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Archived latest news items: August 2006

Monday 28 August 2006

Aussies building for Beijing

Australia has finished the World Rowing Championships in Eton, Great Britain second on the medal tally after winning a further four medals on the final day of racing yesterday.

Defending world champion Dominic Monypenny was able to replicate Australia's golden efforts from the penultimate day of racing when he won gold in the Adaptive Men’s Single.

The Women's Lightweight Double Scull combination of Marguerite Houston and Amber Halliday claimed silver behind China's Xu Dongxiang and Yan Shimin.

Australia's Women's Eight crew, the defending world champions, won bronze behind the United States and Germany. Robyn Selby Smith, Jo Lutz, Amber Bradley, Sarah Cook, Kim Crow, Sarah Heard, Emily Martin, Kate Hornsey and cox Lizzie Patrick finished in a time of 6:00.29.

The Men's Eight finished fourth behind Germany, Italy and the United States.

The Women's Quadruple Scull of Catriona Sens, Sonia Mills, Dana Faletic and Sally Kehoe also won bronze behind Russia, with host nation Great Britain in second.

Australia finished behind Great Britain in the medal tally but five of the medals were in the Olympic class and Australia, along with China, were the only two countries to win two gold medals in the Olympic class boats.

"We have enough pride to always want to be in the top few in the world," Rowing Australia's High Performance Director Noel Donaldson said.

“Our goal for Beijing is clear: part of our business plan is to be the number one ranked nation in the world. So it's solid. It's good that we're setting high standards."

Donaldson also said the undisputed highlight of the championships was Brooke Pratley and Liz Kell's victory in the final of the Women's Double Scull on Saturday.

Visit the Rowing Australia website, www.rowingaustralia.com.au, for race results and reports, interviews with members of the Australian Team and extensive image galleries. (All World Championships images displayed on the Rowing Australia website are available from AAP and www.rowingphotos.com.au.)

For further information, contact Greg Howell, Rowing Australia's Elite Program Manager, on 0407 942 181.

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Sunday 27 August 2006

Gold: three from three for Aussie rowers

The Australian Rowing Team won three gold medals from the three finals they raced overnight at the 2006 World Rowing Championships in Eton, Great Britain.

First up, the Women’s Coxless Four of Robyn Selby Smith, Jo Lutz, Amber Bradley and Kate Hornsey successfully defended their 2005 title, with Selby Smith and Hornsey backing-up from the 2005 combination. By the half way mark (1000 metres) the Australians had a boat length’s lead over China and Germany, and held off all challengers to take the gold in a time of 6:25.25. All four will race in tonight’s Women’s Eight A Final.

Next, the experienced pair of Duncan Free and Drew Ginn in the Men’s Coxless Pair. The Australians had advanced to the A Final by winning their heat and semi-final and were drawn beside the apparent main danger and defending World Champions, New Zealand.

By the 1500 metre mark, the pair had established clear water between themselves and the remainder of the field, and held off the chasing pack to take the gold medal in a time of 6:18.00 from New Zealand and Canada.

Free’s assessment of the race:

“It did go to plan. We had a really good start and middle thousand. It was a little lumpy in the last 500m, so we made sure we didn’t make any mistakes and did what it takes to get over the line first.”

The young Australian combination of Brooke Pratley and Liz Kell had rowed well above their experience level to advance to the A Final of the Women’s Double Scull. The pair began well and held second place after 500 metres behind the favourites, the Olympic and World Champions the Evers-Swindell twins from New Zealand.

By 1000 metres Kell and Pratley had taken the lead, and held off the German crew to take the gold medal in a time of 6:47.47, with New Zealand third.

“There’s no reason to be afraid. You are not afraid of anyone. You go out there and do what you can do. Everyone has got some pretty strong people. Everyone is strong. Everyone is rowing well. It is really the stuff in the head that gets you through to the line,” Kell said post-race.

In tonight's racing (Australian crews from AEST 21:00), Australians will contest eight A Finals including the Adaptive Men’s Single and the Women’s Eight, in both of which Australia is the defending World Champion.

