2015 World Championship silver medal crew mates Cam Girdlestone and David Crawshay will be in opposing boats when Sydney and Melbourne University men’s eights face off next Sunday (25th October) on the Yarra River in the annual Australian Boat Race.
Cam and David were three and bow respectively in the Australian Men’s Quad this year – the new combination of Watts, Girdlestone, Fosterling and Crawshay surprised rowing pundits by combining into a strong team that threatened the strong German quad at the front of the field at the World Championships at Lake Aigbelette in France last month.
The 2015 Aussie Quad
Now Cam and David will be seeking to go one up on the other in their university crews this Sunday. David and Cam will each be one of two graduate members allowed in each crew. David has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Melbourne University and will take the five seat in their boat while Cam, who has a Bachelor of Teaching, will fill the six seat in the Sydney University Boat. David has the distinction of winning an Olympic gold medal in the double scull in Beijing.
Crawshay stroked the Melbourne crew to victory in the 2013 event on the Yarra while Cam won with Sydney last year on Sydney Harbour.
Joining Crawshay in the Melbourne crew will be notable national team rowers Josh Booth (stroke of the winning 2015 Victorian Kings Cup eight), James Marburg (2008 Olympic silver medallist in the coxless four) and John Linke.
Cam will row with fellow Sydney Uni sculler Sasha Belonogoff in the seven seat. Sasha is the reigning national sculling champion and has represented Australia in the double scull at the last two World Championships.
The balance of the Sydney crew will be mainly members of the crew that won the U23 National eights championship in March this year in the slick time of 5 m 39 seconds. Sydney’s stroke ironically will be a Melburnian, Andrew Judge, who attended Melbourne Grammar School but has enrolled in Economics at Sydney University at the start of 2015.
With strong international representatives in both crews the quality of the crew balance will be important. On paper reviewing the crews this would seem to be slightly in favour of Sydney but as the 2013 race showed combination and local knowledge on the winding Yarra course are of equal or greater importance. It’s one of those races that will unfold in the first two kilometres with the pre start odds slightly favouring Melbourne.
Whatever the result Crawshay and Girdlestone have one very important goal they both share – gaining selection again in the Australian Quad for the Rio Olympics and making the boat go fast enough to get one place up the rankings to claim gold.
The men’s eights in The Australian Boat Race (Toorak to the City) start at 9.45 am this coming Sunday 25th October.