SUBC Men's Eight Spearheads win Over NZ in Uni Trans Tasman

A win in the Oxford and Cambridge Cup at University Championships in October last year earned SUBC the right to represent Australian Universities against Combined New Zealand Universities in the annual Trans Tasman Rowing Challenge.

SUBC as AU lead out Combined NZ in 5 km.jpg

Melbourne University was representing Australia in the Women’s Eight and the event for 2019 was in New Zealand at Lake Karapiro last week - with two races over 2,000 meters and a final long distance match race over 5 km

Lochie Miles ( No 7 in the crew gave us this short account of the event.

Arriving on the Sunday night and the first race to commence on the Tuesday, Monday morning we got out for a paddle on the lake and did some race work to prepare for Tuesday. 

Tuesday came around quickly and we were lining up for the first 2km race against a strong Kiwi outfit selected from a number of their universities. The Kiwis came out hard and fast, we managed to hold them off and started to step on from the 750m mark, this is what we focused on with our strong winter training kicking in back end of the race. We went on to a 6-7 second win. meanwhile the Melbourne women’s eight fought hard but lost round one.

Our second 2km race was on the Wednesday and after winning the first one we knew the locals would be coming out for redemption, we expected yet another fast start and that’s what we got, they came out with us again but this time a few seats up, however we managed to again push through the middle and gain clear water by the finish, this placed us two up, but we were looking for 3/3. Once again the Kiwi women held out the Melbourne crew.

With a day off on the Thursday we did a longer paddle 12km up Lake Karipiro which was a great experience for all, great scenery! 

Friday was the final day and we had the 5km race which started 5km up the lake and finishing at the 2k finish. With little knowledge of the course our cox Talia had a few challenges. We were placed on the outside lane and off we went, the kiwis came out hard and really stuck with us for the first 1.5km, however with the big km training we have been doing in Sydney this race suited us, so we managed to stride out and push away to a commanding lead and with 2km to go we really looked to step on and distance ourselves from the kiwis. A 3/3 success rate for us and a 29 second margin.

Meanwhile the Melbourne women had managed to turn the tables in the longer race beating the Kiwi crew for the first time and giving the Aussie a 4-2 win in the series.

Our team was : ( in no particular order) Lochie Miles, Kieran Riach, Zac Noble, Morgan Brooking, Jake Bicknell, Jordan Duff, Tom Anderson, Finn Blake, Richard Ledger and Cox: Talia Barnet Hepples. Coach: Chris Holliday

Overall it was a great week of racing for all, with a lot learnt which we can take back with us into the next bit of the winter program.

Sydney Uni Masters Results from National Masters - Perth May 2019

Sydney University Boat Club masters teams reaped a swag of medals at state and national championships in May.

At the Australian Masters Rowing Champs at Champion Lakes in Western Australia May 22-25, Jo Pollett and Kerrie Bigsworth won 2 gold and a club medal for first club crew over the line for the WMG2- and Mixed H4+. The mixed H4+ comprised Kerrie, Jo, Phillip Titterton (MRC), John Hardy (MRC) with Lisa Cottee as cox. Lisa also won a silver in the women’s F8+, while Kerrie picked up a bronze in the women’s G1x.


Pollett said the highlights of the WA based national championships were the high standard of competition, a great course and facilities and great weather. An added bonus was that each SUBC rower won a medal. The challenges of competing weren't insignificant. The squad didn’t have to tow any boats across the Nullabor and were able to hire high quality boats from local schools and clubs. While it was a challenge to pull together a competitive crew for the relatively far flung regatta, the medal haul made it all worthwhile, Pollett said.

In the NSW Masters State Championships at SIRC May 5-6, Kerrie Bigsworth and Jo Pollett won silver in the Women's G-M Pair and silver in the womens G8+ with Mary Boland, Lisa Cottee and Jo Pollett in the crew. The Women’s E8 comprising Kirsten Liljeqvist, Josephine Bryant, Penny Wass, Lisa Cottee, Cath Boland, Cath James, Ann Tout and Joanne Gray, coxed by Susie Edwards, won bronze.

SUBC Masters at Aus Champs 2019.jpg

Awards for Sydney Uni at Rowing New South Wales Presentation Night

Our club featured prominently at the Annual Awards night for Rowing New South Wales on Friday night (17th May).

Richard Ledger, who started rowing in March 2018 was awarded “Novice of The Year”. after a strong first year in rowing during which he toured to Korea, made the single scull final at the University Championships and competed strongly at the State and National Championships in 2019.

Richard Ledger - Novice of the Year 2019.jpg

Our recent previous winner of this award was David Bartholot ( 2016). David is currently selected in the senior men’s squad for the 2019 World Cups of Rowing.

Our President Sarah Cook and Head Women’s Coach, Alfie Young were on hand to accept for SUBC as winners of the 2019-2019 Elite and U23 Shields for the most points in both the men’s and women’s categories. Congratulations to our coaches and our squads for this achievement.

Men and Womens U23-Elite Shields and Rich Ledger Novice of the Year.jpg

Nick Purnell was awarded New South Wales “ Oarsman of The Year” for his great form in 2018-19. Nick won a silver medal in the men’s eight at the World Championships and formed part of the leadership group in the NSW King’s Cup eight. The crew won the event on the Centenary Year of the King’s Cup making it thre in a row in this event for New South Wales and 10 wins since 2008 - our state’s best long term performance in this event. Congratulations Nick. One of SUBC’s greats.

