For the first time in the modern era of the Australian Boatrace, since its revival in 2010, Sydney University has won both the Men’s and Women’s Intervarsity Eight’s. Claiming the Edmund Barton Trophy and the Bella Guerin Trophy.
The Men continued their four-year winning streak, leaving the tally at seven wins from eight starts. The crew had a blistering start with a 1:21 first 500m, holding off Melbourne who had the early advantage with the bends on the river, the crew then lengthened out into an unstoppable rhythm to win by a number of lengths over the young Melbourne crew. Seven of the nine in the crew were returning champions, with new inclusions Devlin Walsh and Leon Chambers. Special shout out to Olympic Silver Medallist Sasha Belonogoff for winning his seventh race from seven starts, with the last three being as a graduate member of the crew. Men’s cox and captain Will Raven was also in his seventh race, with 2017 being his 6th win, who as far as our records show now has the world record for the most Intervarsity Boatraces as a current student, this comes as the Oxford and Cambridge race have the Rankov Rule limiting athletes to four undergrad and four postgrad races, and the Harvard Yale race having athlete eligibility regulations limiting the number of years they are allowed to compete as a student athlete.
The highlight of the day for SUBC came as the women went on to win their first Boatrace. The crew had a solid start, holding with Melbourne on the first straight, with Melbourne pulling away a few seats on the first bend in their favour. Sydney Uni stuck to their rhythm and as the course straightened out, they steadily chipped away at the Victorian crew. By the 1km mark, SUBC was clearly in front, and the crew never looked back. Stroked by Wallis Russell they kept their beat slightly higher than Melbourne, charging away to win by an 11-second margin, a near seventy-second turn around from the last few years of racing. The crew featured a number of national team reps with Wallis and Georgie Masters placing 6th at the U23 World Champs in the lightweight women’s quad, the crew was also strengthened by Harriet Hudson who claimed silver at this year’s U23 World Champs in the Women’s quad. The crew was captained by 6 seat and club women’s captain Dyone Bettega. This win is especially exciting for the club, with its recent rise in strength of women’s rowing, as well as how young the majority of the crew is with many more years of studying and boat races left for the majority of these athletes.
These wins come as the result of years of planning and building for the student base of the boat club, as well as a number of supporting factors notably being the dedication and drive of Chris Noel to recruit and support athlete development. Another important factor assisting the program has been the amalgamation of the men’s and women’s club in September 2015 and the introduction by our current President Sarah Cook of an integrated training and coaching program for both women and men.
The modern era of the Boatrace is a credit to Chris Noel’s passion for the sport, with the support of both universities sports departments and vice-chancellors backing. For the club, this year is especially important, as it marked the opening of our new high-performance facility at Linley Point, the Thyne Reid Boat House, with the benefits of this training venue already being seen to be paying off with such an impressive season for the club.
The Winning Men’s Crew: William Raven – Cox (Captain) Cam Girdlestone – Stroke Sasha Belonogoff – Seven Leon Chambers -Six Jacob Bicknell – Five Andrew Judge – Four Devlin Walsh – Three Marcus Britt – Two Jack Hanley – Bow Morgan Brooking – Reserve Don McLachlan – Coach Dustyn Butler – Director
The Winning Women’s Crew: Bec Harrison – Cox
Wallis Russell – Stroke Georgie Masters – Seven Dyone Bettega – Six (Captain) Emma Fessey – Five Harriet Hudson – Four Carina Simpson – Three Laura Triggs – Two Lizzie Treloar – Bow
Jaime Ford – Reserve Alfie Young – Coach Debbie Fox – Coach
Sydney University Boat Club acknowledges the support of both Sydney Uni VC, Dr Michael Spence and Melbourne Uni VC Prof Glynn Davis for The Australian Boat Race.