Australia’s top rowers enjoyed a strong hit out at the NSW Rowing Championships over the weekend, which served as a key step towards the selection of the national team to represent Australia at the upcoming first round of the Samsung World Rowing Cup (22-24 March 2013) as part of the inaugural Sydney International Rowing Regatta (18-24 March 2013).
The vast majority of the NSW State Champs titles in the elite races went to either London 2012 Olympians, many of last year’s successful U23 national team rowers, or a combination of the two, showcasing a promising mix of old and new talent in strong combinations just ahead of the World Rowing Cup #1 selection trials.
An example of such a successful combination were 2012 London Olympian in the women’s eight and current Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) scholarship holder Tess Gerrand (NSW) and last year’s U23 World Rowing Championships silver medallist in the women’s four Katrina Bateman (VIC). They lined up together to win the women’s pair in a time of 7:21.79 ahead of newcomer Charlotte Sutherland and partner Lucy Stephan, who raced the U23 four with Bateman last year. Those two crews then combined to win the women’s four later in the day. With both boat classes showing a solid field in the finals, chances are looking good for a women’s eight to represent Australia at the upcoming first round of the 2013 World Rowing Cup.
Last year’s U23 World Rowing Championships bronze medallists in the quad scull Sasha Belonogoff and Ryan Edwards (both NSW), who currently row out of the AIS in Canberra, also underlined their Senior A national team aspirations by winning the men’s doubles scull in a dominant manner, leading from start to finish. 2012 Olympian Nick Purnell and Olympic bronze medallists in the quad Chris Morgan finished 5.64 seconds behind in second place. Stroke of the London 2012 bronze medal winning quad Dan Noonan and Olympic reserve Fergus Pragnell followed in third, but will only race on a State team level this year. Sasha Belonogoff and Nick Purnell also made it onto the podium in the men’s single scull coming second and third respectively in a race, which was won in a time of 6:59.67 by Olympic men’s eight finalist Tom Swann, who is returning to sculling.
2012 U23 World Champions in the women’s quad scull Maddie Edmunds and Jessica Hall (both QLD) raced to a NSW state title in the women’s double scull, after coming third and fourth in a tightly fought single scull race. In the absence of Kim Crow, who had to withdraw from State Champs due to medical reasons, the women’s single was won by former U23 national team member Sarah Perkins (VIC) ahead of U23 quad World Champion Olympia Aldersey (SA). Kim Crow will be back in the boat for the World Rowing Cup trials this week and is aiming for selection in this boat class.
Tasmanian lightweights and London 2012 Olympic reserves Alister Foot and Blair Tunevitsch had no trouble taking the NSW State title in the men’s lightweight pair in a time of 6:44.00 and with a comfortable margin of 3.45 seconds ahead of second placed Queenslanders Darryn Purcell and Nick Silcox. Both crews later teamed up to win the lightweight men’s four. The women’s lightweight single scull was won by Tasmanian Ella Flecker, who won with a clear margin over fellow Huon club rower Georgia Nesbitt.
2012 London Olympics bronze medallist in the quad scull and now turned sweep rower James McRae and 2012 Olympic Men’s Eight rower Bryn Coudraye continued their excellent run of form as they won both the 2013 NSW Rowing Championships title in the men’s pair as well as in the men’s four together with fellow South Australian Alexander Hill and AIS scholarship holder Angus Moore (ACT), both 2012 U23 World Rowing Championships bronze medallists in the men’s eight.
Olympic silver medallists James Chapman (VIC), Will Lockwood (VIC), Joshua Dunkley-Smith (VIC) and Olympic eight rower Josh Booth (VIC) all had to pull out of the men’s sweep racing due to medical reasons. Their availability and capacity to compete in the upcoming Sydney International Rowing Regatta will be assessed over the coming weeks.
Athletes will now focus their attention on the World Rowing Cup selection trials taking place at Sydney International Regatta Centre this week (18-20 February 2013), with Rowing Australia’s selectors considering all boat classes for the World Rowing Cup program. The Sydney World Rowing Cup team will be announced on Thursday, 21 February 2013.
The first round of the Samsung World Rowing Cup will take place at Sydney International Regatta Centre in Penrith from 22-24 March 2013 as part of the inaugural Sydney International Rowing Regatta (18 – 24 March 2013). It will be the first time that a World Rowing Cup is being held in Australia