Nick could not be on hand to accept the award in person due to training commitments at The National Training Centre in Canberra.

He thoughtfully sent this speech for our President Sarah Cook to accept of the occasion of this award:

Nick Purnell – Rowing NSW Oarsman of the Year 2019

“I better start off by apologising for my absence this evening. A free meal, open bar and great company would have been a brilliant way to spend my Friday night, but the chances of Ian Wright giving me a Saturday off are akin to seeing a pig fly. You don’t even bother asking!! Nonetheless I was unsure whether writing a few words down was the done thing in this situation, but I decided that I’ve always been a bit of a speeches kind of guy and given that those who know me are well aware of my extroverted nature, that if I didn’t have something to say there must be something wrong! So here are more than a few words - I apologise. Then again NSW Rowing gave me the award so are somewhat at fault for giving me a forum. At least you have the wonderful Sarah delivering this speech rather than being exposed to my deep and droning voice! Moving on…

I am truly humbled to be awarded NSW Oarsman of the Year. Especially given the age and stage that I find myself in my career. As a way of context, I was awarded this same honour after my first Senior A season way back in 2010. Wide eyed and bushy tailed, I thought that international medals and noteworthy performances would roll on year on year… Oh how that most certainly hasn’t been the case. The reasons for this are innumerable, some of which I had control over and others that I didn’t. Nonetheless that’s the way the chips have fallen.

After taking 18 months out of the sport in the wake of the disappointment of missing qualification of the Men’s 8 for Rio, I returned with modest expectations for season 2018. To say that what transpired was well beyond what I had envisaged for my comeback year would be an understatement of the first order. Beyond the achievement, it was an affirmation on a personal level that I still had what it took to be a competitive international rower.

I guess the natural line of questioning comes to – would I have done anything differently? Hindsight is 20/20, so of course there are definitely alternative avenues I would have pursued to avoid having a 7-year gap between World Championship medals. However, by the same token, what I learnt about myself and life in general through the disappointments of those doldrum years are some of the most invaluable I could ever hope for. (Let me also be clear it wasn’t all doom and gloom! There were victories along the way, just not many that are well recognised). Those years scrapping it out in the middle of the pack helped clarify what is important to me, not just in a rowing sense, and made clear the reasons why I should undertake rowing in the first place.

Through the thick and thin there are a few people that I must thank for supporting me through my career, which is scarily hurtling towards its sunset! Nothing can prepare you for how quickly the years slip away!

First and foremost, my Mum & Dad. They have been the bedrock that afforded me the opportunity to row in the first place (GO SHORE) and supported my participation in the sport ever since. A couple of lines in a speech conveys little to the amount I’ve relied on them in every perceivable aspect of my life. I hope you’ve both enjoyed the ride as much as I have and may the remaining years continue in such a way. Thank you so much!

Secondly to the great and powerful Sydney University Boat Club and specifically Chris Noel. I think the new shed and every single eight that’s bought should be named after you. You are the heart and soul of the club and someone that has encouraged me since my first days there in 2008. The sacrifices you have made over your lifetime to bring the club to where it is and where it’s going in the future I hope are never underestimated or forgotten. Thank you for always looking out for me and having my best interests at heart.


Another individual I need to thank is Tim McLaren. I’ll never forget a piece that 7 News did on our eight in 2015 where upon wrapping up his interview the journalist was quoted as saying, “this guy is more Wayne Bennett than Wayne Bennett!” Tim’s knowledge, guidance and approachability are attributes I’ve greatly appreciated being surrounded by. He has taught me a lot about rowing and life outside the boat and I had a brilliant time during the years rowing under him. I always look forward to engaging, as he likes to put it, in a “gabfest” and I can always count on him for a few sage words. Thanks Tim.

Of course, the results last year would not be possible without the creation of the NTC and the coaches that direct us on a daily basis. The drive for success and commitment to a strenuous training program is the reason that myself and so many others tasted success last year, so a big thanks to Ian Wright, Andrew Randell and Mark Prater. Without their guidance there is no way that the Australian Men’s Team would have secured the results we did last year. I’d also like to make special mention to Mrs Gina Reinhardt; whose generous support is an integral part of the success being achieved by Australian crews. Without her financial support there would not be a Men’s and Women’s NTC in operation.  

Finally, I want to acknowledge all the old NSW heads that gave me such a kickstart at the beginning of my career, providing me with lifelong friendships and now support me to the hilt given that I’m the final one amongst them rowing. These friendships were all formed rowing in the NSW King’s Cup. I was welcomed in with open arms as a 19-year-old by these elder statesmen and have enjoyed some of the best experiences and memories of my life being involved with this special race. So a thanks must be extended to:

·         Matt Ryan , Sam Loch,  James Chapman,  Toby Lister, Fergus Pragnell, Dan Noonan

Of that list of NSW Legends I want to make particular mention of Matt Ryan. Since my first Senior A rowing camp in January 2010 Matt has been an invaluable supporter of me and a best mate. I was taken under his wing during his rowing career and in the years since his retirement, especially whilst I was living in Melbourne, he and his family have looked after me and helped me along my journey through this sport as well as my pursuit of a career and life outside rowing. So, thanks to Matt and the Ryan clan.

