The Schoolboy Coxed Eight (SB8+) has had a substantial influx of entries this year with 21 crews entered (compared with only 10 last year) and the competition looks to be fierce. Fast finishing winners from Schoolboy Eights events at Head of the River’s held around the country earlier this month will line up for their heats from 17:00 AEST on Thursday afternoon. Here are some of the crews to watch…
The quickest times came out of New South Wales with three of the schoolboy crews posting sub-six minutes in their AAGPS HOR finals. Reigning champions Shore School took the title with a blistering 5:56.38, the fastest time recorded in a 2019 Head of the River result. Interestingly, the King’s School Eight were only .51 of a second behind the winners but have not entered the SIRR event, leaving St Joseph’s College- Hunter’s Hill with the next fastest time of 5:57.72.
The 2018 SB8+ runner up Scotch College (Melbourne) will have another run at the title this year; they have consistently posted fast times winning their HOR Final in 6:01.42, with Brighton Grammar’s Eight also about the mark and entered in the event. The only crew from the Queensland SB8+ Head of the River final is St Joseph’s College – Nudgee who offered up a very respectable 6:00.87 to win the event at the Wyaralong course.
Western Australian crews have the farthest to travel for this event, yet Christ Church Grammar School had a clean sweep of first through fourth in the Eights events in the PSA Head of the River last week showing immense depth in their squad and the school has committed two crews to race.
Winners of South Australian Head of the River St Peter’s Boys College posted a 6:07.29 last weekend, yet with Adelaide conditions slowing times across the board, we will get a truer sense of this crew’s speed when they race their heat on the SIRC tomorrow (Thursday). These young athletes have been developed under the watchful eye of three-time Olympian James McRae. The crew teamed up with their coach and Para athlete Jed Altschwager to take out the Open Men’s State Championship Eight against some very strong Open club crews earlier this month, so we will follow this crew’s progress with interest.
With the exceptional calibre of schoolboy rowers attending the 2019 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta event this year, we expect to see some competitive races and quick finals from all the crews as they bid to take out the Barrington Cup. Additionally, the strength in the field bodes well for hot competition in the Noel F Wilkinson Trophy (Interstate Men’s Youth 8+) on Sunday, as many of the selectors source the fit and well drilled young men in these school 8’s to fill their state team.