University of Sydney graduate Bronwen Watson and her rowing partner Hannah Every-Hall are through to the semi-finals after a brilliant row in the heats of the women’s lightweight double sculls overnight on day 2 of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Watson and Every-Hall, both making their Olympic debuts after coming out of retirements that followed near-misses in the past, shocked everyone on the Eton Dorney course on day 2, rowing second fastest (7:05.30) behind the favourites for the gold medal and the 2011 World Champions – Greece (7:03.66).
The combination of Australia’s oldest oarswomen disappointed during the World Cup season but produced their best row of the year to make Thursday’s semi-finals.
In the women’s eight rowing heats, Australia’s crew – which includes Sydney University Women’s Rowing Club (SUWRC) members Sarah Cook and Sally Kehoe – finished in second position (6:20.89) behind the favourites for the event the US (6:14.68).
The Australian crew – thrown together at the 11th hour in April – rowed courageously and responded to the pressure of a British challenge and a raucous 22,000-strong crowd.
The US will now go directly through to the final, while Australia will compete in the repechage on Tuesday.
After missing Olympic selection three times to fellow University of Sydney graduate Robin Bell, whitewater paddler Kynan Maley is aiming to make the most of his Games debut in Tuesday’s cut-throat semi-finals appearance.
Maley, 30, snuck into the C1 final in the canoe slalom heats on Sunday but it won’t deter him in attempting a surprise assault on the medals.
The former SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder needs to produce a top-eight score in the semi-final to make the final, where unpredictable results have been traditional in Olympic slalom competition.
Maley, who is also competing in the C2 with crewmate Robin Jeffery, produced heat runs of 96.07 and 96.68, both times incurring time penalties.
He expects to produce better in the semi-final.
“The course was tricky and a lot of people made mistakes,” Maley told Ninemsn. “It’s a real challenge because there’s no space to re-group and get back on line if you make a mistake.
“The second run left a lot to be desired. Mentally I sustained the effort, but I made a few silly mistakes.”
It was a mixed day for sailor and SUSF EAP scholarship holder (B. Arts) Olivia Price.
Price, skipper of the women’s Elliot 6m round robin Australian team, led her crew to one win and a loss against the Finland and France respectively.
She will be back on the water tonight, competing against the US and Great Britain.
University of Sydney’s water polo representatives Thomas Whalan and Sam McGregor have been defeated 7-4 by Italy in Australia’s first game of the Olympics.
Italy flew out of the blocks to take a 3-1 lead for the first quarter, but Australia stayed with the Italian’s for the remainder of the game and an unlikely comeback looked possible when Australian Johnno Cotterill scrambled home a goal to make it 7-5 after an Australian time-out.
However, it was Italy who scored the final goal to win by three.
Earlier on day 2 of competition University of Sydney graduate and former EAP scholarship holder Megan Rivers was part of the women’s hockey team that was defeated 1-0 by New Zealand in their first group game.
Cathryn Finlayson scored the only goal of the game in the third minute when she swept home a penalty corner rebound from virtually the Blacksticks’ first attack.
In the 14th minute, Rivers created her side’s best chance of the contest as she smashed a shot against goalkeeper Bianca Russell’s right hand post. Unfortunately the ball rebounded across face of goal and out for a sideline hit.
It was the Hockeyroos first Olympic loss to New Zealand in five meetings. Rivers and her team will look to bounce back against Germany on Tuesday.
It was a different story for the women’s basketball team, containing former Southern Design Sydney Uni Flames player Belinda Snell.
On day 1 of competition, Snell lined up against fellow former Flame and Great Britain representative Natalie Stafford in the Opals 16 point victory over the tournament hosts.
Both girls were great. Snell scored 4 points and had 3 assists, while Stafford top scored for GB with 12 points.
The Opals next opponents are Brazil tomorrow morning.
Sydney Uni kicked off its representation at the 2012 Games in strong fashion as the men’s rowing eight comfortably finished in second position (5:32.43) behind the US (5:30.72).
The crew, containing five University of Sydney representatives (Tobias Lister, Matt Ryan, Sam Loch, Francis Hegerty, Nicholas Purnell) will now row in the repechage tonight.
Fellow University of Sydneyrower Brodie Buckland was superb as he and his men’s pair partner James Marburg qualified for Wednesday’s semi-finals as the fourth fastest crew.
There are a host of University of Sydney Olympians competing on day 3.
Monday 30 July
Rowing – Men’s Eight Repechage
Tobias Lister, Matt Ryan, Sam Loch, Francis Hegerty, Nicholas Purnell
Rowing – Double Scull (2x)
Hockey – Men’s v South Africa
Sailing – Women’s Laser Radial
Canoe – C-2 (Canoe Double)
Basketball – Women’s v France
Tuesday 31 July
Kayak – K-1 (Single Kayak)
Sailing – Women’s Elliot 6m Round Robin v US