The morning session of competition on the biggest day of the 2017 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta was highlighted by some memorable racing by school and club competitors.
In the highly anticipated Schoolgirl’s Coxed Eight, it was the ladies from Walford Anglican in lane four, who recovered from their slow start to power over the top of the field and take out the Sydney Cup.
Stroke of the eight, Katelyn Nicholson, commented on the crew rapport that kept them pushing through.
“It’s a crew thing, we trust in each other so much that we are able to have the strongest middle 1000 metres, stay consistent, and be the crew that slows down the least over the final 500 metres,” said Nicholson.
The Schoolboy’s Coxed Eight was always going to provide an intense battle between the two school rowing powerhouses of Shore School from New South Wales, and Scotch College from Victoria, and it prevailed.
Quick out of the blocks, Scotch College moved into the lead after the 500 metre mark, and that’s were they remained as they took out the Barrington Cup for 2017.
The battle for third was equally as good, ending in a thrilling dead heat between Melbourne Grammar and Geelong College, after they were unable to be split by a photo finish.
The Club Men’s Double Scull was one of the most thrilling Club finals, with Mercantile duo James Hoban and Hugo Van De Graaf establishing an early lead, but only just hanging on to win by half a second from the fast finishing Canberra Rowing Club.
Van De Graaf spoke about how they managed to scrape past the post in the lead and become National Champions.
“In the last 150 metres I just stopped thinking about anything. We went up higher in stroke rate and just tried to hold that little advantage we had”, commented the elated Mercantile rower.
In the Club Women’s Coxed Four, the crew from Sydney Rowing Club were the first to greet the Finish Tower, as they used their explosive speed out of the blocks to set up the race, and ensure they had the view on all the other crews right to the finish line.
As for the Club Men’s Coxed Four, the University of Technology Sydney crew of Zac Whitehead, George Finlayson, Paddy Holt and Marcus Elster had to dig deep in the second half of the race after dropping to third passing the 1000 metre line.
Their grit and persistence paid dividends, recording an almost clear-water win over Sydney, with Melbourne University rounding out the podium in third.
St Scholastica’s Glebe athlete Nicela Martincic was one of the most fascinating National Champions of the entire regatta after winning the Schoolgirl’s Single Scull A-final.
She is the lone rower for St Scholastica’s, but that did not stop her from being confident that she could take out the title.
“It could have been anyone’s race, but I mentally prepared myself for the best result and it worked! I feel really tired now, though,” proclaimed Martincic.
There was some controversy this morning, however, as Melbourne University were promoted to first position, and therefore National Champions, in the Club Men’s Coxed Eight. This result was decided 30 minutes after the race had finished.
This allowed Sydney Rowing Club to move into the silver medal position, and the originally disheartened members of the Toowong crew received bronze.
Unfortunately for UTS, who originally finished in first, they were disqualified from the race due to failing to properly declare a substitution within their boat.
And so concludes a wonderful week at the foot of the Blue Mountains. Racing was top quality, and so was the support and care from all those involved. Bring on next year!