SUBC sent a contingent of Elite Men and Women, along with a group of Master Women to compete in the 2017 Head of the Yarra.
The Masters were off first for the club racing in the F-category, claiming a fourth place in the F-K division of the race. A number of SUBC winter program athletes were also present at the regatta, with Pymble Ladies College taking out wins in both the First and Second Eight Schoolgirl divisions.
In the Women’s Open Eight SUBC had six athletes competing in a composite crew, with SUBC’s Georgie Gotch, Gen Horton, Rowena Meredith, Serena Cox, Fiona Ewing and cox Dani Pettit joined by Olympia Aldersey from Adelaide Rowing Club along with Leah Saunders and Harriet Hudson from Sydney Rowing Club, the crew was coached by Alan Bennet and Alfie Young. The crew starting third in their category had a blistering first half demolishing the lead of the two Victorian boats in front of them, the impressive early race tactics resulted in multiple crews being side by side around some of the more difficult corners to tackle, as such blade clashes occurred, as well as difficulty making the narrow corners allowing the crews from Mercantile and Melbourne Uni to move ahead and go onto claim victory in the race. SUBC was also represented by Sally Kehoe, however not wearing her true club colours, Sal now living in Melbourne was part of the Mercantile eight that claimed victory in the event.
In the Men’s open eight the field was extremely tough this year, with all athletes from the Men’s national training centre spread across both club and composite crews. SUBC opted for a full club eight of Andrew Judge, Jacob Bicknell, Nick Purnell, Jack O’Brien, Cam Girdlestone, Campbell Watts, Jack Hargreaves, Alex Purnell and cox Will Raven, the crew was coached by club head coach Don McLachlan. The crew having not competed in the event in recent years started in 9th position out of the ten entries, this did not deter the crews spirit as they set off at a solid pace, overtaking a number of crews throughout the early stages of the race. The crew suffered a small equipment malfunction with the steering cable snapping at the halfway mark as they went around big bend, again the crew rallied and charged on, with pure passion for the club, they continued to hunt down the leading crews. SUBC finished in a strong third place, in what was the most hotly contested field of the day.
Overall the results were good, with the club placing themselves in a strong position for next year’s race. Thanks to Simon Pennington for driving the boats, AB and Lizzie Chapman for their assistance on race day and to Hawthorn Rowing Club for putting on such a great event.
Photo's Credit: Rowing Celebrations