Champion Rowers power through Plovdiv

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Sydney Uni Boat Club representatives claim silver and bronze at the World Rowing U23 Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Hot favourites having won their heat and semi-finals across the July 22-26 regatta, Jack Hargreaves and Nick Wheatley entered the A-final as silver medallists from the 2014 event, finishing strong in a time of 06:26.790.

The Australians took the middle lane, and as the starting light turned green the Romanian duo propelled themselves out at a stroke rate of 38, doing all they could to increase their lead over Hargreaves and Wheatley who were in second at the half-way mark.

Romania were still leading by one boat length ahead of Australia at 1500m, despite Australia having the faster times in the qualification rounds and it was Romania’s gutsy race that led them to cross the line in gold despite a valiant effort from the Australians who finished in silver medal position, 1.24 seconds behind the winners.

Post-race, Wheatley said: “It’s probably our best race of the regatta. We gave everything we had, we are a little disappointed not to get gold, but the Romanians were really strong. We’ll go back to training in Varese now at the AIS ETC ahead of travelling to Aiguebelette for the World Rowing Championships and Olympic qualifiers.”

As current members of the Senior Australian Rowing Team, their representation along with SURC coach Mark Prater, again underlines the quality of the University program.

Congratulations also go to Alexander Purnell who snapped bronze in the U23 Men’s Quadruple Scull, with team mates Robert Black, William Mure and Christopher Hayes.

Taking lane 5, the crew were up against in form Canada who rated high to hold off the Australian charge. In the final 500m, Canada increased their margin and unluckily for Australia they caught a crab in the final strokes and was unable to withstand a powering New Zealand who finished ahead in silver.

Post-race Purnell said: “Overall we’re very happy with the race and to walk away with a medal is just great. We really felt we found a good rhythm this week and kept it to the line in the Final.”

Looking forward, the 2015 World Rowing Championships is the upcoming focus for our Sydney Uni crews. Set to be held in Aiguebelette, France from 30 August to 6 September, Sydney University representatives to watch include, Sally Kehoe (Women’s Double Scull), Alexander Belonogoff (Men’s Double Scull), Cameron Girdlestone (Men’s Quadruple Scull), Jack Hargreaves and Nick Wheatley (Men’s Coxless Pair), Matthew Ryan, Nicholas Purnell and Fergus Pragnall (Men’s Coxed Eight).   

The regatta will see our strong contingent aiming to qualify for 2016 Rio Olympic Games in our row to Rio campaign.