I won’t bore you any longer, you’ve survived the speech. Congratulations! To finish, thanks again for this award, I hope you all have a wonderful night, and I look forward to seeing you in person in the near future.

Go The Waratah!



SUBC 2019 4 Nations Fundraiser

SUBC 2019 4 Nations Fundraiser

In 2019 SUBC has numerous athletes set to represent Australia on the world stage. These athletes have been training hard for the last 12 months and have only a few more months to go before they are set to take the stage. On the 1st of June 2019, we will be hosting a fundraiser aiming to support our underage representatives.

SUBC has four athletes selected in the Australian Under 23 team traveling to Sarasota Florida to the Under 23 World Championships. One athlete traveling to Tokyo for the Junior World Championships and one athlete traveling to New Zealand for the Under 21 Trans-Tasman regatta.

Dyone and Tara after winning the Women’s pair

Dyone and Tara after winning the Women’s pair

Dyone Bettega and Tara Rigney will be racing in the Women's U/23 Heavyweight Pair. Dyone and Tara first started rowing the pair together in January of 2019 and are coached by SUBC's great Alfie Young. Although only rowing together for a short time Dyone and Tara charged into the scene and became Under 23 National Champions in the pair. Now focusing on the world championships they are finding great form and rhythm and are looking faster than ever.

Marcus and Will after winning the Men’s pair

Marcus and Will after winning the Men’s pair

Marcus Britt and Will O'Shannesssy are in the U/23 Heavyweight Men's Coxless Four alongside the Lavery brothers Nick and Rohan. Marcus and Will have had an outstanding season together under the watchful eye of SUBC's head coach Don McLachlan and are currently undefeated in the U/23 Men's Pair event in Australia. The four athletes have moved to Melbourne and are being coached by SUBC alumnus Matt Ryan, now the head coach of Melbourne University Boat Club.

Talia, far left, after winning the Queens Cup

Talia, far left, after winning the Queens Cup

Talia Barnett is set to represent Australia in the U/21 Trans-Tasman regatta against New Zealand in competition for the Rusty Robertson trophy. At the 2019 Sydney International Rowing Regatta Talia coxed a number of winning crews including the Open Women's Eight, the under 21 Women's coxed four, and the NSW Queens Cup crew. This was the first time NSW has one the Queen's cup since 2004, and the first time a crew has beaten Victoria over their 14 year dominance. It was a spectacular race and victory Talia played an important role in.

Sophie, on the left, being awarder her medal.

Sophie, on the left, being awarder her medal.

Sophie Houston has been selected to go to Tokyo to race the Under 19 Women's Double Scull. Sophie Joined the club in 2018 and has been coached by Alfie Young. At the 2019 National Championships Sophie triumphed bringing home gold medals in the U/19 Women's Double, U/19 Women's Eight and the Club Women's Four, and silver in the U/19 Women's Pair narrowly missing out on a clean sweep. Sophie is certainly one of SUBC's up and coming rowers and someone we expect to see more of in the future.

We hope that you can help support these athletes in their bid for their respective world titles, all of these athletes have been training their hearts out for their upcoming regattas. Our athletes face thousands of dollars each in costs for seat fees to go overseas and ask you the SUBC family to help them get there. You can purchase tickets to the fundraiser via the link below.

SUBC Annual General Meeting Sat 4th May 5 pm Thyne Reid Boatshed



 Notice is hereby given that the 2019 Annual General Meeting of The Sydney University Boat Club will be held at the Thyne Reid Boathouse at 5.00 pm on 4th May 2019

Election of Office Bearers:

Nominations are called for positions on the Executive Committee:

President Vice President Men’s Captain Women’s Captain

 Treasurer Secretary Undergraduate Committee Member

Nominations close with The Secretary at 5 pm on WEDNESDAY 1st May.

Email nominations to

A Club BBQ and Drinks will happen at 6 pm immediately after the AGM

Patron's Program of Sydney Uni Boat Club Foundation Launched

Om Saturday 6th April, our cub President, Sarah Cook, officially launched the 2019 Patron’s Program as part of our ongoing efforts to raise funds for the club through the Boat Chapter of the University of Sydney Sports Foundation.

Sarah noted the huge effort made by many alumni in supporting the Boatshed Appeal over the past three years. The requirement for the club to contribute a large amount to this objective meant that fundraising towards expanding and upgrading our fleet has had to be suspended over this period.

The launch of the Patron’s Program will see our efforts now concentrated on fundraising for our equipment needs. As President Cook noted, we will need at least our target of $600,000 to meet our projected needs over the next 4-5 years.

Alumni and Parents who can contribute are urged to contact one of our Committee listed on the Foundation page or email

Sarah announced after the Patron’s Cocktail Party t,hat $190K had now been committed or pledged toards our initial target of $600K.

Sarah Cook SUBC President on left with past Women’s Club Presidents, Jane Spring, centre and Bronwen Watson, right

Sarah Cook SUBC President on left with past Women’s Club Presidents, Jane Spring, centre and Bronwen Watson, right

Sydney University finishes Top of Medal and Points Tables at 2019 Nationals

For the second consecutive year SUBC’s rowing team has topped the National Rowing Championships Medal Table and Club Point score Table.

