The Men’s and Women’s Eights of Sydney and Melbourne University Boat Clubs are primed to do battle in the Australian Boat Race this Sunday 25 October, 2015.

Sydney University hosted last year’s spectacle in glorious conditions on Sydney Harbour and this year our crews will slug it out in Melbourne on the Yarra River, over a gruelling 4.6 kilometres.

The rich history and tradition of this race helps explain why it means so much for all concerned. The rowing clubs of both universities met informally on the Yarra in 1860 and from this grew a fierce rowing competition between Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide Universities which eventually became the annual intervarsity row championships, still happening today.

Australia’s future First Prime Minister Edmund Barton rowed for Sydney University at the 1870 regatta and the Australian Boat Race Men’s Eight trophy is named in his honour. The Women’s Eight Trophy is named after the first woman graduate of Melbourne University, Bella Guerin, who completed her Bachelor of Arts in 1883. Bella Guerin was active in public life post-uni and championed many women’s causes.

150 years after the first regatta the Vice Chancellors of both Universities, Dr Glyn Davis and Dr Michael Spence, established an annual rowing match race which echoes the rivalries between these two great cities. Sydney University Boat Club (SUBC) was established in 1859 just before Melbourne University Boat Club in 1860. Together the two proud clubs contributed 18 athletes to our 2012 London Olympic Rowing team.

As it stands the University of Sydney has won the men’s race 4 times but is yet to taste victory in the women’s race. Melbourne has won the men’s event 2 times and 6 times in the women’s. Each crew must comprise current students of the university with up to two graduates allowed.

Starting at Burnley, near Toorak on the Yarra, the course has some bends which will test the navigational skills of each crews Coxswain. The route passes the Royal Botanic Gardens with the finish line at Southbank, near the heart of Melbourne.

SUBC has selected its best available crews including a number who competed at the recent 2015 Rowing World Championships in France.

Our Women’s 2015 Australian Boat Race squad is: Claudia Lowe, Coxswain; Holly Lawrence, Captain; Olivia Ashby; Elizabeth Kell;; Carina Simpson; Laura Triggs; Fiona Ewing; Loren Parsons; Rebecca Humphris; Reserve, Emma Fessey. Coaches: Debbie Fox and Esther Verburg. 

Our Men’s 2015 Australian Boat Race crew is : William Raven, Coxswain; Alexander   (Sasha) Belonogoff , Captain; Cameron Girdlestone; Campbell Watts; Jacob Bicknell; Alexander Purnell; David Bartholot; Tobias Wehr-Candler; Andrew Judge;  Reserve,  Thomas Whitehead;. Coaches: Mark Prater and Tom Sacre.

Before these races our University of Sydney, St. Andrew’s College, will race its Men’s and Women’s Eights against the biggest Melbourne University College, Ormond, with both races over 2 kilometres. St Andrew’s won the 2015 University of Sydney Intercollegial Rowing competition for both Men’s and Women’s Eights and boasts a proud tradition and history of success in rowing.

Please join Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness in giving its best wishes and support for all our crews competing in Melbourne on Sunday.