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RA News: Issue 52

From the CEO

Welcome to the Christmas edition of RA News!

2009 has been an amazing year and seems to be over before it started. There have been a number of successes not only on the water, but also off the water and rowing is in a very strong position heading into the New Year.

Colin Smith elected as RA President

On November 22 Pat McNamara’s nine year term as RA President ended when he stepped down from his position at the Annual General Meeting. In this period Pat has positioned the sport of rowing in an unprecedented position, and one where it can continue to achieve excellence in coming years. Pat’s tireless work for the sport he loves will be sorely missed, but we are fortunate to welcome Colin Smith as the new RA President. Colin has already played a significant role in Australian rowing over the past three decades, and has been an influential member of the Rowing Australia board in recent years, including involvement in the restructuring of Rowing Australia and the development of the National Rowing Centre of Excellence. I wish Colin all the best in his new tenure. In further elections, Gavin Rezos was elected as Director of Finance, while Ray Ebert was elected as a Director on the Board. 

Selection Forum

At the end of October the Selection Forum was attended by state representatives, members of the board, athletes, selectors, RA lawyers and a number of further RA staff. Discussion was undertaken on a wide range of issues and agreement was reached on the principles used to inform the drafting of the 2010-2012 Selection Policy. Outcomes of the forum included:

  • The selection policy required a greater degree of clarity.
  • Better communication is required to address selection perceptions.
  • The low number of appeals suggested that the selection process was working well.
  • The fact that no appeal heard by RA had been subsequently appealed to CAS indicated that the appeals process was working well.
  • In general the selection process had been improved considerably over the past 2 years, a large part of which was due to the ‘debrief’ process conducted by the selectors.
  • The appeal provisions of the selection policy will be removed to form a separate appeals policy.

It is anticipated that the NEW policy will be available early in the New Year or before.

Strategic Forum

The RA Strategic Forum was held in conjunction with the AGM and CEO Forum in Canberra from 20–22 November and the structural reform approved over this weekend provides a platform for an exciting new chapter in Australian rowing.

A number of key changes have been made to the philosophy and operations of the Community Development Program which will allow RA to provide leadership, integration and coordination to the broader rowing community in working towards its vision ‘To be the best sporting community in Australia’.

The Community Development Program will comprise all of RA’s programs and operations outside of High Performance with the renewed focus and direction under the leadership of Matt Draper. Successful development of the community targeted program will rely heavily on the support of all state/territory associations, clubs and individual members of the rowing community.

The Forum also decided that renewed emphasis should be placed on the retention and revitalisation of RA’s ‘Core Business Products’. These include:

  • Education
  • Events
  • Partner Relations and Member Services
  • National Templates
  • Commercial and Government Revenue Raising.

National Education Update

Significant effort has been placed into the re-drafting and re-formatting of the Learn to Row (Level 1) Manual in the second half of 2009, while both the Club & School Coach (Level  2) & Performance Coach (Level 3) are at present under re-draft by RA’s consultant Mike McLaughlin.

Additionally, a comprehensive proposal was submitted to the ASC to establish an ‘Umpires Academy’.

The objectives of the Academy are to develop Rowing Umpires in Australia in a targeted program that will allow them to eventually gain qualification as an international technical official.

National Events Update

As part of the continued redevelopment of RA’s event management operations a number of considerations were approved by the Board in November. These included:

  • The inclusion of two new club only events for the 2010 Australian Rowing Championships at Nagambie Lakes, Victoria.
  • Proposed rule changes with respect to new event management roles.
  • There will be a renewed commercial focus on RA’s national events, including extra signage and broadcast opportunities.

Crawford Report

The Minister’s Independent Sport Panel Chaired by David Crawford released its Report on Tuesday 17 November, being a 365 page document that provided commentary on Australian sport structure and funding and included 39 recommendations to the Australian Government.

While the Report contains findings and recommendations that have some merit, RA has significant reservations about other elements of its content that has resulted in much debate and division within and between sports. In general terms, Rowing Australia is concerned by lack of understanding and regard for Olympic and Paralympic sports.

RA is continuing to examine the report and has been invited to contribute to the AOC and ASC responses before 21 December 2009.

Life Memberships

I would like to congratulate Barbara Fenner and David Yates who were awarded Rowing Australia Life Memberships in November. Barbara and David have played extremely significant and important roles in Australian rowing over the past three decades and both are fully deserving of this prestigious honour. We look forward to their continued involvement in the sport in the coming years.