At the end of six days of racing with 13.25 Gold medals and 274 points Sydney University was again the top club in Australia despite hot competition mounted by Sydney Rowing Club.

2019 National Point Score Medal Table – Top Five

Club                                  Gold           Silver             Bronze 

  1. Sydney University 13.5 7.25 3.0

  2. Sydney Rowing Club 7.125 9.25 5.625

  3. Toowong Rowing Club 7.0 6.25 3.0

  4. Aus National University 4.625 2.25 4.75

  5. Swan River Rowing Club 4.5 5.75 4.75

    2019 Nationals Club Point Score - Top Ten

    1. Sydney University 274

    2. Sydney Rowing Club 253

    3. Toowong Rowing Club 170

    4. Swan River Rowing Club 161

    5. Melbourne University 157.5

    6. Mercantile Rowing Club 137

    7. UTS Sydney 118.5

    8. Aus National Uni 100.5

    9. Uni of Qld Boat Club 85

    10. West Australian RC 84

We don’t have space to mention all our medallists in this story but here a a few highlights.

Our U23 men’s and women’s pairs both won gold with Britt and O’Shannessy doing a podium time of 6m 32 secs in their final. Dyone Bettega and Tara Rigney won gold narrowly in their final.

After being disqualified for being in an underweight boat in 2018 Fiona Ewing took gold in the open women’s double, The men’s coxless four of O’Brien, Purnell, Purnell and Hargreaves won convincingy in 5m 56 sec. Sophie Houston won gold with Ruby O’Keeffe in the U19 double sculls and also in the U19 eight and also picked up silver with Danielle Stuart in the U19 oair.

James Talbot had three wins in the PR3 category with gold in single, pair and four.

Gen Horton took gold in the Open Single sculls.

Finally congratulations to our coaches who were more often than not at SIRC before sunrise and often there till well after dark rigging boats.

Without their dedication to coaching, their hard work at the regatta these performances would not be possible. Don McLachlan, Alfie Young, Chris Holliday, Debbie Fox and Jack Hanley.

All of SUBC’s performances can be accessed at Rowing Australia Regattas - and at this link:


In recent years New South Wales had finally started to do consistently better in the Rowing Australia Cup for the Interstate Regatta. Winning only 3 times from 1999 to 2016 but gaining victory in 2017 and 2018.

Gen Horton lifted on Podium.jpeg

Even with these wins in 17 and 18 there were events in which we had experienced long droughts. The Penrith Cup was won in 2018 for the first time in 20 years. The Victoria Cup (Women’s Lightweight Quad) was also won in 2018 for the first time in 15 years.

In business a “rainmaker” is one who brings in the money – in Interstate Rowing the “rainmaker” for New South Wales was Gen Horton. She broke a 20-year drought with a comprehensive win in the Interstate Women’s Single Scull (Nell Slatter Trophy) in the third event of the regatta and about 90 minutes later led the New South Wales Women’s Eight to a heart stopping victory in the Queen’s Cup. Our state’s first win in this event in 15 years. Double drought breaker!

In a “light blue” afternoon New South Wales became the first state ever to win the four eights in the Interstate Regatta – The Men’s and Women’s Youth Eights, The Queen’s Cup and the King’s Cup. Add to this Horton’s win in the women’s single, two silvers in the lightweight quad (women) and lightweight four (men) and silvers in the men’s and women’s PR3 single and it became one of the most comprehensive victories ever in The Rowing Australia Cup.

The New South Wales Queen’s Cup eight have been competitive the last two years but race tactics and nerves might have impacted them in those races. This year under the guidance of coach Don Mclachlan and with support from former state rowers,  the crew rowed a smart race and responded to their coxens call to hold out a fast finishing Victorian crew.

In other events New South Wales trounced the field in the Women’s Youth Eight – winning by over 7 seconds and recording our first win since 2013. In the Men’s Youth Eight New South Wales continued its domination of this event beating Victoria by 2.5 seconds. Our state’s sixth win in 7 years in this event.

The final race saw New South Wales seek to retain its grip on the King’s Cup – and the crew did not disappoint.  They led narrowly at the 500, by 3 seconds at the  1000 metre and were not threatened  in the run home to record their 10th victory in the last 12 King’s Cup races.

The final points were NSW 67, Victoria 51, Qld 40, SA 3, Tas 30, ACT 24.

One other special milestone set on Sunday was that set by Nick Purnell in the King’s Cup. With this win Nick equals James Chapman, Fergus Pragnell and Sam Loch with seven wins for New South Wales. Nick’s winning races are 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2018 and 2019.

Prior to the Interstate Regatta the Victorians in the VIP area were handing out small sheets with words for the “Victorian” song – these were only required for one of the eight events.

