The NSW Youth Olympic Team finished strongly on the second and final day of competition last Sunday 21st Jan at the Regatta Centre at Penrith. In the final event of the day the NSW Men's Youth Eight broke the dominance of Great Britain with a stirring win and an equally stirring rendition of the national anthem on the podium.
The squad had earlier in the morning picked up a 4th in the A Final in the men's four and a silver in the Men's Quad. The four were disappointed and together with the boys from the quad and coaches Bowes and Pennington were determined to attack the eights event early in the race.
The British led to the 500m with NSW pressing only 0.6 seconds behind and NZ in third. The second 500 saw Australia continue to press GB and nearing the 900 were just a seat down as the middle of the GB eight had a very poor stroke which slowed their boat. Cox Toby Lister called the mishap to the NSW crew who responded with an effort that took them 2.5 seconds ahead of NZ and 3 seconds ahead of GB within 150 metres.
From this point the crew felt they had seized the race, stayed calm and kept up the pressure. Racing into a strong headwind they crossed the 1500m 3.3 sec ahead of GB who had recovered 2nd place and 4.8 secs ahead of New Zealand.
In the final 500m it was all NSW. Rowing with confidence and buoyed by the enthusiasm and cheers of a very pro NSW crowd the crew extended their lead and crossed first for the Gold medal.
With NSW having won the Interstate Men's Youth Eight at the 2006 Nationals and the Men's Eight at the 2006 Youth Cup this win completed a treble for Youth competition in men's eights for New South Wales.
Rowing in the middle of the boat were SUBC members Mitch Estens and Andrew Connolly veterans of the 2005 Australian Junior Four and 2006 Youth Cup campaigns. The eight was steered by SUBC's Toby Lister a 2005 World Junior representative and SUBC 2007 Scholarship Coach.
The victory ceremony was a highly charged moment with the NSW crew leading the crowd in singing Advance Australia Fair. Fortunately their timing in the boat was far superior to their musical timing and as Mitch and Andrew seemed to be leading the singing it may be necessary for Syd Uni to arrange some training for future victory ceremonies.
Among the other stars for NSW was Sydney Uni's Chloe O'Regan who performed strongly in the women's single to capture the silver medal behind Great Britain. Chloe has just joined the club having rowed earlier this year at Sydney. Chloe starts her course at Sydney University in March.
With 4 silver and 1 gold the entire NSW Team and coaches are desreving of congratulations on what was our ( New South Wales) third and probably best AYOF result yet.