Sydney University’s Grandstand Bar was full of Olympic greats past and present on Thursday night, as the Sydney University Boat Club (SUBC) and SUSF welcomed the Great Britain Rowing team to Sydney as they prepared for the 2013 Sydney World Cup event later this month.
The 46 strong team of Brits, which included nine 2012 London Olympic medallists, mingled with SUBC’s best – Australian World Cup members Tom Sacre, Nick Wheatley, Chris Cunningham Reid, Jack Hargreaves (men’s eight), Nick Purnell (men’s quad), Ed de Carvalho (men’s lightweight double), Hamish Playfair (men’s sculling boats reserve), Mark Prater (men’s quad coach) and Rick van Hooydonk (men’s lightweight double). Men’s double scull team mates Sasha Belonogoff and Ryan Edwards were training in Canberra and were therefore unable to attend.
Part of the GB squad was former Australian women’s rowing team coach Paul Thompson. Thompson, the Chief Coach for the British women and lightweights squads coached the women’s double scull of Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins to 2012 London Olympic gold and was awarded the MBE in the 2013 New Year Honours list. A former Australian squad rower who began his coaching career in Australia, Thompson coached the women’s pair of Kate Slatter and Megan Still to an Olympic gold medal in 1996 – Australia’s first for a women’s boat. He followed this with silver in the same class at the Sydney Olympics.
Also in attendance from the United Kingdom was legendary GB Rowing Team’s Chief Coach for men Jurgen Grobler. Since 1992 Grobler has personally coached gold medal crews in each of the past six Olympic Games.
SUBC Vice President Chris Noel, SUBC Captain Ed de Carvalho and SUSF Executive Director Rob Smithies all welcomed the British Rowing team to Sydney, who will spend four days training at SUSF’s Arena Sports Centre gym before they head to the AIS in Canberra to put the finishing touches on their preparation for the March 24-26 Sydney Rowing World Cup event at Penrith Lakes.
During his address, Smithies took some time to reflect on the dramatic change in the landscape of world sporting powerhouse nations Australia and Great Britain, not just in the sport of rowing, but also cricket, rugby and the majority of Olympic sports. Indisputably, in recent years Great Britain has held a significant edge over Australia, but Australia’s Rowing World Cup squad – led by SUBC’s hottest prospects – will look to rock the boat in late March and put their Northern Hemisphere rivals in their place.
Samsung World Rowing Cup 1 will take place at the Sydney International Regatta Centre in Penrith from March 22-24, 2013 as part of the Sydney International Rowing Regatta.
The Regatta combines the Samsung World Rowing Cup 1, the Australian Open Rowing Championships, the Australian Open Schools Championships and the premium domestic events, the King’s and Queen’s Cup Interstate Regatta, into a weeklong festival.
In further good news for Sydney Uni rowing, 23 Sydney Uni athletes and four coaches have been announced in the 55 member New South Wales 2013 Rowing Team to contest the King’s and Queen’s Cup Interstate Regatta.