By Rupert Guinness at the Sydney International Regatta Centre 

1.     The depth of the Australian men’s sweep squad is super strong. This was shown by the performances of Australian Rowing Team members in all classes of boats. The Australia Men’s Eight won in 5:27.57s, a fast time considering the slight cross headwind and workload they’ve been put through in recent weeks. But they were pushed by an Eight made up of the Coxless Four, Coxless Pair and two reserves augurs well for how those small boats may fare once this season in Europe at the World Cup and Paris Olympics. 

2.     Selectors have not yet named crews from the Women’s squad, but the Eight that raced in Saturday’s final produced a fine win that should keep selectors optimism for what’s ahead. Who will be the first Australian Women’s Coxed Eight to race in Europe in the World Cup? We should know soon after Easter. However, we can expect a strong Coxed Eight and Coxless Four to compliment the already named Australian Coxless Pair crew of Annabelle McIntryre OAM and Jessica Morrison OAM, the 2023 World Championship Silver Medal winners.  

3.     Not so much as learned, but reaffirmed: Tara Rigney on the right trajectory towards fulfilling her Olympic Games ambitions in Paris. The World Championship Bronze Medal winner in the Women’s Single Scull for the last two years was in a class of her own, winning convincingly at both the Australian Rowing Championships and Interstate Rowing Championships in which she represented NSW. To boot, Rigney also picked up a Gold in the Open Women’s Quad Scull on Saturday.But she is not alone for quality in the ART women’s sculling group. The new-look Australian Women’s Double Scull of Harriet Hudson and Amanda Bateman – both Tokyo Olympians – is an exciting crew to watch, judging by their equally as dominant victory in the event at SIRC.  

4.     Uncertainty still prevails over the destiny of the Australian Men’s sculling stable. David Bartholot and Marcus Della Marta are the Australian Double Scull, but they are yet to book their ticket to the Paris Olympics because the boat is not yet qualified for the Games. They must do so at the final Olympic Qualifying Regatta at Lucerne, Switzerland, in May. They were the top two scullers at the Australian Rowing Championships in both the Double Scull and Single Scull, but as a crew are they fast enough to qualify at Lucerne? Time will tell.At least they have an opportunity at Lucerne locked in, which can’t be said yet of the ‘Australia A’ men’s sculling group from which a Quad Scull will be boated to race at World Cup I at Varese, Italy, next month. If they race fast enough there, will selectors consider sending them to the qualifying regatta in Lucerne?   

5.     The quality of racing and depth in numbers in the Under 17s and Schoolboys and Schoolgirls events was tremendous over the last week. Race times were fast. This all augurs well for the future of Australian rowing. The big task now is to make sure they keep enjoying their sport and not just stay in it, but in Australia too. The talent scouts at the big American universities may well have noticed. 

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