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CEO Update – August 2018

Welcome to the August Rowing Australia Newsletter. Having been in the CEO role for nearly eight months now, I am delighted to advise that I will provide you with a quarterly update in our newsletters moving forward, with this one being the first. These updates will also be available on our website and via video on our social media channels.

It has been wonderful to meet so many of you at various rowing occasions, be it more recently at the Rowing in Australia Forums, or earlier in the year at SIRR or simply when I have been out on the river bank watching a regatta. The Rowing in Australia Forum saw us visit all of our seven member States/Territories and I enjoyed the ability to share and interact with so many of the rowing community. To meet with over 100 clubs and schools during the forums provided a fantastic insight into what we’re doing well and where we also need to do better.

The video in this month’s newsletter summarises some of the main learnings that we’ve taken from the Forums. The video is available to watch here.

As many of you who attended the forums will also be aware, we also premiered our new culture video, created for us pro bono through the exceptional work of the DDB Group and Interbrand.  This launches our new vision statement, Excellence through Rowing, on and off the water, where we aim to inspire and enable everyone involved with rowing to be the best they can be. You can watch the video here on the Rowing Australia YouTube Channel here.

Our most recent Rowing Australia Board meeting was held in Melbourne with a number of topics discussed. In particular, there are two areas that I feel the community should be aware of.  The first is an updated framework to ensure the continued safety and wellbeing of children involved in rowing, through a national Child Safe Commitment and Child Safe Code of Conduct, which we will look to adopt across the sport. We will support clubs and schools to adopt this child safe framework, including providing education and resources to assist the implementation of these procedures in your environments. The second is the creation of SunSmart Guidelines for the whole of sport, the purpose of the guidelines (once finalised) are to promote sun safe practices amongst rowing clubs and participants, and to reduce the risk of rowing participants developing health conditions related to exposure to UV radiation or repeated sunburn.

The international racing season is drawing to a close with our Senior Australian Rowing Team set to race in just a few weeks at the 2018 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. I’m sure the whole community joins with me in wishing the whole team the very best of luck.

Our Junior, Under 21 and Under 23 Australian Rowing Teams have been busy competing within Australia and overseas. It was fantastic to see our Junior Australian Rowing Team come away with two silvers and a bronze medal in Račice, earlier this month. I for one am looking forward to seeing Cormac Kennedy-Leverett and Taylor McCarthy-Smith compete in the single sculls for Australia in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina in early October.

Congratulations also to Sean Murphy on winning bronze in the U23 Lightweight Men’s Single Scull in Poznan, Poland early this year and finally to our Under 21 Australian Rowing Team who retained the Rusty Robertson Trophy in a stellar series against New Zealand. I was lucky enough to travel to New Zealand to support the Australian Under 21 Team and it was fantastic to see our Pathways athletes relishing the opportunity to race and excelling at it too.

I would also like to congratulate the crews that competed at the World University Rowing Championships in Shanghai earlier this month. It was fantastic to see Cara Grzeskowiak (ACT) claimed silver in the Women’s Single Scull, while Rosie Beasley (NSW) and Jilly Roberts (ACT) took silver in Lightweight Women’s Double Scull.

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all the parents, friends, clubs, schools, State Institutes and Academies and volunteers that support all our athletes from junior through to elite. Our sport would not function without your unwavering support and for that, we are truly grateful.

Finally, as I round off this update, I wanted to flag a few key dates with the community. October will be a busy month for indoor rowing, with the 2018 Invictus Games and the 2018 Australian Indoor Rowing Challenge. We’re delighted to have many members of the Australian rowing community volunteering at the indoor rowing events at the 2018 Invictus Games and we wish all the competitors, especially our Australian team, the very best of luck.

The 2018 Australian Indoor Rowing Challenge takes place on 28 October this year. There will be nine event centres across the country to compete at and get involved, so stay tuned to RA’s digital channels for more information.

Finally, the 2018 Hancock Prospecting Rower of the Year Awards will take place on 3 November at the International Convention Centre in Sydney. Tickets are available to purchase via the Rowing Australia here. We look forward to having many of the rowing community join us in celebrating the past, present and future of our great sport.

Kind regards,


Ian Robson
CEO, Rowing Australia