Our winning Kings and Queen’s Cup crews were:

Queen’s Cup:  Rowena Meredith, Fiona Ewing, Harriet Hudson, Gen Horton, Georgie Rowe, Rowe, Leah Saunders, Georgie Gotch, Emma Fessey, cox: Talia Barnet-Hepples, Coach Don McLachlan

King’s Cup: Angus Moore, Jack O'Brien, Spencer Turrin, Alex Purnell, Nick Purnell, Hamish Playfair, Jack Hargreaves, Rob Black, cox Kendall Brodie, Coach Don Cech

SUBC Prevails in Tight Finish at 2019 Men’s Riverview Gold Cup

The 135th Gold Cup Regatta saw a repeat of 2018 when arch rivals Sydney University and Sydney Rowing Club went to the line in one of the tightest finishes for some time.

SUBC claiming 2019 Gold Cup

Sydney Uni grabbed lane 1 with the fastest heat time leaving Sydney in lane 3.

Sydney had a lead on the staggered start but once the flag dropped they went away quickly increasing their lead to a length in the first few hundred meters. The university boat worked back into the race in the middle 800 metres and as they turned at the leaning pile looked to be University in front.

With 200 meters to go the commentator called the lead to Sydney Rowing Club but soon after SUBC had the break of about a canvas. The Sydney crew came back strongly in the last ten strokes – just failing – by 0.45 secs to catch the Blue and Gold.

This was our club’s second win in succession with the 2018 crew winning in a controversial re-row. The university men’s eight have now won 12 Gold Cups since 2000.

The crew was:

Marcus Britt, Devlin Walsh, Tom Anderson, Kieran Riach, Jordan Duff, Morgan Brooking,

Lachlan Miles Will O’Shannessy. Cox Dani Pettit

2019 Gold Cup men 8 racing.jpg
2019 Gold Cup men 8 racing 2.jpg
2019 Gold Cup men 8 rwith gold oars.jpg

2018 Rowing Blues Awarded

At the Annual Blues Dinner at the end of November 8 rowers were among around 45 Blues awarded the prestigious Blue jackets of Sydney University for sporting performances.

The rowers awarded in 2018 were Will O’Shannessy, Devlin Walsh, Lizzie Treloar, Michael Franz, Emma Cook, Morgan Brooking, David Bartholot and Jaime Ford.

Some of the New SUBC Blues for 2018: Michaela Franz, Lizzie Trelaor, Jaime Ford, Morgan Brooking and Will O’Shannessy

Some of the New SUBC Blues for 2018: Michaela Franz, Lizzie Trelaor, Jaime Ford, Morgan Brooking and Will O’Shannessy

2019 Learn to Row - Semester 1 Intake

2019 Learn to Row - Semester 1 Intake

Learn to Row Semester 1 intake registration is now open. Date is TBC though likely to be the first Saturday concluding O-Week (23.02.19). If you are a university student (regardless of institution) who has never rowed before WE WANT YOU! First year students are highly encouraged though we take anyone up to 30 years of age. 

Last year we taught nearly 30 students how to row giving them the opportunity to develop new friendships and get into a whole new sport. Some went on to represent the club in Korea, China, as well as the Australian Div 1 Nationals. 

Course is 8 weeks, 2 sessions per week, during which you will learn how to row on an indoor rowing machine as well as on the water doing the real thing!

Fill in our google doc to register your interest.

Cost is $325  

Initial Email enquiries should be made to

Once Jack has put you in the program please pay online at Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness.

All users of our facility must join Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness as an initial step.

This will ensure you are covered under the SUSF Insurance Plan.
Usyd Students: $50, Community Members: $65, Junior (18 and under): $25

              Boat Club 2018 Dinner sees Annual Awards Presented

Boat Club 2018 Dinner sees Annual Awards Presented

Decked in their finest clothing including New South Wales and Sydney Uni Blues Blazers members of our club assembled at the No 1 Oval Grandstand on Sat 1st December for the Boat Club Annual Dinner and Presentation of Awards.

Our top award for 2018 - the Rebecca Wilson Shield - chosen by the President was awarded to Nick Purnell (aka Big Dog, Big Purnee etc). Nick came back after a year of rowing to join the National Training Centre in October 2017 and this year won a silver medal at the Worlds Championships in the men’s eight.

Nick joined SUBC in 2009 and represented NSW in the Youth eights. The following year he was in senior ranks rowing in the winning NSW Kings Cup Eight that set a still standing course record at Nagambie of 5.27.9. Nick went on to join the Senior team that year and to be in winning King’s Cup crews for 2011 to 2013 inclusive. Nick was selected in the Australian men’s eight for London and on national teams from 2010 to 2015.

Nick has rowed in many winning crews over the years for SUBC and is leader in our club both on and off the water.and a major contributor to the culture of SUBC.




Nick Purnell


Georgie Gotch


Campbell Watts

Alex Purnell


Jaime Ford


Morgan Brooking


Richard Ledger


Jack Hargreaves


Georgia Miansarow


Jack O’Brien

Andrew Judge


Wallis Russell


Martina Schele

Sydney Uni Sport Announce Record Bequest for SU Hockey Club

Sydney University Sport have announced a what is thought to be the largest donation to university sport ever - the approximately $6.3 million dollar bequest from the estate of Bruce and Jenny Pryor.

Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness (SUSF) is extremely humbled and honoured to announce it has received its most generous philanthropic donation ever, with the late Bruce and Jenny Pryor bequeathing in excess of $6 million towards hockey at the University of Sydney. 