Visit the Rowing Australia website, www.rowingaustralia.com.au, for race results and reports, interviews with members of the Australian Team and extensive image galleries.

For further information, contact Greg Howell, Rowing Australia's Elite Program Manager, on 0407 942 181.

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Saturday 26 August 2006

Aussies blitz semi-finals at the 2006 World Rowing Championships

Australia's rowers were again in the thick of the action on day six of the World Rowing Championships in Eton, Great Britain with another six crews moving into the weekend's finals to challenge for medals.

The Men's Eight of James Chapman, James Marburg, Matt Ryan, Sam Conrad, Tom Laurich, Karsten Forsterling, Cameron McKenzie McHarg, Jeremy Stevenson and cox Marty Rabjohns, qualified fastest for last night's semi-final and turned in another dominant performance to take out the race and qualify with a time of 5:47.80.

With Australia looking to claim its first victory in the event at the World Championships in 20 years, bowman Chapman said despite their finish, the crew can still improve for the final.

“The main pressure on us is what we put on ourselves," he said. "We have prepared well and all of us felt good for today’s semi-final. We want to do the best race we can. We know if we row well, (if) we row the best we can, we will go fast. It will make a good race for us.

“I know that there are areas we can improve on. And that’s a really positive thing. It’s exciting to know we can improve on that semi-final row.”

Australia's lightweight rowers were also particularly dominant on day six. The Men's Lightweight Coxless Pair of Tim Smith and Cameron Wurf won their semi-final, as did the Women's Lightweight Double Scull of Marguerite Houston and Amber Halliday, and the Men's Lightweight Double Scull of Tasmanians Sam Beltz and Tom Gibson. The Men's Lightweight Coxless Four of Todd Skipworth, Ben Cureton, Michael McBryde and Tim O'Callaghan finished third. All crews will contest the A finals on Sunday.

Defending Adaptive Men’s Single World Champion Dominic Monypenny won his heat last night to move into Sunday’s A Final.

In tonight's racing (Australian crews from AEST 18:46), Australians will contest the A Finals in the Women’s Coxless Four, the Men’s Coxless Pair and the Women’s Double Scull.

Visit the Rowing Australia website, www.rowingaustralia.com.au, for race results and reports, interviews with members of the Australian Team and extensive image galleries.

For further information, contact Greg Howell, Rowing Australia's Elite Program Manager, on 0407 942 181.

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Friday 25 August 2006

More Australian crews through to the weekend’s A finals of the 2006 World Rowing Championships

A further two Australian crews won through to the weekend's A finals on the fifth day of racing at the World Rowing Championships at Eton, Great Britain last night.

The Men's Coxless Pair of former world and Olympic champion Drew Ginn and Duncan Free pipped the Great Britain crew to win their semi-final, while the young New South Wales combination of Liz Kell and Brooke Pratley rowed with distinction to finish second in their semi-final of the Women's Double Scull.

Ginn and Free, already looking relaxed as a pairing despite their limited international experience racing together, started well in their semi-final and overcame a very difficult tailwind.

At the 500 metre mark the Australians were sitting just .23 seconds ahead of the competitive Italian crews. Australia, Italy and Great Britain then went stroke for stroke at the 1000 metre mark, with Canada emerging as a new threat.

The Italians dropped off around the 1500 metre mark when the Australians, still holding a slim lead over Great Britain, missed a stroke and slowed dramatically.

Ginn and Free used all of their experience to regain their composure and take the semi final in a time of 6:22.87 from Great Britain and Canada and will no doubt challenge in Saturday's A final.

Pratley and Kell were pitted against world and Olympic champions, sisters Georgina and Caroline Evers-Swindell from New Zealand, and took the fight to them early.

The Australians were within half a length of the Kiwis and the Chinese crew at the 500 metre mark and in the second 500 Kell and Pratley fought off the Chinese to hold second place. A late charge from Ukraine was not enough to bump the Australians from second.

