2021 Boat Christening, Therese Clancy

Today the Boat Club christened four new boats. Among them was a new pair/double names in honour of Therese Clancy, one of the founding members of the Sydney University Women’s Rowing Club in the late 1960s.


Speaking to Therese’s achievements in rowing was her early university coach, Phil Titterton OAM.


Therese Clancy’s immediate interest was piqued when she spied a notice, probably at Manning, asking interested girls to meet to form a Women’s Rowing Club at Sydney University.

Thus in 1967, the current Sydney University Women’s Rowing Club was started by a band of half a dozen students, including Therese, who initially boated out of Sydney Women’s Rowing Club at Abbotsford. Within a year, the Club had moved to the then-new, Thyne Reid shed at Burns Bay and started training in borrowed boats with the aim of competing in the first Women’s Rowing Intervarsity to be held at Raymond Terrace on the Manning River.


I should explain that at that time, there was a separate Women’s Sports Association at Sydney University, a separate Women’s Rowing Association in NSW with their own regattas; Women’s races were held over 1000metres in coxed fours, coxed pairs, and single sculls – and these were the classes chosen for racing at the first Intervarsity Regatta.


Therese rowed in that first Coxed four which in 1968 won the newly-presented Lady Margaret Cup, following that up with a win the next year, 1969, at Intervarsity in Perth. Having graduated, this was Therese’s last Intervarsity, but she continued rowing for the Club, forming the backbone of innumerable fours and pairs in Club and State Championship regattas, winning Open and Senior races and numerous Lightweight State Championships.


In 1973, Therese was selected to stroke the State Lightweight Four which won the Australian Championship in Geelong and went on to represent Australia in the Interdominion Race for the Queen’s Plate held in Sydney that year. Interestingly, the win in Geelong broke a long, winning streak of Lightweight wins by Victoria, whose crew included Kath Suhr, after whom the Intervarsity Sculling Trophy is named.

Therese was by then teaching full time, and she concentrated on her career (and Real Estate interests!) until 1995, when she was inveigled down to the newly acquired SUWRC Boatshed at Glebe to join the first Women’s Masters’ squad which was formed with George Bawtree as coach. As is usual with Therese, she immediately flung herself back into competition, culminating in her crew winning Sydney University’s first International Masters’ Gold Medal at the FISA World Masters Regatta held in Adelaide in 1997. Therese continued to compete at Masters Regattas for the next decade, generously giving up her time to anchor club crews and encourage new club members.


In 1969 Therese was presented with one of the first two University Blues awarded for Women’s Rowing, and given a Service Award in 1975 by SUWSA after serving variously as the Rowing Club Secretary, Treasurer and Captain over the previous 7 years. Outside our club, Therese is currently a member of the Executive of the NSW Ex-Oarswomen’s Association, and is a member of the Sydney University, Blue and Gold Association Committee.


The honour of naming this beautiful pair, the “Therese Clancy” is well deserved.




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