By Rupert Guinness at the Sydney International Regatta Centre


Hariet Hudson and Amanda Bateman produced one of the most impressive and dominant victories in the finals of Day Five of the Australian Rowing Championships on Friday.


Despite their win in the final of the Open Women’s Double Scull at the Sydney International Regatta Centre [SIRC] in Penrith, they know they have much more in them.


As the Australian Women’s Double Scull crew, their ambitions are steered towards the Olympic Games in Paris that will culminate a season that also includes the World Cup series.


But on Friday, Hudson (SRC) and Bateman (Mercantile) showed they are well on track.


They won the final in 6 minutes 59.32 seconds, beating the crew of Caitlin Cronin (UQBC) and Laura Gourley (UTS) who were second at 7.85s, followed by the Lightweight crew of Anneka Reardon (ANU) and Georgia Miansarow (SUBC) who finished in third place at 16.11s.


Hudson and Bateman, coached by Ellen Randell, were understandably thrilled to claim the win – and to enjoy it; but they know that there is plenty work ahead to reach their potential.


“We’re looking at this season in its entirety, and this is just a stepping stone,” said Hudson, a Tokyo 2021 Olympian I the bronze medal winning Quad Scull.


“We have 10 races between now and the final of the Olympic Games, and with each race we want to tweak [it], we just want to get a little bit better.


“Today, we really wanted to work on our second 500m. We wanted to make sure that we’re loading the speed out, and that we maintain that speed for as long as possible.


“We executed that quite well today. We’ll go back to the drawing board now, see our Ellen Randell, and no doubt there will be things we need to tweak and a little bit better.”


Bateman, also a 2021 Tokyo Olympian but in the Double Scull with Tara Rigney who this year racing in the Single Scull, said the new combination with Hudson gels with every row.


“We had never rowed with each other [before], just side by side as competitors,” said Bateman.


“But that mutual respect is already there because we see each other attacking every session every day over the past five years.


“So, we already have that trust. Now it’s just creating that belief between us.”


Open Men’s Double Scull

As expected, David Bartholot (SUBC) and Marcus Della Marta (SUBC) won the final of the Open Men’s Double Scull; but the Australian crew were pushed all the way to the line.


The Australian Men’s Double Scull won in 6:24.19 and led all the way; but their winning margin was only 1.30s on the fast finishing duo of Alexi Rossi (WAIS) and Jack Cleary (WARC). In third at 7.47s was Oscar McGuinness (Adelaide) and Caleb Antill (ANU).


Bartholot and Della Marta expected the challenge, and for them the big test would be how they responded; especially at the tail end of a tyring month of racing and selection trials.


With Australia not yet having qualified the Double Scull boat for the Olympics, their focus will now switch to preparing for the Final Qualifying Regatta at Lucerne, Switzerland in May.


Did they feel a target on their back going into the final? “Absolutely,” said Bartholot. “We have been selected as the men’s doubles; so, we should be winning that that event; and it’s a bit of a relief to do that. We just have to keep building and get better to qualify [for Paris].


Della Marta concurred. “We knew a lot of those crews had points to prove, and we would need to go out and execute a solid race plan. We did that quite well,” Della Marta said.


“Obviously, we already had a few races and were going to fade a bit … but we kept strong and stay tough and were able to hold out the WA crew that were really coming for us.


In other Finals on Friday:

Open Women’s Coxless Four

The crew of Lucy Stephan OAM (MUBC), Bronwyn Cox (UWABC), Jessica Morrison (Mercantile) and Paige Barr (Mercantile) won the Open Women’s Coxless Four in 6:35.59.


Second was Eliza Gaffney (MUBC), Samantha Morton OAM (SRC), Jean Mitchell (MUBC), Georgina Rowe (UTS) at 2.12s.


Third at 4.85s was Olympia Aldersey (Adelaide), Lily Alton (UQBC), Jacqueline Swick (SRRC) and Georgia Patten (WARC).


Open Men’s Coxless Four

In a thrilling Open Men’s Coxless Four final, the first two places went members of the Australian Eight who split into two crews for the event.


The winners’ spoils went to Jack Hargreaves OAM (SUBC), Alex Purnell OAM (SUBC), Angus Dawson (Adelaide) and Jack O’Brien (SUBC) in 5:56.68 after fighting back from fourth place.


Second at 1.13s was Angus Widdicombe (Mercantile), Ben Canham (MUBC), Spencer Turrin OAM (SRC) and Josh Hicks (SRC).


Third at 2.41s after leading for 1500m was the Australian Coxless Four of Tim Masters (UTS), Jack Robertson (Mercantile], Fergus Hamilton (Mercantile) and Alex Hill OAM (Adelaide).


PR3 Mixed Double Scull

World Champions Jed Altschwager (Torrens) and Nikki Ayers (Capital Lakes), recently selected as Australia’s PR3 Mixed Double, set a new Australian Best time to win in 7:18.78.


Second was Lisa Greissl (Lake Macquarie) and Mac Russell (UQBC) at 28.34s, followed by Kayley Mitchell (UQBC) and Bodhi Hebhardt (AHS) in third at 48.17s.


Did they think that bettering their own new World Best of 7:07.02 set last year was possible in the still conditions? “Maybe slightly, I saw some pretty good splits,” said Altschwager.


“But sometimes the SIRC dishes up through the middle a little bit of wind which wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t ‘world’s best time’ wind. So, we just settled in and focused on our race plan.”


Ayers said the duo had achieved all they had set out to as a crew this week, from both of them winning their PR3 Single Scull finals on Thursday to Friday’s Double Scull final.


“We came here with our individual goals, to really execute our Singles and come away with the win and we did that,” Ayers said.


“It was the same again today … just coming out, making some changes and executing that race plan. We did that. We did what we need to do.”


Pr1 Men’s Single Scull

Three times Paralympic Games Silver medallist Erik Horrie OAM (SRC) won the PR1 Single Scull in 9:40.87. Second was Mitchell Bails (Torrens) at 2:40.57.


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