New RA Headquarters

RA is fortunate to have received support for its proposal to collocate all NRCE, Community Development and administrative functions at the AIS Boatshed in Yarralumla Bay.

The project will create expanded athlete service facilities together with office space for all RA and AIS staff working on rowing initiatives. The benefits and efficiencies that collocation will create are enormous and we eagerly wait this time next year when we will be operating all together from our new home.

Have a Happy Christmas

I would like to thank all of my staff for their continued hard work and their excellent efforts during 2009 in particular. Your efforts do not go unnoticed and help contribute to the continued improvement and success of Rowing Australia – despite the uncertainty over funding, we have never been in a better position to meet the challenges ahead.

I wish everyone a very happy Christmas and safe New Year and look forward to sharing more success with you in 2010.

Andrew Dee
CEO Rowing Australia

Message from new RA President, Colin Smith


I am deeply proud and honoured to have been elected as President of Rowing Australia at the AGM in November.

I am a passionate member of the rowing community and have been involved in rowing in a number of roles including as a member of National Teams in 1974, 1975, 1977 and 1978 (winning a gold, silver and two bronze medals at the World Championships), as a Life Member of Melbourne University Boat Club, as a long serving Rowing Australia Board Member and as a member of the National Rowing Centre of Excellence Joint Management Committee.

In accepting the role of President I am very mindful of continuing the wonderful legacy provided during Patrick McNamara’s Presidency and will endeavour to both maintain the fantastic improvements made during this time and to achieve the objectives that I consider to be vital to the ongoing success of our sport.

The recent restructure of RA into two distinct areas of High Performance, resourced and serviced by the NRCE, and a separate Community Development unit with a clear vision and direction, will enable RA deliver on its strategic priorities and to position rowing for success in a changing sporting landscape which will be influenced by the recent Crawford Report.

Rowing Australia faces a number of key challenges in ensuring its future success and I intend to provide the leadership to enable RA to overcome these and to achieve the following strategic objectives:

  • Revitalising the National Championships
  • Developing and improving the transition of rowers from school to club
  • Ensuring the consolidation of the club as an integral part of the Australian rowing system and community
  • Developing alternative revenue models (such as online) to supplement current government funding
  • Ensuring delivery of RA’s High Performance Plan, specifically the achievement of 3 Olympic and 1 Paralympic Gold Medals at the 2012 Olympics
  • Maintaining strong relationships with key internal and external organisations and stakeholders including State/Territory Rowing Associations and Clubs.

I am extremely excited to be given the opportunity to lead our great sport into the future and look forward with great enthusiasm to working with each State/Territory Association and rowing club to achieve the goals outlined above.

I am committed to ensuring that rowing continues to be a successful and sustainable fixture within the Australian sporting landscape and to enabling future generations of Australians to experience the wonderful and rewarding sport that has enriched all of our lives.

2010 World Rowing Championships Supporters Tour

Rowing Australia, through association with its official travel management company Stage and Screen, is offering 2010 Supporters Tours for a number of rowing events.

The tours offer an excellent and cost effective way of travelling overseas and supporting our national crews.

Club rowers benefit from new events schedule

Rowing Australia has announced the addition of two new club events to the program for the 2010 Australian Rowing Championships at Nagambie Lakes.

Clubs will be able to enter crews in the men’s and women’s double scull and men’s and women’s coxless four, with strict criteria on to ensure only club rowers can compete.

WCSN brings rowing home to viewers

WCSN will be providing live coverage of all racing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the 2010 Australian Rowing Championships.

Subscription will give each viewer access to the championships, along with further rowing footage and access to a number of other sports

Special ‘rowers rates’ will be released soon.

Hidden Secrets

The Rowing Australia High Performance Calendar outlines the activities of the HP program over the next three seasons culminating in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Familiarise yourself with the program of our elite rowers.

The RA website contains a number of helpful resources, with the HP calendar this month’s RA “Hidden Secret”.

Archived news

To read more about all rowing news in Australia visit our news archive. Articles featuring in the November section include:

  • Rowing Australia’s tribute to the ‘octo rowers’
  • Pedro Albisser announced as NRCE Adaptive Coach
  • Responses to the Crawford Report
  • The Australia Sport Hall of Fame/ASC Captain’s Forum
  • Kim Crow winning an AIS Education Award

Athlete profile: Tom Bertrand

This month RA news features Tom Bertrand, member of the 2009 World Championships men’s lightweight four.

Learn more about Tom and his achievements in rowing.

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