The wind dropped slightly overnight to provide some welcome relief to the early small boat finalists before building back up again at Lake Nagambie on day four of the 2022 Australian Rowing Championships.
The Dr Stephen Hinchy Memorial Trophy was presented to Sydney University Boat Club’s Jack Hargreaves for the first time – Hargreaves has entered the Open Men’s Single Scull every year since 2017, and while he won the silver in both 2018 and last year in 2021, this was the first time he took out the title.
“We’ve been doing plenty of sculling in the National Training Centre in Canberra, that’s maybe helped me catch up to the others. Don McLachlan looked after me all last week, setting up my boat and making sure things were all in the right place for me. It’s always a hard race against my teammates, Caleb [Antill] and Dave [Barthalot], they always go quite hard, so you need to be on your A game to beat them.”
Rowena Meredith of Sydney University Boat Club won the Open Women’s Single Scull, the first time win in the event for the Olympic Bronze Medallist. Meredith went stroke for stroke with Olympic Champion Annabel McIntyre OAM through the 500m mark, yet pulled ahead through the final stages to win by 2.91 seconds. Meredith spoke of her experience in Tokyo shaping her attitude to training and racing in tough conditions.
“There were some whitecaps on the start line which makes it very challenging across the field, I think. It was firmly established in Tokyo that we can race and perform well in all conditions, and they will continue to run races in all conditions. Having another regatta like this just shows that we need to keep perfecting our skills in all weather, not just flat water.”
Mercantile Rowing Club’s Katrina Werry and Melbourne University Boat Club’s Lucy Stephan OAM dominated in the Open Women’s Coxless Pair to win the Sarah Tait Memorial Trophy for the first time since the name of the trophy was changed.
The pair said they had a moment at the start line, thinking about racing for the trophy named after a woman who had done so much for them – mentoring, coaching, being a role model and teammate for both of them – Werry at Tait’s home club of Mercantile and Stephan having rowed with Tait before she lost her battle with cervical cancer in 2016.
“It’s very special to win the event. We had a bit of a moment on the start line, thinking about Sarah and her family, Being from Merc, she was an idol for me growing up and being at the clubs, and it is incredibly emotional and special to have won the trophy.” Werry said.
Stephan spoke of Tait’s impact on her life. “Sarah had such a big part of women’s sweep and I was lucky enough to row the pair with her when she came back from London. What she stood for and how she led this squad was a massive thing, and after she got silver in the pair, it was about trying to qualify the Eight for Rio. Unfortunately, she couldn’t be at the Games, and when we got to go to Rio, it was about trying to carry on her legacy.”
The Ted Bromley Memorial Trophy for the Open Men’s Coxless Pair was won by an all-club affair again this year, Sydney University Boat Club’s Jackson Kench and Will O’Shannessy securing their first title in the event.
“We know there’s a lot of history in the men’s pair, so to have our names on the trophy means a lot. We’re two young guys trying to make our own name, so that’s something that drove us through that race.
“I thought we had a comfortable margin but towards the end the others started to come back at us and closed up the field. We clipped a few buoys when we lifted towards the end, and so I just yelled, “five strokes!” – to come out on top was pretty good”.
The Under 23 Men’s Pair was a closely contested race, Melbourne University Boat Club’s Rohan Lavery and KAND Rowing Club’s Miller Rowe edging out the Melbourne University Boat Club’s crew of Nick Smith and William Achermann by only 1.65 seconds. The duo said they only had about 12kms in the boat together before their race, so were happy with the result.
“The Head Coach in the [Australian] Senior Team, Rhett Ayliffe, decided to pop us together to see what we could do.” Lavery has secured his position on the Australian Men’s Rowing Team, named in the men’s Sweep Squad, yet Rowe is focusing on selection for the Under 23 team. “Potentially we could row this at the under 23 Pair at Worlds but we’ll see how it goes after Nationals.”
Georgia Nesbitt of Huon Rowing Club won the open women’s lightweight single scull to retain the Herald and Weekly Times Trophy. She was named as the reserve for the Australian Lightweight Women’s Double Scull. Nesbitt kept a cool head to beat out Australian teammate Anneka Reardon of ANU Boat Club for the title.
Nesbitt said after the race “it’s an awesome feeling to win the national championships and to finish up on the podium and be in the middle. I think it’s always a great feeling to have a great race and to win too.”
Jessica Gallagher of Mercantile Rowing Club had a convincing win over Balmain sculler Bronte Marshall who pushed hard to work up to silver position over ANU’s Rebecca Jones in the A Final of the PR3 Women’s Single Scull. While a seasoned summer and winter paralympic athlete, this is Gallagher’s first Australian Rowing Championship Title. She will join winner of the PR3 Men’s Single Scull, ANU’s Nicholas Neales, in the PR3 Mixed Coxed Four that races on Friday.
Loreto Marryatville’s Victoria Binns won the first A Final of the day, the Under 17 Women’s Single Scull, in a time of eight minutes 53 seconds, a time that might have won her the Bronze in the Under 19 Single Scull division – a hard fought race between Centenary Rowing Club’s Sophie Malcolm and Sydney Rowing Club’s Talisa Knoke-Driver, the latter pushing hard home to win the Gold in a time of eight minutes 36 seconds.
Thomas Stevens of Brisbane Boys’ College won the Under 17 Men’s Single Scull, and Adam Holland of Scotch College, Adelaide managed to improve on his last year’s Silver result in the Under 19 Men’s Single Scull, taking out the Gold in the event in a convincing all-the-way win.
Ella Smith and Jaeve Proberts of Pine Rivers Rowing Club swapped two oars for one each this year, the winners of the Under 19 Double Scull in Lake Barrington in 2021 winning the Under 19 Women’s Coxless Pair event this year.
The afternoon’s weather forced a change in racing format; President of the Jury Caroline Schomberg said that time trials were the only way to preserve fairness in racing due to the conditions creating an unfair spread over the lanes. Results from today’s racing and draws for tomorrow will be available as soon as possible, along with lane draws for tomorrow’s repechages.