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Olympians head 2015 Australian Boat Race crews

This is a reproduction of a media release received from the organisers of the Australian Boat Race

An Olympic gold medallist and a Rio Olympics qualifier headline the University of Melbourne’s crews for the Australian Boat Race, an annual rowing competition against the University of Sydney in the style of the famous Oxford versus Cambridge races in England.

University alumnus David Crawshay, who won gold at the 2008 Beijing Games in the double scull, will be leading the University’s men’s bid for victory in this year’s race, which will see crews from both universities go head-to-head on a 4.6km course on the Yarra River, from Burnley to Southbank on Sunday, October 25.

In the women’s crew, Jennifer Cleary, who is studying a Bachelor of Science at the University, is a likely candidate for the 2016 Rio Games having recently helped Australia qualify a spot in the women’s quad scull.

Challenging Melbourne’s strong line-up, the University of Sydney’s men’s crew features captain Alexander “Sasha” Belonogoff, a bronze medal-winner at the 2014 World Championships, who recently booked a Rio berth for the men’s double scull, and alumnus Cameron Girdlestone, who also helped Australia qualify in the quad scull.

The annual Australian Boat Race showcases the very best of current and alumni talent from the nation’s two oldest universities. Their friendly on-water rivalry stretches back to 1860, when the universities first faced off against each other in a race along the Yarra (Melbourne won this first event).

In 2009, to mark 150 years since that first race, the Vice-Chancellors of Melbourne and Sydney, Professor Glyn Davis and Dr Michael Spence, agreed to an annual ‘match race’ to feature current students and up to two alumni in each team.

Melbourne’s unbeaten women’s team has dominated the regatta’s modern era and will be aiming to continue their unbeaten streak on October 25. Sydney’s men’s crew have also enjoyed most of the spoils in recent years, with victories in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

What: The Australian Boat Race

When: Sunday, October 25 (from 9am to 11am)

Where: Yarra River (start at Burnley and finish at Southbank)

The Australian Boat Race weekend will commence with a media call at the University of Melbourne Boat Club on Friday, October 23 at 11am. University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis will present the crews and the Melbourne team will issue the formal challenge to Sydney. A detailed alert will be sent to media next week detailing interview, vision and picture opportunities.

Full University of Sydney crews:

Women’s Eight

Olivia Ashby

Fiona Ewing

Rebecca Humphris

Elizabeth Kell

Holly Lawrence (captain)

Claudia Lowe

Loren Parsons

Carina Simpson

Laura Triggs

Emma Fessey (reserve)

Debbie Fox (coach)

Esther Verburg (coach)

Men’s Eight

David Bartholot

Sasha Belonogoff (captain)

Jacob Bicknell

Cameron Girdlestone

Andrew Judge

Alexander Purnell

William Raven

Campbell Watts

Tobias Wehr-Candler

Thomas Whitehead (reserve)

Mark Prater (coach)

Tom Sacre (coach)

Full University of Melbourne crews:

Women’s Eight

Alice Arch

Sarah Banting

Jennifer Cleary

Hedda Cooper

Alice McNamara (captain)

Stephanie Radford

Olivia Sibillin

Phoebe Stanley

Claudia Zucchelli

Kate Duggan (reserve)

Annabelle Eaton (coach)

Men’s Eight

Josh Booth (captain)

David Crawshay

Alistair Cunningham

Connor Grace

Sam Hookway

John Linke

Callum Mackenzie

Samantha Sloss

Jordan Smith

Edward Gubbins (reserve)

Isaac Smith (reserve)

Edward Gubbins (reserve)

Ed Monteith (coach)