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Hong Kong shines, alongside top Australian crews

Day six of the 2017 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta brought perfect racing conditions for the finals and sprints, with still water and sunny skies presenting over Penrith.

The international competitors made an impression throughout the day. Team Hong Kong had two boats make it through to race in the Open Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Scull final, putting them in a strong position to take out the title. Stroked by Hin Chun Chiu, Hong Kong steamed through competitors to win the race in 6 minutes and 2 seconds.

“It was probably one of our better races, we’ve not had a lot of full speed preparation coming into this (regatta) because we’ve just finished winter training in Hong Kong,” said Kenny Liu who sat in two-seat in the champion quad.

“This race everything tied together nicely. The conditions were good; I think the time was alright as well… it felt pretty quick!” added Liu.

Hong Kong also had two boats competing in the 500m Open Men’s Quadruple Scull. They led a fast race, claiming both gold and silver in the sprint final, with first place finishing in 1 minute 23 seconds.

If their success at this year’s regatta is anything to go by, Hong Kong will be back and remain a force to be reckoned with in years to come.

The University of Tasmania Composite-NSWIS competed strongly in the para-rowing final for LTA Mixed Coxed Four, having only trained together twice before the race. The crew led the field and crossed the line first, finishing the 1000m race in 3 minutes 48 seconds.

“It was good to get out there and have a solid row,” Sara Waitzer said, who stroked the champion crew.

“The competitors didn’t make it easy, but that’s what Nationals is about. It was a really good row by everyone,” added the Tasmanian.

Following on with their success from earlier in the week, Adelaide Uni composite-WAIS/ACTAS were thrilled to get over the line in first place in the Under 23 Men’s Quadruple Scull.

For Sam Marsh, this was his second year in a row to take out this title and amongst such tough competition, he couldn’t have been happier with the result. “It’s great to keep the winning streak going, it’s a fantastic regatta and lovely to be here,” said Marsh.

The beginning of the Eights finals brought much excitement to the crowd.

Strong competition arose in the Open Women’s Eight, as many big names featured across all five boats. Gold and silver were separated by mere 0.91 seconds with the Commercial Composite crew taking out the national title.

Scotch College rowed a superb race in the Under 19 Men’s Eight. Challenged by Toowong and St Peter’s in the last 500m, Scotch were ecstatic to get over the line first. “It’s pretty awesome I’ve got to say, I’ve dreamed of this for five years!” said Teddy Webster, who stroked the winning crew.

“We really focused on a powerful first kilometre, to get out there so we could control the race… and there was a big emphasis to push in the back end and carry that momentum forward,” added Webster.

The sprints were a real highlight of the day, with many narrow finishes keeping spectators’ eyes glued to the big screen for photo finish results.

They were entertained through to the last race of the day where in the Open Men’s Eight Sprint, Sydney-NTC and UTS crossed the finish just 0.07 seconds apart. After yet another photo finish, Sydney-NTC were determined the National Champions.

The club sprints are a great aspect of the weekend’s racing, with all categories competing across all ages. These clubs bring people from the many realms within rowing and place them in a boat together. For Corio Bay, in the Open Men’s Eight 500m sprint, there is the combined talent of Tristan Shipsides, who has been the underage national rowing team physiotherapist, and James Wilson who has represented Australia on the world stage.

Tomorrow brings the regatta to its pinnacle. Amongst many notable races, state teams will contest for the King’s and Queen’s Cup Interstate Regatta and the schoolboys and schoolgirls will fight it out for national titles.