The Australian Boat Race will once again ignite Sydney Harbour this October. Bragging rights will be on the line as two old rivals – the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne – go head-to-head in a test of technique, stamina and passion.
More than 150 years after the two universities first clashed oars, a male and female eights crew will compete on a stunning 4.4 kilometre rowing course through Sydney’s inner harbour from Woolwich to Darling Harbour.
The teams include numerous national representatives, including gold medalist from the 2008 Olympics David Crawshay, who will be racing for the University of Melbourne, and 2014 World Championships bronze medalists Fergus Pragnell and Sasha Belonogoff, who will be anchoring the University of Sydney men’s team.
Following a clean sweep by University of Melbourne crews last year, Fergus Pragnell said the University of Sydney was fired up.
“Last year we crashed in the last few kilometres and were devastated to lose. This year we are ready to restore our winning record,” he said.
“The Australian Boat Race has really gathered momentum now and is a big part of the Australian rowing calendar. Rowers are lining up to be part of this race; it’s a great opportunity for people to see some of the nation’s best rowers.”
University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence said: “The Australian Boat Race not only celebrates the rowing traditions and talents of both universities, but is also spectacular viewing against the backdrop of each city. It is an exciting new chapter in a 150-year old rivalry between two great universities.”
The Oxford vs. Cambridge style race builds on a rivalry established in the early 1900s when the annual intervarsity boat race for eight-oared crews between Australian universities was a major event on the national rowing calendar. In 2009, to mark the 150th anniversary of the first race between the two old rowing clubs, the Australian Boat Race became an annual feature, with each city hosting biannually.
The crews consist of both graduate and undergraduate rowers, with at least seven members of each crew (nine including coxswain) required to be current students.
For a more comprehensive history of the race and to view/download footage and images of previous races, visit the Australian Boat Race website.
What: The Australian Boat Race
When: 8:20am – 9:20am, Sunday 26 October 2014
The Race: 8.20 am: The women’s eights race starts at Woolwich (Due to finish at Darling harbour around 8:35am) 9.20 am: The men’s eights race starts at Woolwich. (Due to finish at Darling harbour around 9:35am ) 10.00 am: Presentation of the Edmund Barton Trophy and the Bella Guerin Trophy adjacent to IMAX on the waterfront in Darling Harbour