Australian Rowing Championships

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The Australian Rowing Championships is an annual rowing event that determines Australia's national rowing champions and facilitates selection of Australian representative crews for World Championships and the Olympic Games. It is Australia's premier regatta, with states, clubs and schools sending their best crews. The Championships commence with the National Regatta - men's, women's and lightweight events in open, under 23, under 19, under 17 and school age categories. Rowers at the National Regatta race in their local club colours with composite crews permitted. The Championships conclude with the Interstate Regatta - currently eight events competed by state representative crews or scullers selected by the state rowing associations. The states compete for an overall points tally which decides the Zurich Cup.

Competition history[edit]

Inter-colonial racing began in Australia in 1833 when a Sydney crew raced a Hobart crew in whalers. Schools, varsity and club events were the top-class races throughout the mid 19th century although New South Wales and Victoria raced regularly (though not annually) in men's IVs from 1863. In 1878 Victoria and New South Wales commenced inter-colonial racing in eight-oared boats and the other colonies and (later states) joined them such that by 1906 all six Australian states were sending a men's VIII and perhaps a sculler, to the annual Interstate Regatta.

A national open rowing championship was discussed at Australian Rowing Council meetings from 1946 but it wasn't until the 1960s that support for the concept was unanimous outside of New South Wales and Victoria. The first National Open Championship Regatta was held in 1962 and then was held every two years. Since 1969 the National Regatta has been annual and since 1976 has been held within the same single programme as the Interstate Regatta creating the combined Australian Rowing Championships.

Interstate Regatta[edit]

The Interstate Regatta is held at the conclusion of the National Regatta and currently includes the following races for state representative crews:

AIF #1 VIII 1919 Henley Peace Regatta : McGill (standing right), Hauenstein (standing left), Middleton (right of officer)

The King's Cup - interstate men's (coxed) eight[edit]

Victoria and New South Wales commenced inter-colonial racing in eight-oared boats in 1878 when the Victorian Rowing Association invited New South Wales oarsmen from the Sydney and the Mercantile clubs to boat crews for a race on the lower Yarra River over about four miles.[1] Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania all showed an interest in entering crews from the mid-1880s but disagreements over definitions of amateur status resulted in inconsistencies in eligibility criteria in the early decades. New South Wales held firm to a view that not just professional sportsmen and those employed around boats would be deemed non-amateurs but also all manual labourers. The other states had relaxed this view by 1899.[2] Queensland and Tasmania first entered crews in 1885 and then Queensland raced regularly from 1890.[3] From 1899 South Australia were racing annually. Following Federation the race became the interstate eight-oared championship with Tasmania and West Australia boating crews regularly by 1906.

Since 1921 the crews have competed for the King's Cup. The trophy had been won by a First Australian Imperial Force crew at the Royal Peace Regatta held in London in 1919 following the cessation of hostilities at the end of World War I and was presented to the victorious eight-oared boat by King George V. In time, and in spite of dogged resistance from the Australian War Memorial, the Victorian Rowing Association petitioned the King to express his intention for the Cup, and at his command it became the perennial trophy to be presented to the winning state representative men's eight at the annual Australian Rowing Championships. The AIF #1 crew, all former club oarsmen who secured the King's Cup for Australia were seated as follows: Bow - Sgt A.A Robb (Derwent Rowing Club, Tasmania); 2 - Lieut.F.A House (Derwent Rowing Club, Tasmania); 3 - Lieut. T.McGill (Leichhardt Rowing Club, NSW); 4 - Gnnr A.V Scott (Murray Bridge Rowing Club, Sth Aust); 5 - Lieut H Hauenstein (Leichhardt Rowing Club, NSW); 6 - Maj. Sydney Middleton (Leichhardt Rowing Club, NSW): 7 - Gnnr G.W.Nettam (West Aust Rowing Club): Str - Capt H Disher (Melb Uni Boat Club): Cox - Sgt A.E Smedley (Sydney Rowing Club).