This extraordinarily generous bequest has provisions that SUSF continue to advance the sport of hockey at the University. The home of Sydney University Hockey Club (SUHC), at the Cumberland campus of the University of Sydney, was proudly named The Bruce Pryor Hockey Field last year in dedication to Bruce Pryor’s love, service and generosity to the Hockey Club spanning an astonishing 61 years.

“This is an incredible act of generosity by the Pryors, who had already done so much for the University with an earlier gift of just over $1 million which helped us establish the Bruce Pryor Hockey Field at The University’s Cumberland campus,” said SUSF Executive Director, Robert Smithies.

“The Pryors have become the largest donors to SUSF, or any of our clubs, in the process, and they have left the biggest bequest to University sport in Australian history. It may well be the biggest bequest to University sport in the hemisphere – we are unaware of anyone else ever being so generous in this way.”

The funds are to be used for the benefit of the Hockey Club and to improve hockey infrastructure – something that was very close to Bruce’s (and Jenny’s) heart.

Bruce played at the Hockey Club from 1956 to 1972 and gained a degree from The University of Sydney in Architecture in 1961 and a Masters in Architecture in 1963. He lived at Wesley College whilst studying at Sydney University, and retained a close affinity with the College and its buildings.

Bruce was a first grade player from 1956 to 1964, and was Vice-captain from 1959 to 1964. He then played with the 2nd grade team when he started working, and captained it from 1968 to 1972.

He also played in 5 intervarsity competitions from 1957 to 1961, winning the Syme Cup in 1959 in Melbourne and 1961 in Hobart. It would be 50 years until Sydney University won it again.

Bruce was awarded a University Blue in 1959.

At a representative level, Bruce was selected for the Combined Universities Team in 1959, the Combined Sydney 1sts in the NSW State Championships in 1961 and 1962, and played against Pakistan, New Zealand, and Japan.

Bruce's love for the Hockey Club extended into volunteering his time on the Hockey Club Board - he was a Club selector for many years, Club Secretary, and later became the Club President and Club Patron.

This is an extraordinary moment in SUSF’s history and in the Hockey Club’s own 112-year history.

Bruce and jenny Pryor.jpg

SUBC President Sarah Cook Appointed as Steward of Henley Royal Regatta

SUBC President Sarah Cook appointed as Steward of Royal Henley Regatta. Third Australian to be appointed in this role in the history of Henley.





Today, Henley Royal Regatta is delighted to announce the election of three new Stewards:

  • Alison Faiers

    • A British Rowing Multi-lane Umpire. Alison has volunteered at the Regatta for many years.

  • Sarah Cook

    • Australian rower and former World Champion. Sarah has been contributing to the Commentary team at the Regatta for over five years.

  • Luke Dillon

    • Rowed at Henley Royal Regatta in six different crews from 2005 to 2011. Luke became an assistant to the Regatta’s Chairman in 2016.

Throughout recent years, each has been heavily involved in the Regatta.

Sir Steve Redgrave, Chairman of the Regatta’s Committee of Management, said: “We’re delighted to have Alison, Luke and Sarah in their new posts. They’ve all played integral roles at the Regatta in recent years. The Stewards are a tribute to the long-standing history of the Regatta; we look forward to seeing them all in their new roles at next year’s event.”

Sarah Cook.jpg

        SUBC's Largest Ever Team to Head of The Yarra  24th November

SUBC's Largest Ever Team to Head of The Yarra 24th November

The Boat Club will send its largest ever contingent to the 2018 Head of The Yarra.

Our team will consist of :

Senior Men’s Eight:

MO8+ Sydney University Leon Chambers, David Bartholot, AndrewJudge, Jack O'Brien, Nicholas Purnell, Campbell Watts, Jack Hargreaves, Alex Purnell, William Raven(c)

Senior Women’s Eight: (with Sydney and Adelaide RC)

FO8+ Sydney University Composite Olympia Aldersey,Georgia Miansarow,Fiona Ewing, Genevieve Horton,Rowena Meredith,Harriet Hudson,Leah Saunders, Georgina Gotch, Talia Barnet-Hepples(c)

Club Men’s Eight - in Open Eights:

MO8+ Sydney University Marcus Britt, Devlin Walsh, Lachlan Miles,Kieran Riach,Jordan Duff, Morgan Brooking,Jack Hanley, Will O'Shannessy, Andrew Le(c)

Club Women’s Eight - in Open Eights

FO8+ Sydney University Lizzie Treloar, Sarah Parsons,Tara Rigney,Jaime Ford,Rachel Balcomb ,Carina Simpson, Lauren Fornasaro, Dyone Bettega,Danielle Pettit(c)

Women’s Junior Eight - In C Grade Eights:

FC8+ Sydney University Mardi Downing, Caitlin Shewell,Olivia Dent,India Hobbs, Michaela Franz ,Eliza Entwistle, Hannah Westhuizen, Ellie Clubb, Caroline Kotch(c)

Women’s Masters Eight:

FME8+ Sydney University Composite Joanne Gray,Julie Wass, Ann Tout ,Penelope Wass, Lisa Cottee,Martina Schele, Stephanie O'Malley, Gillian O'Malley ,Susie Edwards(c)


             Sydney Women's Masters Eight at 2018 Head Of Charles

Sydney Women's Masters Eight at 2018 Head Of Charles

The call went out around the Sydney waterways earlier in the year - who could come together to go and compete in one of the world’s greatest rowing festivals - the 2018 Head of The Charles Time Trial in Boston.

