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.