  • James Tomkins rowed in Victorian King's Cup VIIIs on eighteen occasions between 1985 & 2008 for fifteen victories and three 2nd places.
  • Mike McKay rowed sixteen times for Victoria in the King's Cup for thirteen wins and two seconds.[4]
  • Karsten Forsterling contested the King's Cup in Victorian VIIIs on twelve occasions in the fifteen year period from 2001 to 2015. He was in the winning crew on six occasions and in the 2nd place crew on six occasions.
  • David Anderson of the Leichhardt Club rowed in eight consecutive New South Wales King's Cup VIIIs from 1950 to 1957 for two victories.
  • Phil Cayzer stroked the New South Wales King's Cup VIII on five occasions from 1948 to 1954, winning the championship in 1949, 1950 and 1951.
  • Alan Grover coxed the New South Wales King's Cup VIII five times consecutively from 1962 to 1969 and then in 1980 for a sixth occasion.
  • Michael Morgan rowed in New South Wales King's Cup VIIIs for six consecutive years from 1968 to 1973, winning the title in 1968 and 1972.

President's Cup - interstate men's single scull[edit]

Bobby Pearce world and Olympic champion

An intercolonial sculling race between New South Wales and Victoria was first held in 1868 and then annually from 1895 with Queensland also racing.[5] Tasmania has consistently been represented since 1903. South Australia and West Australia have entered scullers with some regularity but not consistently until the 1960s.

The first President of the Australian Amateur Rowing Council, Mr E.C. Watchorn, donated the President's Cup in 1925 as the perpetual trophy for the annual Australian Interstate Single Sculling Championship. It was first competed for in 1926 and won by A A Baynes of Queensland.

  • Mervyn Wood (NSW) contested the event on nine occasions, won on a record eight occasions, seven of them consecutive 1946 to 1952.
  • G Squires (Tasmania) contested the event on eight occasions from 1956 to 1963 winning at his last attempt and finishing second six times.
  • Ted Hale (NSW & Tasmania) contested the event on a record thirteen occasions, won on six occasions, all consecutive from 1976 to 1981. His NSW colleague Dr. Dick Redell finished 2nd to Hale in '76, '77 & '79 and was 3rd in '78.
  • Duncan Free (QLD) contested the event on eight occasions from 1996 to 2004 winning seven times.
  • Bobby Pearce (NSW) won on three occasions from 1927 to 1929 and by a 30 length margin in 1928. His cousin Cecil Pearce (NSW) won from 1936 to 1939 (by 8 lengths in 1937). Cecil's son Gary Pearce won in 1965.

The Queen Elizabeth II Cup - interstate women's (coxed) eight[edit]

The premier interstate event for women was the ULVA trophy which from 1920 till 1998 was a fours event. The trophy had first been presented by the United Licensed Victuallers Association (ULVA) of Queensland. In 1999 the women's interstate race was changed to an event for VIIIs with the Queen's Cup as the prize.

Of the seventy-eight occasions between 1920 and 1999 that the race was held in IVs, New South Wales won thirty-one times with eleven of those victories consecutive between 1955 and 1965. Victoria managed twenty-four victories in that period also with eleven of them consecutive (1978-1988) and then enjoying another eleven year consecutive run from 2005 to 2015. Of the twenty-five events up until 2015, Victoria were the victors on eighteen occasions.

  • Kim Crow contested the event for Victoria on nine occasions in the ten years 2007 to 2016 and achieved nine victories.
  • Alexandra Hagan contested the event on nine consecutive occasions for West Australia between 2008 and 2016.

Penrith Cup - interstate men's lightweight coxless four[edit]

The Penrith Cup for a lightweight men's IV was introduced in 1958.[6]

Nell Slatter Cup - interstate women's single scull[edit]

Since 1963 the interstate women's scull competition has been for the Nell Slatter Cup.

