Following a day of glorious sunshine, the second day of the 2017 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta presented itself with milder conditions, overcast skies and still waters.
The morning started with strong competition in the Open Women’s Single Scull, with Olympians and NTC athletes across the two heats.
In the first race of the day, Rio Olympian Genevieve Horton led the field 1000 metres in, followed closely by team-mate Olympia Aldersey. In the second half of the race, Aldersey gained ground on Horton, passing the New South Wales athlete, to win the race in 7 minutes and 44 seconds, with Horton 2.2 seconds behind.
Throughout the second heat Maddie Edmunds, who stroked the Australian Women’s Quadruple Scull at the 2016 Olympic Games, led the field comfortably. She finished with the quickest time across the two heats, 7 minutes, 41 seconds. Edmunds was followed over the line by Fiona Ewing from Sydney University/NSWIS, who is also on the Women’s sculling squad for the World Rowing Cups with Edmunds, Aldersey and Horton. Placing third was London Olympian Hannah Vermeersch from West Australian Rowing Club/WAIS.
After coming second in the finals last year against fellow Queenslander, Sally Kehoe, Edmunds is happy with the start she’s had at SIRR this year. “With my heat, I felt pretty confident. I’ve done some good work in the last few months in my scull so I just wanted to get out there and consolidate that,” said Edmunds.
Now being one of the more senior rowers in her field, Edmunds has found the competition to be a different experience this year, with the likes of seasoned competitors Kehoe, Kim Brennan and Kerry Hore missing this year’s competition. “It’s a very different feel to what I’ve ever had…having to lead the field is a very different approach to take [in a race]. I’ve been feeling it’s helped a lot with my racing, it is very different though not having those girls to chase down. You have to push yourself a lot harder,” admitted Edmunds.
There was some impressive talent on show today in the Men’s Under 21’s Coxless Pair, with close finishing times across both heats. Sydney University rowers Lochie Miles and Jack O’Brien, who also competed in 2016 in the Junior Australian Rowing Team, won their heat with a time of 6 minutes 58 seconds. “Conditions were good today, and we’re really serious about winning this boat class,” Miles said. With such a tight competition across this category, the final on Thursday will be one to keep an eye on.
Spectators at the course also witnessed some big leads throughout the heats. In Under 23 Women’s Coxless Pair, Annabelle McIntyre and Bronwyn Cox from University of WA/Fremantle-WAIS storming across the finish line in 7 minutes 21 seconds. The pair, who both train at WAIS, finished with a 15.40 second lead over Melbourne University-VIS pair Jacqueline Hart and Annika Hoffmann who placed second.
Leading into lunch, the international competitors gave some strong performances on the course. In the second heat of Men’s Open Lightweight Single, Hin Chun Chiu from Team Hong Kong rowed an impressive race. James Kerr, who was recently named in the 2017 Australian Rowing Team, was leading for the first 1500m and in the final 500m, Chun Chiu crept up the West Australian to win the race with a 2.40 second margin, his time being 7 minutes 17 seconds.
Following suit, also from Hong Kong, Wai Chun Wong rowed a strong race in Repechage Four for the Under 21 Men’s Lightweight Scull, leading comfortably from 1500m to finish in 7 minutes 46 seconds, about a length ahead of Australian competitor Jack Tomich from Adelaide University, who finished in second place.
The day presented a number of thrilling repechages, with many competitors battling out for a place through to finals. It was neck and neck in the Under 19 Men’s Single Scull, with Chad Derecourt from Swan River and Connor Ryan from North Esk battling each other to the finish line. Derecourt placed first in 7 minutes 43 seconds, with Ryan crossing the line a mere 0.58 seconds later. Lachlan Stevenson from Shore also finished strongly in 7 minutes 42 seconds, with a comfortable lead of 14.26 seconds in his heat.
The quads made for exciting viewing after lunch, with racing finishing up around 2:20pm in the afternoon. For all race results, head onto the event website: http://sirr.rowingaustralia.com.au