They rounded them up - a small core of three from Sydney Uni Pollett, O’Malley and O’malley were soon joined by some nearby locals from Balmain RC, Ypma and McDonald and the they found Pendleton wandering down the Lane Cove River. Throw in Nisbett from Drummoyne and Liljeqvist from Sydney RC on the Parramatta River - and hey presto - the “Sydney Harbour Stars” are in training and ready to tackle this regatta.

The crew in detail: Gillian O'Malley (SUBC), Jo Pollett (SUBC),Renate Ypma (Balmain RC),

Cassie McDonald (Balmain RC), Lindy Nisbett (DRC),Kirsten Liljeqvist (Sydney RC and SUBC Masters coach), Jannet Pendleton (NSRC),Stephanie O'Malley (SUBC)

Throw in veteran masters rower and coach, Phil Titterton and this high functioning unit is ready to head to Boston.

There were 44 entries in this years women’s masters eights. The event was won by the 1992 Canadian Olympic eight with the “Stars” coming in 21st.

The Sydney Harbour Stars - Women’s Masters Eight for Head of the Charles 2018

The Sydney Harbour Stars - Women’s Masters Eight for Head of the Charles 2018

       Double Win to Sydney University in 2018 Australian Boat Race

Double Win to Sydney University in 2018 Australian Boat Race

Sydney University wins Women’s and Men’s Eight for 2nd Year Running

Fresh Winds make for tough rowing conditions

Matt Cleary followed the 2018 Australian Boat Race across the inner harbour of Sydney on Sunday morning.

(Photo credits: © The University of Sydney /  Maja Baska: © The University of Sydney Stefanie Zingsheim and Steve McArthur of Rowing Celebration (

It’s a cloudy and woolly-wet morning on Sydney Harbour as the men’s and women’s eights from Sydney University and Melbourne University prepare to contest The Australian Boat Race, a facsimile of The Boat Race that Oxford and Cambridge contest each year on the River Thames. And like the delicious quarter-pounder burger of McDonald’s known as a “Royale with Cheese” in France, the Australian version is just a little different.

For one it’s held on two different waterways. In odd years it’s on Melbourne’s Yarra River. On even ones it’s held on the glittering harbour of Sydney town, where it winds 4.6km from Onion Point in Woolwich, past islands named after a cockatoo and a goat, and into Cockle Bay in Darling Harbour. And it’s all a bit of a thing.

It’s all quiet on the waterfront as we sit bobbing about in the media boat surrounded by sexy sandstone real estate. The women’s eights jockey into position as a helicopter buzzes above and a media man releases a drone like a falconer setting free a bird of prey. There are police boats with lights a-flashing, yellow water taxis with official flags, and a small flotilla of pleasure craft out for a look.

The starter barks “Go!” from a mega-phone and go they do, the rowers, oars ripping in, carving, heaving, the boats sluicing fluidly through the sea. And they’re quickly away and we after them in the camera boat, close on their tails, photographers lying prone shooting clenched teeth and rictus faces, the money shots of rowing photography.

And it’s all quite cool for no reason you can put a finger on. It’s like mariners enjoying dolphins at the bow. Or like that bit in Jaws when they put three harpoons in the great shark and it toes the barrels and we chase them, and there’s jaunty music and laughter.

And so, two teams of eight row in harmony, surging powerfully through the sea. To the lay eye they all look the same. To the rowing fellows on our boat – who include Harald Jahrling, who trained East German gold medal winners in the double sculls in the 1980 Olympics – the form individual rowers is critiqued.

 “There’s your bridge!” says Harald, as the mighty arch of Sydney Harbour Bridge haws into view. Even seasoned commuters will poke their heads up from their phones to look at The Bridge. And they will think as one: it’s a bloody great bridge.

A nor-easter picks up and whips specks of salt water across our stern. Sydney pulls a length clear. Sea spume blots the journo’s notepad. Rough water now, and choppy. Rio was like this. Beautiful setting. But as Egyptian sculler Nadia Negm said: “If you are rowing this week you better know how to swim.”

The water smoothes in Walsh Bay and the Sydney eight draws clear, open water now between the crews, lengths negligible. Skyscrapers are the backdrop as the teams row into the shade of Barangaroo and giant bank buildings. And Sydney University wins the Bella Guerin Trophy.

Ms Guerin? Activist, suffragette, teacher. In 1883 she became the first woman to graduate from an Australian university. Aged 33 she married an 80-year-old. Aged 50 she married a 21-year-old. She protested wars, decried religion and walked to the beat of her own drum. Hero.

The men’s trophy is named after Australia’s first prime minister, Edmund Barton, who rowed in the first official intervarsity race in 1870. Barton later umpired a cricket match between Australia and Lord Harris’s XI that turned into “the Sydney Riot of 1879”.

And so back to Onion Point for the start of the men’s race. Boats jockey. Helicopter buzzes. Police boats flash lights. And a media releases the drone. Rules guy on the megaphone barks “Go!” and releases the hounds, and they carve into the briny with long paddles, heaving ho, fast as they can, propelling the 100 kg carbon fibre boat through the green seas of Greenwich. And again we’re off after them and it’s that pod of dolphins feeling again, something about it.

