University starts this week. Among them Charles Patterson, Bob Wells, Hugh Courts, Henry Kamp and Hamish McDonald are members of the recently selected State Youth Eight which had a comfortable win in the open eights event.
Fresh from hearing the news that masters rowing is to be added to the program for the nationals this year, the elder statesmen and women of the sport were champing at the bit ahead of their races. For Sydney this of course meant the legends would be taking to the water, but there was tough competition for the club’s senior eight. A rival crew featuring top masters oarsmen Mike Burgess and John James were widely favored to win the event, but the legends were able to overcome a hefty handicap to hit the front in the shadows of the judges tower and get home by a canvas.
The final race on the program was one of the most exciting, with Georgia Bradley teaming up with Crystal Piper from Lower Clarence to race in the under 19 double. Having led from the start, the girls were rowed down by a resolute Leichhardt pair in the last 250m to be relegated to 2nd. Even this disappointment could not temper the high spirits of members in attendance, who enjoyed fine hospitality during the day including refreshments from the club bar and locally sourced prawns. Thanks must go to all the volunteers and supporters for the event, including those from other clubs that continue to patronise Sydney’s regatta and contribute greatly to its ongoing success.
The NSW State Champs, the traditional lead up event for the Sydney Rowing Club Regatta, was held at SIRC from 12 – 14 March. With National Team selectors swarming upon Penrith in unprecedented numbers, the stakes were high. While not reaching the heights of last year’s state champs, SRC nonetheless had a solid regatta with a few standout performances.
Tensions were high as the State champs kicked off on Friday. On the surface the boat park was a typical scene of preparation, boats being rigged, muscles being activated, coaching being broadcast. But to talk to the athletes, the occasion was clearly more muted than the normal celebration of rowing that this event marks. The spectre hanging over the participants was that of the Rowing Australia bureaucracy, which had taken over SIRC for the week and was monitoring the movements of all senior A players closely.
With the fruit hats of Rio close enough to taste, now was the time for national team aspirants to show off their wares to eager spectators in the SIRC grandstand. Josh Hicks and Leah Saunders raced in selection events, finishing 2nd and 4th respectively. Also in the single was Chris Morgan, who came 5th in the A-Final of the championship event, just 4 seconds behind the winner Sasha Belonogoff.
All eyes were on the men’s pair event on Saturday, with a big Sydney contingent engaged. In the final, Turrin and Lloyd were upstaged by Bill Lockwood and Lex Hill of the Canberra National Training Centre of Excellence. James Chapman and Nick Purnell continued their blossoming relationship, improving into 4th place after a slow start. The overall race was very close with only a few lengths between first and last so the signs are good for a potential tilt at qualifying the men’s eight.
With the focus of the senior squads on national selection, it was the club’s development athletes that took centre stage at this year’s championships. In particular the under 19 category proved rich pickings for SRC, with Harriet Hudson winning the women’s scull and Max Brenner placing 3rd in the men’s event. Both events attracted the very best athletes from around the country so both results auger well for Harriet and Max’s chances at the Nationals in March.
Also competing for Sydney in the under 19 category were a group of Shore boys coached by long-time friend of the club, Dave Jennings. The lads were up against fierce competition in all lanes during the quad and double event and the chances of success looked slim. Dave, a history teacher by trade, was undeterred and delivered a rousing pre-race address based upon the Battle of Rorke’s Drift. The crews went on to triumph in both races in slashing style.
The main event on Sunday was the champion eights of NSW. The marquee event of the regatta, the champion eight calls for men of strength, honour, dignity and piety. Alas, for SRC no such men could be found and the club did not boat a crew to defend last year’s hard fought title. This left the spoils of the QL Deloitte Trophy to the hands of the Victorians; with Sydney’s sister club Mercantile taking the win. The women’s eight was won by Melbourne Uni comfortably ahead of UTS and St George.
The lightweight squad should not be forgotten. While there were no Simon Nola’s or Hugh McLeod’s racing in the light blue over the weekend, the men’s four of Bladen, Parcsi, Farthing and McDonald performed soundly to claim the bronze medal in a competitive field.
Other notable mentions go to Charlie Patterson who continued his breakout season with a silver in the under 21 scull and Romy Davenport who raced in a couple of successful composite crews.
The gods of Iron Cove were smiling fondly on this auspicious date, blessing the rugged bay of Iron Cove with surprisingly smooth water and favourable conditions. It was with this celestial approval that the junior jousters of Sydney Rowing Club entered the annual Balmain Regatta. For many, it was their first time, freshly minted rowers nervous but eager to test their blades with that of the enemy. For others, this was history; a chance to settle old scores, chasten ancient rivals and finally win that one race that they so would have won last year, if only that one guy hadn’t pushed them off the course. With an admixture of youthful enthusiasm and salty vengeance, Coach Paul “Obama” Coates assembled his protégées by Leichhardt shed.
First up were the novice scullers. They had trained hard through the summer holidays, applying themselves diligently to the oars. Now, it was time to put them to the test, and they performed to their utmost. Evan “Legit-63” Wang and Oscar “Deckchair” Gullickson finished fifth and sixth, gaining valuable experience from their maiden regatta. Meanwhile, Alexander “Brownies” Migdalias, despite a smattering of self-professed crabbing, placing fourth in his novice single scull. Following this heroic effort of donning the blue spandex for the first time came the D grade single sculls. Benedict “Beanie” Brenner had his start unfortunately sabotaged by a passing plane, but nevertheless fought past this aural adversity to come fourth in his race. Additionally, John “Juggler” Bivell came first in his D single over Glebe and Sydney Women’s.
The real stand-out of the day came in the lethargic recess preceding the boys’ quads, as the young Keesha “Exploratory” Chabo won an astounding victory in her novice women’s scull. In second place at halfway and facing a Penrith adversary behind and in front, she executed an extraordinary final 500m push that saw her overtake the orange caps to win the very first race of her career. Her elder brother Lucas “Dad” Chabo also participated at the Balmain Regatta, ranking fourth place in his D single scull.
At last, the long wait was up. After a strenuous interregnum, the final combatants arrived, one swaggering in his light blue apparel for the first time: Cristian “Tinkler” Pezo, who joined the D scullers in the Dallas Smith quad; and Rahel “Captain America” Sahni, who stripped off his superhero t-shirt to join the novice rowers in the Larry Parker. Both crews had an excellent warm-up to Iron Cove Bridge and executed some killer starts in preparation. With the blood pumping in their ears and the Larry still favourably above sea level, each crew took off. Cristian’s boat ranked third in their heat, unable to match the springy St. George or wizened Sydney Women’s. The novice quad also performed admirably for their first crew race in third, their experience and racing spirit fermenting well in the competitive environ of the Balmain Regatta.
With the day’s work done, the crew began to pack away the trailer. The afternoon was livened considerably during Cristian’s C grade single scull, where he managed to keep pace with a cohort of rowers well above his division. With such a feel-good air fermented only by the breaking of new rowers to the wonderful world of regattas, they convalesced homewards, taking a couplet of black-and-yellow medallions and some fond memories with them from the waves and waterfront of Iron Cove.
Report by John Bivell