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On Sunday the Sydney University Boat Club (SUBC) will aim to win unprecedented consecutive Gallagher Great Race titles, when the clubs best men’s eight rowers take on competing crews from Waikato and Cambridge in Hamilton, New Zealand. Jack Hargreaves, Nick Wheatley, Hamish Playfair, Peter Koster, Tom Sacre, Kit Cunninhgam-Reid, Will Raven (cox) and Ed de Carvalho (reserve) are all members of Australia’s U23 2013 men’s eight crew that make up the bulk of the Sydney Uni squad.

Joining them in the boat will be experienced rowers Nick Purnell (2013 World Championships) and Nick Hudson (2012 London Olympics reserve).

Purnell, Hudson (Master of Project Management), Hargreaves, Koster (Bachelor of Liberal Arts), Sacre (Bachelor of Arts), Cunningham-Reid (Science) and Raven are all SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holders.

Following their first Gallagher Great Race victory last year against the University of Waikato and the University of Queensland, Sydney University will lock horns with Waikato and Cambridge – the only three universities to have won the Harry Mahon Trophy trophy since its inception 10 years ago.

Cambridge possess a crew full of members of their Ox-Bridge Boat Race squad, while Waikato have several members of their World Champion U23 2013 men’s eight crew along with other senior team representatives.

Despite the challenge that lays ahead for Sydney University in this year’s race, the current trophy holders are quietly confident.

“We are happy with the preparation so far for this event,” explained SUBC Director of Rowing Mark Prater. “We have had the crew together (minus Nick Purnell who this week arrived from Korea where he competed at the World Championships) for two weeks after a short break post the U23 World Championships.”

“The guys are rowing well and have trained well. From this perspective we are confident, but this race is like no other – tactics, steering, raw speed and a bit of luck come into play and so we can’t be too sure. We will be very competitive and are looking forward to the race.”

Earlier in the day the Sydney Uni Women’s Rowing Club (SUWRC) will battle crews from Waikato and Melbourne for the Bryan Gould Cup.

Finishing second in last year’s race, Sydney Uni will look to go one better in this years race.

“The girls have been very focussed in the preparation for this challenging and highly tactical race,” said SUWRC Director of Rowing, Debbie Fox.

Sydney Uni will welcome the return of 2012 coxswain Genevieve Fick, whose experience will be a great asset for this format of racing.

Also returning to the four seat is the two-time rowing Olympian Sarah Cook.  Since London the multi-talented athlete has successively switched sports to the 470 sailing class and managed an impressive seventh place overall at the very recent 470 World Sailing Championships.

Crew captain and stroke seat rower Ellena Winstanley, her dynamic counterpart Marianna Doumanis in the bow and Nicola Metcalfe in five seat will all add plenty of Gallagher Great Race experience to the crew.

Sydney Uni also have a number of first time Gallagher racers – Esther San Miguel (7 seat), Lydia Yerrell (6 seat), Joanne Kleydish (3 seat), Emma Thomas (2 seat) and reserve Kathleen Bolger.

Metcalfe (Bachelor of Science), Yerell and Doumanis are all SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holders.

The Sydney University men’s eight team is:

Nick Purnell Nick Hudson (captain) Jack Hargeaves Nick Wheatley Hamish Playfair Peter Koster Tom Sacre Kit Cunninhgam-Reid Will Raven (cox) Ed de Carvalho (reserve)

The Sydney University women’s eight team is:

Ellena Winstanley (captain) Emma Thomas Joanne Kleydish Sarah Cook Nicola Metcalfe Lydia Yerrell Esther San Miguel Marianna Doumanis Genevieve Fick (cox) Kathleen Bolger (reserve)