The Victoria Cup - interstate women's lightweight coxless quad scull[edit]

From 1968 until 1998 the premier women's lightweight interstate event was the Victoria Cup competed for by coxless IVs. Since 1999, lightweight quad sculls have raced for the Cup.[7]

Noel Wilkinson Cup - men's interstate youth eight[edit]

Since 1974 men's youth crews have competed at the state representative level for the Noel Wilkinson Cup.[8] Noel Wilkinson (died 1992) OAM was a long serving treasurer of the Australian Rowing Council who had worked tirelessly in fundraising over many years for Australian national and Olympic squads. He had managed Victorian and national representative crews and was a club stalwart at the Banks Rowing Club in Melbourne from 1930 till his death. The event has been raced over 2000 metres since 1983. In the first thirty-seven years of competition for the title up till 2011, Victoria were the most consistent winners with seventeen wins, followed by New South Wales with ten victories.

Bicentennial Cup - women's interstate youth eight[edit]

A women's youth event commenced in 1988 in coxed IVs and converted to VIIIs in 1994.[9]

Zurich Cup - overall regatta points tally[edit]

Since 1999 the overall cumulative points winner in the interstate championships is awarded the Zurich Cup. States are awarded points in each interstate event on the following basis: first place, eight points; second place, six points; third place, five points; fourth place, four points; fifth place, three points; sixth place, two points; seventh place, one point.

In the sixteen regattas at which it was presented up till 2014, the Zurich Cup was won on eleven occasions by Victoria, thrice by New South Wales and by Queensland in 2003 and 2014.[10]

  • South Australia's Chris Morgan in the twelve year period 2005 to 2016 raced for his state on nine occasions in the King's Cup and on eight occasions in the President's Cup.

Locations and events[edit]

Interstate Men's Championships for VIIIs (Kings Cup) and single sculls (Presidents Cup) were held in the follow locations after Federation:[11]

The Penrith Cup for lightweight fours was added to the Kings Cup and Presidents Cup at Interstate Men's Championships for VIIIs as follows:[11]

An Interstate Women's Race for the ULVA Trophy was held in the follow locations:[11]

With the Nell Slatter Trophy for women's single sculls added to the Women's Interstate Regatta from 1963 and the Victoria Cup added from 1968:

Interstate Championships with both Men's and Women's events were held in the follow locations:[11]

A National Regatta was held with distinct dates and venue from the Interstate Championships as follows:

Australian Rowing Championships (combining both regattas) have been held in the following locations[1][12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "2002 Zurich Nationals Rowing Championships". Rowingaustralia.com.au. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  2. ^ Intercolonial history at Guerin Foster
  3. ^ Intercolonial racing at Guerin Foster
  4. ^ McKay at Hall of Fame
  5. ^ http://www.rowinghistory-aus.info/interstate-championships/03-mens1x.php Intercolonial racing at Guerin-Foster
  6. ^ "2002 Zurich Nationals Rowing Championships". Rowingaustralia.com.au. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  7. ^ "2002 Zurich Nationals Rowing Championships". Rowingaustralia.com.au. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  8. ^ http://www.rowinghistory-aus.info/interstate-championships/05-mensYth8.php Men's Youth racing history at Guerin-Foster
  9. ^ http://www.rowinghistory-aus.info/interstate-championships/09-womensYth8.php Women's Youth racing history at Guerin-Foster
  10. ^ http://www.rowinghistory-aus.info/interstate-championships/10-Zurich-Cup.php Zurich Cup history at Guerin-Foster
  11. ^ a b c d http://www.rowinghistory-aus.info/interstate-championships/index.php Interstate History at Guerin-Foster
  12. ^ "Australian Rowing Championships". Rowingaustralia.com.au. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  13. ^ "Australian Rowing Championships wind up". ABC News. 26 April 2003. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  14. ^ Sheridan, Nick (11 March 2007). "After dream run, star eyes world". The Age. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  15. ^ "Competition calendar". Rowingaustralia.com.au. Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  16. ^ "2013-2014 Rowing Championships". Rowingaustralia.com.au. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
  17. ^ "2013-2014 Rowing Championships". Rowingaustralia.com.au. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
  18. ^ "SIRR Secured for Western Sydney Until 2017". RowingAustralia.com.au. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  19. ^ "SIRR Secured for Western Sydney Until 2017". RowingAustralia.com.au. Retrieved 23 March 2015.