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King’s Cup Centenary race set to close 2019 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta

Victoria attempting to win its 15 consecutive Queen’s Cup title

The show-stopping end of the 2019 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta takes place tomorrow (Sunday) in the form of the King’s and Queen’s Cups Interstate Regatta. All the best athletes in Australia come together to race in their State of Origin colours across a range of set Open, Youth, Para and Lightweight boat classes. There is fierce rivalry between the states who are also vying for the Rowing Australia Cup awarded to the State with the most points post the 10 events raced on Sunday afternoon.

This year there is special significance to the regatta as we celebrate the Centenary of the King’s Cup, originally presented to the winning Australian Imperial Force No. 1 Crew (AIF) at the Henley Royal Peace Regatta of 1919. The regatta took place at the conclusion of the World War One in Henley-on-Thames, and the Australian Eight beat off competition from Canada, New Zealand, France, USA and Great Britain (the latter represented by Oxford and Cambridge).

Ahead of the interstate racing on Sunday, there will be a Commemorative Ceremony featuring family members of the original King’s Cup winning crew, while the regatta is set to be closed by the Royal Australian Air Force with a special fly over.

Sunday’s morning session will see finals of the Schools and Clubs racing, with a preview of the Schools racing available on the Rowing Australia website.

Below we preview each of the Interstate Races ahead of Sunday:

PR3 Interstate Women’s Single

Nikki Ayers (ACT) and Alex Vuillermin (VIC) both were part of the PR3 crew that raced at World Championships in Plovdiv last year. Julia Story is racing for NSW and is also a former Australian Rowing Team member; Story won in 2003 at the World Championships. Newcomer Anu Fancis (SA) took out the silver medal in the open event this week so could provide a challenge. Experience and training alike will be called upon for this hotly contested race.

PR3 Interstate Men’s Single

This is an exciting group with current titleholder, Mac Russell (QLD), defending his title against an in-form sculler, and current Australian Rowing Team member Ben Gibson from New South Wales. Jed Altschwager (SA) is not to be discounted to take out a podium spot, while a Tasmania’s Michael Taylor and Victoria’s Aaron Skinner will also be looking to snaffle up a podium spot.

President’s Cup – Men’s Single Scull

The single scull is the best of the best; Australia’s top elite male athletes battling it out on the water will be one to watch. Current holder Alex Hill is back to defend his title but will take on Australia’s top scullers including Caleb Antill (ACT) who was only 3.25 seconds off the South Australian who was the winner of the Open Men’s Scull this week. Cameron Girdlestone (NSW) and David Watts (WA) will add to the competition have been named in the Australian Men’s Quad alongside Antill. Josh Booth (VIC) and Henry Youl (TAS) make up the pack.

Nell Slatter Trophy – Women’s Single Scull

This is another exciting group with all bets off as to who will win – Cara Grzeskowiak (ACT) was recently selected to Women’s Quad and Amanda Bateman (VIC) announced in the double. Competition will definitely come from Olympia Aldersey (SA), a previous sculler now in the women’s Sweep Squad and Annabelle McIntyre (WA) who took out the title in the Open Women’s Pair this week. With Fiona Albert out this week, Lily Alton has stepped into the Queensland boat to round off the group.

The Penrith Cup – Lightweight Men’s Four

Reigning Champions New South Wales are looking good to retain the title having retained 50% of last year’s crew – James Waldersee and Sean Murphy. No doubt challenges will come from Victoria who have Red Matthews and Michael McNamara in their crew and Queensland with a rich history of winning the event have Hamish Parry in the boat. South Australia have a completely new line up compared to last year’s crew, and with Jack Kelly back from Oxford University in the stroke seat we may see the SA boat competitive this year.

The Victoria Cup – Lightweight Women’s Quad

Victoria has normally dominated this event, but this year recently named Australian Open Lightweight Alice Arch is the older stateswoman of the crew, with Alice McNamara not racing. Arch is joined by a younger crew leaving the favourites to probably be New South Wales with U23 Lightweight Georgie Masters, Georgia Miansarow, Australian Open Lightweight Sarah Pound and Sophie Jerapetritis.

Noel F Wilkinson – Youth Men’s Eight

New South Wales are the defending Champions for the Noel F Wilkinson with Jackson Kench, Alex Nichol and Will O’Shannessy retained from last year’s crew. Queensland’s crew will be looking to unseat NSW from their gold medal position, and with the 2018 silver medallists featuring two 2018 Junior World Champ medallists in Logan Ullrich and Miller Rowe they will definitely give it red hot go.

Bi-Centennial Cup – Youth Women’s Eight

Victoria are the defending champions in the boat class with another strong crew entered. The crew to beat may well be Queensland with strong Junior Australian Rowing Team representatives in Taylor McCarthy Smith, Phoebe Robinson, Laura Chancellor, Jess Scott and Leukie Smith. New South Wales will also no doubt be amongst the medals with Isabelle Furrer, Lauren Graham and Nikki Martincic in the crew. 

Queen’s Cup – Women’s Eight

Victoria are aiming for their 15th consecutive victory in the Queen’s Cup. The crew will be the one to beat with the crew including 2018 World Championship medallists Kat Werry, Rosie Popa, Lucy Stephan and Sarah Hawe plus current National Training Centre/ARTeam members Jess Morrison and Amanda Bateman. That being said, New South Wales have probably their strongest crew to date entered with seven senior Australian Rowing Team members – Fiona Ewing, Emma Fessey, Georgie Gotch, Genevieve Horton, Rowena Meredith, Georgie Rowe and Leah Saunders joined by U23 athlete Harriet Hudson.

Minor medals are likely to come between Western Australia and South Australia with the likes of Annabelle McIntyre, Lilly Tinapple and Bronwyn Cox in the WA crew and SA seating both Molly Goodman and Olympia Aldersey this year.

King’s Cup – Men’s Eight

This year’s trophy is New South Wales to lose – the crew is incredibly strong with a full National Training Centre crew, including two World Champions in Spencer Turrin and Jack Hargreaves in the crew, plus World Championship medallists Kendall Brodie (cox), Rob Black, Nick and Alex Purnell. Victoria will be aiming to topple the men in light blue, but it will be a tall order from the strong crew including Liam Donald, Simon Keenan, Tim Masters, Angus Widdicombe and Josh Booth. Western Australia may push for a minor medal with David Watts, Sam Marsh, Jack Cleary and Josh Hicks in their crew. The Queensland crew is a developmental one with Cormac Kennedy-Leverett and Jackson Free amongst the men in maroon.