By Nick Bailey

Sydney University rowers claimed two national titles and eight placings at the Australian Rowing Championships held at the Sydney International Regatta Centre at Penrith at the weekend.

Ashleigh Peppernell’s efforts were particularly impressive, with the new recruit winning gold in the Women’s Under 19 Coxless Pairs, as well as silver medals in both the Coxless Fours and NSW Youth Eight events. Sydney University Women’s Head Coach Alan Bennett was pleased with Peppernell’s efforts.

“Her under -19 pairs gold medal was a good result, the pair certainly achieved their target, though there’s still more work to be done on that boat,” he said.

Gold also went to the Men’s Under-23 Lightweight Coxless Four crew of Edward De Carvalho, Charles Budd, Edward White and Toby Ledgerwood, coached by Sydney University boat club Head Coach Phil Bourguignon. “The men’s crew did an excellent job, they are excellent prospects for the future and we expect great things from them,” Bennett said.

Former World Champions and 2008 Olympic Eight Squad members Brooke Pratley and Elizabeth Kell claimed silver as part of the Women’s Open Coxless Fours, with Kell achieving a second silver medal in the Women’s Open Coxless Pairs. Second placings also went to the Women’s Open, Under 23 and Under- 19 Coxless Fours and the Women’s Open Lightweight Double Scull crew.

Bronze medals were awarded to the Sydney University Women’s Under-23 Double Scull, Women’s Open Lightweight Single Scull and the Women’s Under 23 Lightweight Double Scull crews.

In Saturday’s action, the Sydney University Under-23 crews managed silver in both the Men’s and Women’s Eight events, against very tough competition.

“In both events we ran a straight university crew, so it was a good effort to achieve silver against the composite crews [who claimed gold]” Bennett said. “In the women’s event we had obviously hoped for gold, as it was a strong crew, but were still pleased they managed to repeat their 2007 effort of silver.”

On Sunday, Sydney University Women’s Rowing Club (SUWRC) representatives Bronwen Watson and Elsa O’Hanlon took bronze as part of the NSW Lightweight Women’s Quad. Watson will race later this year in the World Championships as part of the Australian Lightweight Quad crew.

SUWRC members Chloe O’Regan, Emma Costello and Ashleigh Peppernell also formed part of the silver medal winning NSW Youth Eight crew.