This morning’s sunrise saw hundreds of boats take to the course to prepare for the second day of the 2019 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta today. Clear skies brought high spirits as dozens of scullers looked to progress through the repechages into the semi-finals.
The U17 and U19 single sculls gave some tight races for the top two positions to progress the scullers through to the next round. The second race of the day set the tone to battle stations when Tonya Lokteff from Adelaide Rowing Club and Ellyn Hill from Brisbane Girls Grammar School battled it out for the second place on offer to make the semi-final of the U17 Women’s Single Scull; the Adelaide sculler came out on top by only 0.88 of a second.
The fastest repechage from the U17 Women’s Single Sculls came from the University of Queensland’s Sophia Wightman, with a time of 8:31.32. The first heat of the U17 men’s repechages was also a great spectacle with a tussle for the line seeing four scullers cross the finish in under 2.4 seconds; Sydney’s Gabriel Carmody and Townsville & JCU’s Jake Gilmore being the successful progressors of that heat. Townsville & JCU had a great showing of athlete strength this morning with the fastest U17 men’s time coming from their sculler Zachary Judge in 7:51.92.
Team Japan’s Misaki Anan and Tasmania University’s Abbey Boutcher had strong second races to win their respective U19 Women’s Single Scull repechages this morning, Boutcher upping her game and clocking a time nearly 20 seconds faster than her heat from Monday. The fastest time of the morning was a very swift 8:12.89 from Toowong’s Sophie Gerber. Mercantile’s Lukas Matic was the fastest qualifying for the U19 Men’s Single Scull semi-final today, significantly quicker than rest of the repechage field with a time of 7:25.98.
No surprises came in the U21 Women’s Single Scull repechage with crews leading at the kilometre retaining their lead to progress to the semi-finals. The U21 Men’s Single Scull saw some late charges into the minor positions. Miller Argent from Sydney University Boat Club came from eighth to finish third, narrowly missing out on progression, while Swan River’s Hugo Nerud charged through the field from fifth position to a second place, just 0.12 of a second behind Mosman’s Justin Brown; both scullers will move to the semi-final.
Later in the morning, National Training Centre (NTC) athletes took to the water in the Open Women’s Pairs heats. Victoria’s Jess Morrison [Mercantile], and Western Australia’s Annabelle McIntyre [Fremantle] teamed up to assert their dominance in this boat class with a time of 7:29.90, a fast time considering the headwind that blew up as the race begun.
Morrison said that the combination seemed to click at trials earlier this month and attributes the speed the duo generate due to similar personalities, staying laid back, McIntyre’s big rhythm and having the same vision. “It can be the big things like going for a medal at the Olympics, to sub seven minutes when the conditions are right, or even just a session on speed,” said the Rio 2016 Olympian.
Morrison hails from Mercantile Rowing Club, the same club as three-time Olympian and Aussie great Sarah Tait – who the Open Women’s Pair Trophy is named after, and says she feels humbled to follow in late Olympic silver medallist’s footsteps. “The club has been great to me always, as it was my first entry into the sport and looking up to the likes of Sarah Tait, it’s great to have such strong role models around the club – it’s the best launchpad you could ask for.
“Nationals is a nice reminder of where you came from, and to take pride in what I’m doing to now be a role model for the younger athletes and to have an opportunity to row with them in the bigger boats is a great way to give back to the club.”
The Open Men’s Pairs had a great club rivalry going as most entries rowed their straight club boats, with the majority of NTC athletes doing the same. Sam Hardy and Joshua Hicks rowed in their Sydney Rowing Club colours in Heat 2 with the winning time of 6:46.10, significantly quicker than Heat 1, which was won by Tim Masters and James Medway of UTS Rowing Club in a time of 7:04:26.
Joining the two crews into the A-Final, and avoiding the repechage were Melbourne University Boat Club duo of Joshua Booth and Simon Keenan and the composite pairing of Alexander Purnell (Sydney University BC) and Angus Moore (Sydney RC).
Two fast times to note from the day come from the Women’s Double Sculls group. Recently selected Australian Rowing Team athletes, Cara Grzeskowiak (Capital Lakes) and Fiona Ewing (Sydney University BC) crossing the line in their heat in a time of 6:48:71. Meanwhile, U23 young guns Harriet Hudson (Sydney RC) and Giorgia Patten (WARC), clocked a time of 6:59:63 in their heat of the U23 Women’s Double Sculls.
Semi-finals from the small boats begin tomorrow, with repechages and heats of the bigger crew boats beginning after tomorrow morning’s break.