About one hundred guests assembled unde a marquee on the Linley Point pontoon for the 2004 Annual Dinner. This year the occasion had added glamour as we welomed a large contingent from SUWRC at Glebe.

President , Mark Hoffman presented the Club awards for both 2003 and 2004.

These were:

Most Successful Oarsman: 2003 Francis Hegerty

2004: Matt Ryan and Mike Valli

Most Improved Oarsman: 2003 Ian Allsop

2004 Fergus Pragnell

Best Clubman : 2003 Tim Williams

2004 Ian Allsop

 

Heavweight Coach , Andrew Randell spoke about what is required to develop success at a rowing club ( although this could apply to any high peformance activity). Following is an extract from Andrew's speech.

"This experience taught me the importance of the very first ingredient in any successful shed - a common GOAL. This goal must be supported by a majority of persons acting on the board of the organisation.

Once a goal has been set and supported at a senior administrative level, work can commence towards the next two ingredients found within successful sporting clubs: quality coaching staff and quality infrastructure. Without quality coaching you will not only have trouble attracting athletes to the program but those who come might not be able to fulfil their potential. Quality equipment of equal or better standard than your opposition are a must, as are auxiliary training facilities such as weight training, ergometers and the like. Medical back up and sports science testing also have their place. Consequently, universities are excellent places at which to develop high performance sports programs. They have a range of facilities that can be harnessed for use across a number of sports thereby maximising efficiency of usage. Additionally they have a steady finance stream with which to maintain or develop this infrastructure. Generally, the only ingredient missing is quality coaches.

The fourth ingredient is the recruitment of talented athletes. A sound knowledge of the requirements of your chosen sport is essential, as is some form of talent identification program. Identification of suitable talent maximises the potential of your coaching staff through minimising the time spent coaching unsuitable athletes. It also minimises overuse of equipment and unwarranted strain on auxiliary facilities. Generally speaking, if both the coaching staff and equipment is of high quality, athletes will be attracted to the center.

The fifth but equally important ingredient is the fostering of an ethos within the shed that promotes attributes required for success in any area of life. Attitudes are paramount in this process: a positive attitude, a never-say-die attitude, a competitive attitude, a professional attitude. These attributes must permeate from within the shed and become the culture of the shed. Such an ethos is developed over time, not only through the success of the club?s athletes but through the type of guest speakers that are brought in to mentor the athletes, through the discipline and consistency demonstrated by coaches and senior rowers within the shed and by the professionalism of auxiliary staff, such as weights coaches and sports science experts. Every club member bears the responsibility of developing a winning club ethos.

Much of what I have just outlined may sound elitist. However, my experience at Drummoyne Rowing Club was that such a program could successfully coexist with a strong Masters and Social rowing program. Between 1997 and 2001 over thirty DRC rowers were selected on National teams. During this time they won the point score at the National Masters Championships on one occasion and regularly finished in the top three places. However, a caveat that I would make in this instance is that the goals for these groups must be clearly established, priorities set and boundary lines accurately indicated. Such boundaries need to include boat allocation (elite boats should be just that and kept for the elite athletes), pontoon access and speed boat access. Only when goals, priorities and boundaries are clearly established can conflict between groups be minimised to productive levels.

In summary, successful high performance sports clubs require clear direction, quality coaches, quality infrastructure and quality athletes. When these four attributes are combined with a wining ethos permeating strongly throughout the club, success is guaranteed. Such a model has been followed successfully by the SUBC over the past 10 years and has resulted in the selection of over 20 athletes in Nationals team in 2003 and 2004 along with several gold, silver and bronze medals at World Championships."

Following Andrew's words Robbie Williams, cox of the 2004 Aussie U23 Coxed Four gave a detailed account of racing in heats and final that ended with the crew winning the gold medal. Robbie recounted how the coach of the British crew who closed in quickly on the Aussies near the line had commented that " another 10 metres and we would have had you". Robbie replied " We only train to last 2K"

The formalities wound up with Vice President, Chris Noel reading a long list of thank yous to all those involved in contributing to an overall very successful year. Special mention went to the parents of the Junior Four and U23 Fours who raised funds to send these crews overseas.

The highlights of the year were considered to be the "Honours" Trophy as the top club (with our sisters at SUWRC) of the NSW State Championships, The Gold Medal to the U23 Coxed Four, winning the Oxford and Cambridge Cup.

Partying continued late. The portaloo seemed to be the only casualty of the evening.