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NSW Eights make history in Centenary year

New South Wales wins all four Interstate Races, including the King’s and Queen’s Cups;

Genevieve Horton wins Nell Slatter for NSW for first time in 20 years; NSW wins Rowing Australia Cup

Sunday provided a monumental finish to an incredible week of racing at the 2019 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta. The King’s and Queen’s Cups Interstate Regatta delivered for the crowds as the event closed off a week-long celebration of rowing and the Centenary of the King’s Cup.

The winning New South Wales crews (Copyright RA/Delly Carr)

The King’s Cup was one of the most highly anticipated races for the week, undoubtedly due to the fact the trophy was celebrating its Centenary and the families of the original 1919 King’s Cup winning crew were in the stands watching the regatta. New South Wales were the stand out crew and claimed victory in the blue-riband event.

The winners came out strong with the Victorians not far behind; with New South Wales leading into the halfway point, coxswain Kendall Brodie called on the crew to make their move to break away from the pack. This gave the crew a lead by over four seconds with only 500m to go. The Victorians lifted it towards the line but it wasn’t enough to catch the crew from New South Wales who finished first in a time of 5:46.09. Victoria claimed silver and South Australia took the bronze medal in a tight tussle for the podium with Western Australia.

First time winner of the King’s Cup Jack O’Brien reported, “It’s pretty amazing, it’s my first experience in the King’s Cup, words can’t really describe how I’m feeling right now.

“There’s a lot of hype around it but you have to keep calm, but now it’s all over you are actually a part of something really big, really happy to be a part of it. 

“The boys called me to grab the trophy which was absolutely amazing, it’s not every day you get to hold the King’s Cup up in your hands and raise it.”

The Queens Cup proved to be one of the most exciting races of the day and regatta. The crew from New South Wales reclaimed the title in the Women’s Eight, ending Victoria’s 14-year winning streak. The New South Wales crew came out swinging and stayed clear for the first kilometre, yet by the last 500m the gap back to Victoria was barely a second.

As the finish drew closer both crews lifted the rate to wind it to the line. New South Wales were in front but the Victorian’s didn’t give up easily and gave it all they had for the last 250m. With five strokes to go it was bow ball to bow ball with New South Wales surging in front over the line and claimed the win by a margin of 0.62. Victoria took the silver and the bronze went to Western Australia.

Georgie Rowe from the New South Wales crew said on their win, “It’s pretty exciting; it’s something the girls have been building on for a while and to be a part of it is really special.

“It was a really good race, we came out hot and Victoria were really tough but we just got over the line before them so it was really exciting.

“What we have worked on in training is having the confidence to get out in front and stay in front and just keep going and not wait for the Victorians to row through us.” 

Kendall Brodie gets tossed into the drink (Copyright RA/Delly Carr)

The Women’s PR3 Single Scull opened the Interstate Regatta for 2019. The race was dominated by Nikki Ayers from ACT, Ayers won in a clear 16.87 seconds. In second place Julia Story from New South Wales and third place new comer Anu Francis of South Australia. Ayers said, “It felt pretty good it was really hard conditions out there, and the wind just kept on coming out of nowhere but really happy to finish with the win today and I’m really happy to rep ACT.”

Queenslander Mac Russell went back to back in the Interstate Men’s PR3 Single Scull in a time of 8:39.71, followed by Ben Gibson of New South Wales and in third Aaron Skinner Victoria. The reigning champion Russe;l reflected on his race, “That’s my third win in this event, I felt I had to work extra hard with me being one of the small ones in the race and it wasn’t easy in a head wind but I had to keep going.”

Genevieve Horton broke a 20-year drought winning the Interstate Women’s Single Scull for New South Wales for the first time since 1999 clocking in at 8.00.10 into a tough headwind. Katrina Bateman of Victoria secured the silver and ACT sculler Cara Grzeskowiak put in a massive final 500m and rowed through South Australia’s Olympia Aldersey to claim the bronze.

Horton reflected on the significance of today’s win. “It’s really, really special I’ve been clawing around the back end of the field for the last couple years so to finally get the win today for NSW is really special.”

Alex Hill made South Australia proud as he was first to cross the line in the Men’s Single Scull in a powerful display of athleticism.  Hill is the first South Australian to win the President’s Cup twice in 151 years of the event. Caleb Antill of ACT was only 2.74 seconds after to claim the silver and Joshua Booth of Victoria took the bronze as he rowed through the pack after a slower start.

Alex Hill lifts the President’s Cup (Copyright RA/Delly Carr)

Tasmania started strong and maintained their lead throughout the race in the Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Scull. The crew stroked by Australian Rowing Team member Georgia Nesbitt put on an impressive display and dictated the race from the opening stroke, claiming the Victoria Cup. New South Wales held second throughout the race and pushed away from Western Australia in the third 500; the women from the West taking the bronze.

Georgia Nesbitt of the winning crew spoke about the race, “We knew it was going to be a pretty tight race, New South Wales were going to be stiff competition but it was always the plan to get in front and go and if we weren’t in front get in front.”

Victoria took the win in a thrilling race for the Penrith Cup in the Lightweight Men’s Coxless Four. The crew of Michael McNamara, James Crouch, Red Matthews and Jayden Grey started patiently and worked their way back through to the leading boat position by the 1500m mark. The Victorians claimed the win over New South Wales who had led the start of the race, and the ACT crew push up over Tasmania in the final stages of the race to take the bronze.

Michael McNamara commented on the win, “We’ve been training for this for a fair while, words can’t describe how happy I am right now.This is the pinnacle of what I call rowing, so stoked!”

Julia Story, Nikki Ayres and Anu Francis (Copyright Rowing Australia/Delly Carr)

The Men’s Youth Eights showed clear race leaders from the start and the positions remained unchanged after the first 500m. New South Wales jumped out to lead from the first stroke and took the Noel F Wilkinson Trophy once again. The Victorians stayed in contact with the leading crew but could not break them, they took second place and the bronze went to Western Australia.

Jackson Kench from the New South Wales crew reflected on the race today, “We really came up against some good competition across the board I think all the athletes in this division were really, really good and this is a sweet win that’s for sure.”

The Bicentennial Cup told a similar story to the Men’s event, as crews that lead at the halfway mark retained their positions to the finish line. The win was to the prevailing New South Wales clocking in at 7:03.31. A battle to the line saw Queensland take the silver by a margin of 0.52 to Victoria who took the bronze.