Sydney University rowers won 21 medals – the most since 2011 – at last week’s Australian Championships, the King’s and Queen’s Cup Interstate Regatta and the opening round of the Samsung World Cup, all held at the Sydney International Regatta Centre.
Sydney Uni’s medals haul (eight gold, seven silver and six bronze) saw them finish in fourth position behind Melbourne University, Mosman Rowing Club and Toowong Rowing Club.
The men’s squad (Sydney University Boat Club) won six gold, five silver and four bronze medals, an increase on last year.
Major highlights included Fergus Pragnell winning the open pair title – SUBC’s first since 1979 – and Sasha Belonogoff winning his second consecutive open men’s single title. Belonogoff is the only SUBC member to ever win this event.
Nick Wheatley and Jack Hargreaves had an outstanding regatta, going through the week undefeated in all races and winning the U23 pair, four and eight titles. They were also part of the winning King’s Cup crew for NSW.
“This was a very pleasing outcome for these two who have worked extremely hard this season,” commented SUBC Director of Rowing, Mark Prater.
By winning the U23 eight, the crew set a club record of three wins in a row in this event. Sydney Uni won it in style with a two length victory over a well-credentialed Queensland outfit.
The boys rowed extremely well in the eight and showed what is possible when a team comes together with a strong desire to perform and a common goal.
In the U21 age group, Dan Whitehead and Alex Purnell both made the podium in the men’s single, finishing second and third respectively.
Whitehead then combined with his brother Tom, along with Campbell Watts and Josh David to grab a silver in the men’s coxed four, a great result for the clubs youngest members.
The highlight of the Interstate Regatta was the Kings Cup crew who won its seventh straight title with an impressive row to win by two lengths over South Australia, who pushed Victoria into third.
Belonogoff won the President’s Cup for the Interstate men’s single event – something that hasn’t been done by an SUBC rower in a long time.
SUBC had a number of representatives racing in the World Cup component of the regatta, winning several medals as part of the Australian Team.
Fergus Pragnell (gold in men’s eight and bronze in men’s four), Sasha Belonogoff (gold in men’s quad and silver in men’s double), Cam Girdlestone (gold in men’s quad and silver in men’s double) and Nick Hudson (gold in men’s quad) all won medals.
The women’s squad (Sydney Uni Women’s Rowing Club) won two gold, two silver and two bronze, the exact same number as last year.
U21 pair Maddie Wallace and Nicola Metcalfe successfully defended Sydney Uni’s 2013 title. “We were very excited when we realised we had won this race,” explained Wallace. “We tried very hard to make sure we came out on top.”
Holly Lawrence won the U23 lightweight pairs for a second straight year, this time teaming up with Sophie Jerapetritis (UTS).
In the U23 lightweight double, Holly Lawrence, Emma Thomas and Yasmin Howes rowed with Sophie Jerapetritis (UTS) to win silver, while Sally Kehoe did the same in the open women’s single scull.
Maddie Wallace, Ellie Winstanley, Lydia Yerrell and Nicola Metcalfe Ellie claimed bronze in the U23 coxless four. “For a relatively fresh combination we found a good rhythm early in the race and were able to build on our position through the middle 1000m,” said Ellie.
Holly Lawrence picked up a silver in the stroke position for the Interstate Regatta Victoria Cup lightweight quad event. Tasmania had a particularly strong line-up this year with the winners of both the open and U23 lightweight singles in the crew. NSW dominated the race until the last 500m, and although Tasmania rowed through them they were unable to break contact from the tenacious NSW crew.
“This race was a lot of fun,” explained Lawrence. “Looking at the line up from the other states we had no expectations. It was a good crew and I’m very happy to have been a part of the NSW State Team.”
In the women’s youth eight, Nicola Metcalfe won bronze in a tight contest for silver. Victoria just managing to surge in front on the last stroke to claim silver, while Queensland were clear winners.
“We were very pleased that both Nicola and Holly achieved three medals from their four events,” explained SUWRC Head Coach, Debbie Fox.
The final National Selection Trials begin on April 25 and the following Sydney University rowers have been invited to attend:
Open – Fergus Pragnell, Kit Cunningham-Reid, Sasha Belonogoff, Nick Purnell, Cam Girdlestone, Nick Hudson and Sally Kehoe.
U23 – Nick Wheatley, Jack Hargreaves, Peter Koster, Tom McClintock and Ellie Winstanley.
U21 – Dan whitehead, Alex Purnell, Frank Gourlas, Holly Lawrence, Nicola Metcalfe and Maddie Wallace.