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Golden day for rowers at 2018 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta

Finals continued today at the 2018 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta with athletes racing for a podium finish. The overcast but calm conditions allowed for plenty of closely fought out finals, with numerous rowers medalling for the second time this National Championship.

The day commenced in an exciting fashion with less than one second separating gold and silver in the Under 17 Women’s Double Scull final. It was Lucy Hope and Sophie Gerber (Toowong RC) who held off a strong finish from Grace Sypher and Georgia Powell (University of Queensland BC/Rockhampton GS) to win. With these athletes finishing in the top four positions in the Under 17 Women’s Single Scull final, it was unsurprising that the quality of racing was so high.

Dual medallist, Lucy Hope said she was happy with how she and Gerber executed the race.

“It went really well, we stuck to our race plan the way we wanted which was great. Georgia and Grace started pushing up in the last 500 metres but we pushed back and got the win,” said Hope.

In the Under 19 Women’s Double Sculls final, Taylor McCarthy-Smith and Laura Chancellor (Brisbane & GPS RC/Toowong RC-QAS) proved to be an unstoppable force after claiming gold and silver in yesterday’s Under 19 Women’s Double Scull.

Chancellor admitted that the race didn’t go completely to plan.

“It was pretty hard, we caught a crab 200 metres into the race so we had to really grind to get past that. But I’m really proud of how we didn’t let this affect us and we did manage to get the win,” she said.

Olympians David Watts and Alexander Hill (Sydney RC/Adelaide RC -NTC) combined to win the Open Men’s Double Scull by two seconds. It was a hotly contested race with Campbell Watts and Hamish Playfair (UTS RC/Sydney University BC-NTC) finishing with silver and brothers Alexander and Nicholas Purnell (Sydney University BC-NTC) claiming bronze.

Hill said that he was expecting a tight race and it was a matter of remaining strong through to the end.

“We knew that Hamish (Playfair) and Campbell (Watts) were going to have a good start so we were just trying to stay in touch, do the work and build through that. It was great to be paired with Dave (Watts) and go through the finish line first,” he said.

Unsurprisingly, it was the composite crew from Melbourne University RC/Mercantile RC that won the Open Men’s Coxless Four final.

Filled with Olympians, National Training Centre athletes and a World Record Holder the star-studded crew of Josh Dunkley-Smith, Joshua Booth, Simon Keenan and Patrick Boomer never lost their lead and finished a comfortable two boat lengths ahead.

Cormac Kennedy-Leverett and Jackson Free (Griffith University Surfers Paradise RC) claimed gold convincingly in the Under 21 Men’s Double Scull Final. The pair opened up a four second lead with 500 metres left in the race for a comfortable win. This adds to both of their medal collections, with the Queenslanders tasting success in their respective Single Scull finals.

Para-rowing finals continued today, with Erik Horrie (Sydney RC-NSWIS) once again crowned the Australian National Champion in the PR1 Men’s Single Scull. For Horrie, racing today was all about enjoying himself and showcasing the possibilities for paraplegics.
“Being at Nationals is unbelievable, it’s all about getting out there and showing people that I have a disability but that doesn’t stop me from getting on the water. Rowing has basically given me a whole new world.”

The Paralympic dual silver medallist and four time World Championship gold medallist strives to help younger rowers with a disability realise that they can compete at the top level.

“It’s a privilege I’ve got to introduce new rowers and bring the next generation in that will be representing Australia this year and in Tokyo in 2020. I think we’ve got some very talented rowers coming through,” added the Penrith local.

In the PR3 Mixed Double Scull final it was Kathleen Murdoch and Ben Gibson (Nepean RC/Sydney RC-NSWIS) that won gold, recording a time of seven minutes 45 seconds.

International success continued today with Team Indonesia claiming the Bucks Trophy in the Open Lightweight Men’s Coxed Eight, while Team Argentina added to their medal tally, rowing strongly across the finish line to win the Under 19 Men’s Coxless Four.

Schools rowing took to the water again this afternoon with the heats of the Schoolgirl’s Coxed Eights taking place. MLC Kew raced the fastest time of the day, while Walford Anglican School and Pymble Ladies’ College also impressed, as the 2017 gold and bronze medallists recorded the next two quickest times.

Finals action will recommence tomorrow, with all racing being livestreamed via Rowing Australia’s website from 7:45am.