In a stunning performance on the world stage, several rowers from the Sydney University Boat Club competed over the weekend at the World Rowing Championships in Europe, taking home 1 Silver and 4 Bronze medals.
In a highly anticipated A-Final as the reigning Olympic Champions, Jack Hargreaves and Alex Purnell secured Silver in the Men’s Four alongside teammates Jack O’Brien and Spencer Turrin. They set out at a fast pace, holding the first position through the first 1000m of the race. An increase in speed from the Brits pushed them into second place, the Dutch looked threatening but the Aussies held their position in Silver across the line for a strong finish.
Para-athlete James Talbot secured Silver rowing in the PR3 Men’s with teammate Nicholas Neales, also coming in 4th overall in the PR3 Mixed Four alongside Tom Birtwhistle, Al Viney, Jessica Gallagher and cox Teesaan Koo.
Olympian Tara Rigney claimed Bronze in the A-Final of the Women’s Single, making her debut at the World Championships. In a stellar performance, Tara pushed in with confidence ahead of the New Zealand Olympic Champion at 500m, in second. The Kiwi pushed through to chase the leading Dutch woman in a tight field. Tara was then also getting pressed by China, who looked like she would threaten a podium finish, but Tara held onto the Bronze.
“It was a tough race, I have to give it to the Chinese sculler, she pushed me to the limit. This race was exactly the nature of the World Championships, with hard, intense racing. This season has been a bit of a surprise, I didn’t know what to expect so obviously it’s a huge achievement,” Tara said.
More Bronze for the Australian Team came from the Men’s Eight, Jackson Kench and Will O’Shannessy of the Sydney University Boat Club, who raced alongside crew members, Sam Hardy, Angus Widdocmbe, Benjamin Canham, Henry Youl, Nick Lavery, Rohan Lavery and cox Kendall Brodie. They had a fantastic row in the A-Final setting an early rhythm and starting the race as they meant to continue, going through the halfway mark in third, behind the British and the Dutch. They held off pushes from the rest of the field to hold onto Bronze.
Stroke man, Jackson Kench said: “It was a crazy race, the Men’s Eight is always a spectacle. We had to double-check where we finished. There was such a high-quality field, anyone could have finished with a medal.”
The Men’s Double of Caleb Antill and David Bartholot raced the Olympic Champions from France in the A-Final, and fought hard through the race, looking relaxed as they propelled the boat with power. They held Silver through much of the race but the Spanish challenged them for that, and they won the Bronze Medal, notably ahead of rowing legends, the Sinkovic Brothers. David Bartholot was Rowing New South Wales Novice Rower of the Year in 2016 in his first year studying Engineering at Sydney University,
In the Women’s Eight rowed Eleanor Price and cox Talia Barnett-Hepples alongside teammates Emma Fessey, Georgie Rowe, Giorgia Patten, Ella Branwell, Jacqui Swick, and Jean Mitchell. The crew had a strong technical row in the A-Final. They crossed the line in fifth, ahead of China, matching the result from last year’s Olympics. In the Women’s Lightweight Double, Lucy Coleman alongside her partner Anneka Reardon, placed 4th in the B-Final, coming in 10th overall in one of the most competitive events of the World Rowing Championships.
Kate Rowan and Rowena Meredith of Sydney Uni were in the Women’s Quadruple Sculls with Harriet Hudson and Amanda Bateman who made the A-Final and finished sixth overall.