And so, the young boaters sluice through the briny, multiple man Turks in harmony. The bodies on these people! Long levers, tight muscularity. They are like rowing machines. Their discipline demands equal parts anaerobic and aerobic high-function. It’s lactic acid in the limbs. As the Sydney women’s coach told her charges: “The winner will be the one who keeps their hand in the fire the longest.”

Melbourne’s cox is a girl, a recent initiative that would have pleased Bella Guerin. And as her crew sluice ahead of us she’s into them with good lungs, variations on “Row! You bastards! Row!” Her commands punctuate across the waters of Greenwich. Be funny if she had a whip.

Out past Greenwich Point we plunder, into a nor-easter equal parts head and cross-wind, tips of the oars bare metres apart. And the sun comes out! And it’s magnificent. Sea spume and white caps, and glints diamond points of sunlight on the seas. The mighty bridge haws into view again and it’s a grand place to be. Apologies to Rio – this is the world’s best harbour.

Sydney goes a length clear. And then two lengths. Lactic build-up and hard yards now. The race is a long one by rowing standards. Normally the eights will row for one or two kilometres across flat water. This is nearly five kilometres over lumpy seas. But they’re good with it, these people. They train over ten times a week – on the water, on the rower, in the gym. Outside that they’re studying, eating or sleeping. Sasha Belonogoff won silver in the quad sculls in Rio. David Bartholot is heading to Canberra to try out for same. These people are rowing machines. And this is what they train for – the pleasure of pain.

Sydney owning it now. They tear into Darling Harbour multiple lengths clear. Pre-race they had joked about sledging the Melbourne lads across the water. Impossible now - Melbourne’s too far away. And they’re too buggered anyway.

They slide by a Star Ship, a paddle steamer, a submarine. Into the winner’s circle and the Sydney celebrate. There’s much man-hugging and chesty bumps. They pick up the boat over their heads, water rains, a much-photographed shot. They pile it on their truck, work not done. Discipline will stay with these men forever.

There’s a presentation and medals, watched on by boat people in stripy blazers and Trump-like red caps, and a smattering of rubber-necking tourists. The race is brilliant yet something of a hard sell to an Australian public so saturated with sport.

Yet a great race down the Yarra and across Sydney Harbour is a very good idea indeed. And you’d think it would make decent TV with Ray Warren commentating, and various cams, and drones, and the jaunty soundtrack of Jaws. Perhaps the race – even the odds - could be live-streamed and beamed onto the sails of the Opera House.

Perhaps not.


The 2018 Australian Boat Race crews were:

University of Sydney

Men’s Eight: William Raven, Coxswain; Will O’Shannessey, Stroke; Leon Chambers; Alexander (Sasha) Belonogoff; Andrew Judge; David Bartholot; Jordan Duff; Morgan Brooking and Marcus Britt, Bow. Reserves: Devlin Walsh and Andrew Le, Coxswain. Coaches: Don McLachlan and Chris Holliday.

Women’s Eight: Talia Barnet-Hepples, Coxswain; Wallis Russell, Stroke; Dyone Bettega; Lauren Graham; Harriet Hudson; Jaime Ford; Carina Simpson; Georgia Masters; Tara Rigney, Bow. Reserves: Lizzy Treloar and Michaela Franz. Coaches: Alfie Young and Debbie Fox. 

University of Melbourne

Men’s Eight: Sarah Ben-David, Coxswain; Robert Corden-McKinley, Stroke; Carl Tomczak; Josh Booth; Max Fisher; Edward Walmsley; Carl Doedens; Thomas Page; James Heath, Bow. Reserves: Joel Cain and Chris Hargreaves. Coaches: Michael Poulter and Matt Ryan.

Women’s Eight: Phoebe Georgakas, Coxswain; Ria Thompson, Stroke; Jacqueline Hart; Brigid McKeagney-Douglas; Jennifer Cleary; Eleanor Price; Kate Duggan; Charlotte Wirtz; Milla Marston, Bow. Reserve: Bianca Litchfield. Coach: James Smith.

SUBC Novices at RNSW Spring Regatta

Huge weekend for our SUBC novices at RNSW Spring Regatta. The boys lined up for a mix of 1000m and having started rowing in April they were thrown in the deep end for the 2000m races. They had to negotiate a multitude of new factors including steering on a buoyed course as well as lining up for a held start. Many thanks to Chris Holliday for driving the trailer out to SIRC! Stand out performance of the day goes to Matt Lighton for an incredible 5thin the Men’s B single, having only rowed it a handful of times!



Men’s C 2x:

-      Lachlan Renwick, Matthew Lighton: 3rd

-      Harry Rowston, Philipp Kaufmann: 5th

Men’s C 4x:

-      Harry Rowston, Philipp Kaufmann, Lachlan Renwick, Matthew Lighton 5th. 

Men’s B 4x:

-      Harry Rowston, Philipp Kaufmann, Lachlan Renwick, Matthew Lighton 4th


Men’s B 2x

-      Harry Rowston, Philipp Kaufmann: 5th


Men’s B 1x

-      Matthew Lighton 5th