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Hot conditions for competitors on opening day of 2018 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta

In warm but calm conditions, the opening day of the 2018 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta was about the small boats, with plenty of singles and pairs taking to the waters of the Sydney International Regatta Centre in Penrith. The day saw a mixture of Underage and Open events take place with lots of competitive action on the water.

In the Open categories, there was plenty of representation in the sculling from Olympians, Australian Rowing Team and National Training Centre athletes alike. 2016 Rio Olympian, Madeleine Edmunds began her 2017 campaign defence of the Open Women’s Single Scull in perfect form recording the quickest time of the heats in seven minutes 43 seconds.

Edmunds, a member of the Hancock Prospecting National Training Centre, has just been named to represent Australia in the Women’s Single Scull for the 2018 World Rowing Cups, said she enjoyed the opening day atmosphere.

“It’s pretty nice, especially after the last week of doing a lot more time trial pieces at selection trials. It’s nice to have everyone here and see the place really bubbling with life.”

The Commercial Rowing Club athlete added her excitement for the racing to come this week. “I’m racing in the Double Scull with Molly Goodman and then the Open Eight, and then rowing the Single and the Eight for Queensland. We’re pretty hyped up about racing, we’re currently thinking about how we’re going to seat the Open Eight as it’s made up of majority NTC athletes, so it’s going to be a pretty great race, it’s exciting.”

There were three heats for the Open Men’s Single Scull today, with the luck of the Irish striking in the opening heat, with 2016 Olympic silver medallist Paul O’Donovan winning his heat in a time of six minutes 57 seconds. Adelaide Rowing Club, and Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist, Alexander Hill was the winner of the second heat, in a time that placed him the second fastest overall qualifier for  Wednesday’s semi-finals behind O’Donovan.

ACT Men’s Single Scull State Champion, Caleb Antill, won the final Open Men’s Single Scull heat to reserve his spot in the semi-finals. Having recently been named in Australia’s Men’s Quadruple Scull for the 2018 World Rowing Cups, Antill was pleased with his first race of the competition.

“It was a good first hit out, coming out of trials last week we didn’t have a whole bunch of rowing in the singles so it’s great to be back out there by ourselves, especially against some tough competition.”

Antill said he was excited about competing at the regatta, “It’s an opportunity to go back to your club, we get to talk to the younger athletes and we get to represent ourselves in the single as well. I’m looking forward to the week.”

In the Under 19 Men’s Single Scull and Under 19 Women’s Single Scull, last year’s defending champions were back in fine fettle to take on the competition.

Reigning Junior World Champion in the Men’s Double Scull, Cormac Kennedy-Leverett, took an early lead in his heat to cross the line for his club, Griffith University Surfer Paradise, in time of seven minutes 11 seconds in what was comfortably the fastest qualifying time for the U19 Men’s Single Sculls heats.

In the women’s event, Taylor McCarthy-Smith from Brisbane & GPS Rowing Club won her heat by a boat length over Katelyn Nicholson, in what was an impressive time of eight minutes 10 seconds, and in turn posting the quickest qualifying time.

Meanwhile, the fastest qualifier from the Under 17 Women’s Single Scull was Georgia Powell from University of Queensland Boat Club in a time of eight minutes 28 seconds. In the Under 17 Men’s Single Scull, Patrick Long from St. Joseph’s Nudgee College won his heat in seven minutes 33 seconds to progress to the semi-final with the fastest time of the day. There is plenty more underage and schools rowing to come throughout the week, with no doubt more quick times to be recorded.

The temperature continued to rise during the day but the still conditions remained with the lightweight events beginning after lunch.

The Under 23 Lightweight Women’s Single Scull heats was dominated by members of the 2017 Under 23 Australian Rowing Team Lightweight Quadruple Scull crew, with Wallis Russell comfortably winning her heat and Verayna Zilm, Georgina Masters and Madeleine Williams competing against each other to take the top three positions in their heat.

Hancock Prospecting Women’s National Training Centre athletes ruled the Open Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls heats with Toowong’s Amy James recording the fastest qualifying time, crossing the line in a time of seven minutes 53 seconds.

Recently selected athletes in the Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Scull squad for the 2018 World Cups put in strong performances in the Open Lightweight Men’s Single Scull heats. Jack Kelly and Blaine Heseltine automatically qualified for the A Final while third placed Michael McNamara will now face tomorrow’s repechage.

Numerous athletes from Argentina, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan and Vietnam are also entered to compete this week. Today saw impressive starts for Argentinian, Japanese and Irish athletes who won their respective heats.

The schedule for Day Two can be found HERE