With 51 race entries the 2006 NSW Rowing Championships is shaping up as one of Sydney Uni Boat Club?s busiest ever. Thirty four men?s entries and seventeen women?s entries see Sydney University contesting most of the open, U23 and U21 events and some U19 events. University will be defending three major titles won in 2005, the Elite Men?s and Women?s Eights and the Overall Trophy. 2005 saw Sydney Uni win the overall trophy by a large margin (nearly three times the points of second place) but victory in 2006 will be much more hard fought if it is gained with other clubs, notably Sydney, Mosman and St George all looking for large improvements on 2005.

The hotly contested men?s elite pair will see University athletes team up with their composite pair partners in the battle to impress for the national A team. Mat Ryan (SUBC) with James Chapman of UTS ,Fergus Pragnell (SUBC) with Dave Matthews of UTS, Francis Hegerty ( SUBC) with Stefan Szczurowski and Ian Allsop (SUBC) with Dave Galley (UQ). Rounding out the SUBC representation in this event will be the SUBC pair Chris Clyne and Pat Wilson and the Uni lightweight pair of Oli Zuk and James Wilmott. The Coxed Pair world champions of Conrad ad Cubasch (UQ) are entered but there is some possibility they may miss the race through injury.

It?s a great testament to our athletes and coaches to have six well credentialed heavyweights in this elite field.

In U23 the SUBC campaign will be spearheaded by Wilson and Clyne and Boyce and Alfred in the pairs and Chambers in sculling. Nick Hudson (2004 U23 World Champ Gold medallist) makes his return to top level competition in the Men?s Elite Single and Quad Sculls.

Other major events to be contested by the men include U21 Eight, Men?s Elite Four. In the final race on Sunday at 4.16 pm our men?s eight will attempt to defend the title won in 2005 (our first win since 1975 in the Championship eights). Joining our crew will the stroke of our 2005 winning Intervarsity Eight and Athens Olympic silver medallist Tom Herschmiller. Tom is in second year in the Sydney Uni graduate medical program.

Heading the women?s team with coach Alan Bennet is Captain Yasmin L?Estrange who will contest Women?s U23 pair, Women?s Eight and the U23 Single. Liz Kell of SUWRC has teamed up with Amy Ives of Mosman to chase the Women?s Elite Pair title while dynamic Elsa O?Hanlon will lightweight elite sculls and open quad along with the Women?s eights.

The two final races Sunday, the Women?s Eights and the Men?s Eights will have two Sydney Uni crews in each field with the Men?s Lightweight Eight joining the heavyweight team and the Women?s squad fielding a second eight with some members from their intermediate squad.

All in all it promises to be a day in which the ?Lions? will be well represented and hopefully on Sunday afternoon will emerge as the overall regatta Champions again.

We wish all our coaches and competitors the best for this weekend.