The sun rose cool and clear over Nagambie Lake for day two of the 2022 Australian Rowing Championships. Light headwinds greeted the small boats as they hit out in small boat repechages from Monday’s events, providing overall slower times yet still competitive racing as crews tussled for progression through to quarter, semi, and A Finals in the large field of both underage and open events.
Sarah Bourke of St Patricks College Townsville posted the fastest of the seven Under 17 Women’s Single Scull repechages in a time of 9 minutes 12 seconds, while Lachlan Fraser of Mosman RC posted an 8 minute 25 second fastest time of the six men’s repechages, leading into the quarter finals. Alec Hoskin of Kinross Wolaroi and Sydney Rowing Club posted the fastest of the four Men’s repechages in a time of 8 minutes, comparable to 7 minute 50 second fastest time set by SRC teammate’s William Delaney in the Under 21 Men’s single scull repechages.
Melbourne University Boat Club’s Livia Rosaia posted a time of 8 minutes 40 seconds in the Under 21 Women’s Single Scull repechages, a time that might have equalled leaders in the Under 23 women’s reps, while West Australian Rowing Club’s Blake Whyatt’s time of seven minutes 46 seconds was the fastest of the six Under 21 Single Scull repechages. This time would also be comparable to the Under 23 results, NSWIS/Sydney RC’s Harry Crouch, the only athlete posting a faster time in the more experienced repechages, by only three seconds.
The Under 21 and Under 23 pairs repechages also saw competitive racing in relatively quick times as the top crews battled it out to progress to all important A Finals, affecting rankings for underage National team selection.
The repechages for the Open women’s single sculls were won by seasoned sweepers and Olympians Sarah Hawe and Anabelle McIntyre OAM. Olympic Champion in the Women’s Four, McIntyre is pushing her comfort zone in the sculling boat.
“The cross headwind it was difficult conditions – I haven’t trained in the scull at all in recent times, only once before we left the National Training Centre in Penrith, so it was great to just get out there, give it a go, get some good training and racing in and see just how fast we can go.”
The Open Men’s and Women’s Coxless Pairs raced off in their heats today; while the latter became a race for lanes due to withdrawals, the Men’s event demonstrated elite racing from the nation’s best, winners of both heats laying out equal times of six minutes 50 seconds to almost the tenth of a second.
Olympian duo Simon Keenan and Nick Lavery from Melbourne University BC and UTS said the key to executing the race plan was nailing their rhythm.
“We drew a tough lane with the cross headwind, but it was about doing what we said we were going to do – nail our rhythm with no excuses, not dropping it for anything.”
While the Victorian combination will look to take out the pair final against fellow Australian Rowing Team members Will O’Shannessy and Jackson Kench who won their heat under their Sydney University BC colours today, both pairs will slot into their respective state King’s Cup crews later in the week and are looking forward to the showdown between heavyweight giants Victoria and New South Wales in the eights once again.
Winners of the Women’s Pair, Olympians Kat Werry (Mercantile RC) and Lucy Stephan OAM (Melbourne Uni BC) echoed their excitement for racing this week, both for their clubs and for their state.
“After trials it’s great that we get released to our club to race for them this week. We can jump into our fours and eights for the clubs that can field them and that’s always exciting. Obviously the big race is on Sunday in the Interstate regatta, we’re looking forward to that and it should be a good hit-out this year.”
Jessica Gallagher looked comfortably in front in her PR3 Women’s single scull heat, the Mercantile/VIS sculler looking to take out the title this year.
“I didn’t have a very good start in the conditions so I knew I had to work hard early, but it’s such a beautiful day, we’re just glad to be out there and racing. I’ve got a busy week, with the pair and the Aussie mixed four, but particularly looking forward to the PR3 Interstate single on Sunday, I’d love to get the win for Noel Donaldson and the team.”
The afternoon brought more repechages from both lightweight and underage team boat classes, while sheer numbers in the underage events have created tough qualifying progressions for individual and team classes, the Open and Under 23 lightweight double sculls heats were all straight progressions through to their finals later in the week.
The Under 19 Women’s Coxed Eights took to the water with the first big boats of the regatta testing out the run of the course, Geelong Grammar Girls School look like they will be the crews to watch, winning both heats in two dominant eight races earlier this evening.
Wednesday will be a slightly shorter day of racing, numbers of entries in the Under 17 Women’s Single Scull forcing them to race twice in both the quarter and semi-finals bookending the day’s schedule. Small boat semi-finals and heats of both coxless fours and quads begin in earnest on the racing program, as progressions into our first finals will be set from Wednesday’s results.