Wednesday at the 2017 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta was a day of firsts for all those involved.
The commencement of the first semi-finals for small boats of all age groups got underway, as well as the first races of the Para-rowing events.
The hot and humid conditions presented today at Penrith were handled with aplomb by a number of younger club and school competitors, alongside many National Training Centre (NTC) and Australian Representative athletes.
One of the more notable performances of the day was by Somerville House athletes Laura Chancellor and Ella Hudson.
Competing in two different semi-final heats of the same boat class, the Under 17 Women’s Single Scull, Chancellor and Hudson both won, and progressed to what will no doubt make an interesting final.
Somerville Director of Rowing, Oleg Shishkin, spoke about the program he, and the senior coaches, have implemented at Somerville.
“Its not the quantity, rather quality that makes the program great. That’s what we have tried to implement… its not just time spent on the water, but how smartly you use that time,” Shishkin stated.
He also made it known that friendly yet fierce competition between Hudson and Chancellor is a major key to their success.
“It’s the natural talent that we are trying to develop (with these two athletes) … there is nothing between the two of them, and that’s what helps them to keep improving, to compete against each other,” explained Shishkin.
Many other junior athletes had successful results throughout the day, such as
Olivia Bartram from University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Boat Club recording the quickest overall time in the Under 21 Women’s Single Scull semi-finals.
Bartram fought hard against strong competitors in the second half of the race, and is fully focused for the upcoming final.
“I’m confident going into the final, it was good to get the pace in the semi-finals with everyone, it was a really good race,” said Bartram.
Day three of competition also officially marked the beginning of the Para-rowing events. Just prior to the lunch break, spectators witnessed two heats of the Legs, Trunk and Arms (LTA) Men’s Single Scull, an event currently raced over 1000 metres.
It was a great sight, with competitive racing over both heats, which also featured two international athletes from Team Hong Kong and Team Vanuatu.
Mac Russell from the University of Queensland took out the first heat in a time of 3 mins 53 secs, whilst Kevin du Toit from UTS claimed victory in the second heat, marginally slower, finishing in 3 mins and 59 secs.
In what was the biggest entry of the LTA class to date, the final tomorrow will be very hotly contested race. The final will no doubt be followed closely by those from Vanuatu, with their first internationally classified para-rower, George Langa, competing alongside seven other quality athletes from clubs in Australia.
Like the days prior, today’s racing started in exciting fashion, with semi-finals of the Open Men’s Single Scull, Open Men and Women’s Coxless Pairs and Under 23 Women’s Single Scull going down to the wire with close results.
With the top four progressing to the A-Final in each of these semis, it was the first semi-final of the Men’s Single Scull that provided the most excitement, with Swan River/WAIS athlete Chris Hayes coming from behind to finish over the top of Wilson Mure, Hamish Playfair and Spencer Turrin in a time of 7 minutes, 12 seconds. All of these athletes progressed to the A-Final.
In the following race, the Open Men’s Coxless Pair, it was the Adelaide RC-NTC combination of Bryn Coudraye and Alex Hill who won the race for lanes in the sleek time of 6 mins 40 secs.
In what is proving to be one of the most competitive boat classes of the small boat competition, the Under 23 Women’s Single Scull yet again provided eye-catching results.
Ria Thompson from Melbourne-VIS was able to provide the quickest overall time of both semi-finals, with Caitlin Cronin from University of Queensland/NTC coming in second, while in the earlier semi-final Rowena Meredith, from Sydney University/NTC snapped up the win.
The final of this event, to be held tomorrow, is sure to be a thriller, with so many athletes eyeing up the podium.
Undoubtedly the strongest win of the day came right after the lunch break, with dynamic duo Maddie Edmunds from Commercial RC/NTC and Olympia Aldersey from Adelaide RC/NTC recording an outstanding 20 second winning margin in the Open Women’s Double Scull over some very strong competition.
They visibly came out with a point to prove, extending a five-second lead at the 1000 metre mark into a 12 second lead with only 500 metres to go.
All the results of today’s race results can be found at the SIRR website, with an exciting day of finals beginning tomorrow at 8:05am.