Heartened by their performance in the testing conditions, Kell and Pratley said the signs were looking good to de-throne the New Zealanders on Saturday.

"In world rowing, no-one can be on top forever," Kell said. "You have to choose whether you are going to be the crew to end that reign.

"For me the most important thing is to have confidence. And that is definitely there now. And that race just then (the semi-final), even though it was pretty ugly, the speed was definitely there. But we still have a lot to work on which is good because that will make the boat go faster.

In addition, Pratley said there is still room for improvement in the final.

"We were rating about 30 (strokes per minute) in the third 500m," she said. "I think we were under rating seriously. It was a big improvement (on the heat) but we have a lot to work on in the next 48 hours.

"We haven’t really had a chance to open up and see what speed this boat potentially has. This morning, over the first kilometre we were with the Kiwis all the way, so I guess that is a good sign. But as Liz (Kell) said we are specialists in headwind. In tailwind we are not bad but we just have to work out what we can do in those conditions."

In the Men's Coxless Four C Final, Australia's David McGowan, Jaxon Rudduck, Stefan Szczurowski and Francis Hegerty finished third to officially place 15th overall in the event.

Craig Jones and the young Chris Morgan won their C/D semi-final in the Men's Double Scull, then took third in the C Final behind Hungary and Italy.

Women's Eight reserve Claire Shields also took first in her C/D semi-final followed by second in the C Final of the Women's Single Scull. The Tasmanian, in her first regatta in a sculling boat, is using the race to keep her form in case she is called on to race in the women's blue ribbon event.

In tonight's racing (AEST, from 18:40), Dominic Monypenny, 2005 World Champion in the Adaptive Men's Single, lines up in the heats. As well, Australian crews will contest the A/B semi-finals in the Men's Lightweight Coxless Pair, the Women's and Men's Lightweight Double Scull, the Men's Lightweight Coxless Four and the Men's Quad Scull.

Visit the Rowing Australia website, www.rowingaustralia.com.au, for race results and reports, interviews with members of the Australian Team and extensive image galleries.

For further information, contact Greg Howell, Rowing Australia's Elite Program Manager, on 0407 942 181.

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Wednesday 23 August 2006

Australian crews scintillating in the opening days of the 2006 World Rowing Championships

Australian crews have made a scintillating start to the World Rowing Championships in Eton, Great Britain this week. Racing began on Dorney Lake on Sunday night (Australian time) and after three days of rowing, Australia has already qualified for three A finals and eight semi-finals.

Australia’s Women’s Eight crew will be stalking back-to-back world titles on Sunday, after a dominant performance in their heat. Australia won its heat by 1.02 seconds from Germany and Romania and the five members from last year’s World Championship’s crew that triumphed in Gifu, Japan, looked particularly comfortable.

The Women’s Quad Scull crew was similarly composed in their heat as they too progressed straight to Sunday’s A Final. Stroked by Queensland’s Sally Kehoe, Australia led Germany by 0.88 seconds by the 500 metre mark and then Kehoe, Dana Faletic, Sonia Mills and Catriona Sens extended their lead to finish ahead of Germany and China.

The Men’s Eight crew rowed the day’s fastest time on Monday, as they claimed their heat in a scorching time of 5:26.86. The Australian’s finished 2.6 seconds ahead of Italy as they progressed comfortably into the semi-final.

"This has been a tremendous start for all of the rowers with a number of crews building up well for their semi-finals and finals," Rowing Australia's High Performance Director, Noel Donaldson, said.

"Monday was a particularly big day. Every crew got their desired result and now the team is focussed on building momentum into the finals.

"If the majority of the team is performing everyone is happy, and then in turn energy levels are high, so we're very pleased.

"The initial results have also been good for the young members of the squad as they now know how it feels to win."

Meanwhile, dual Olympic gold medallist Drew Ginn is looking at another tilt at international glory. He and new crew mate Duncan Free blitzed their heat of the Men’s Coxless Pairs in a time of 6:30.82 to progress to Thursday's semi-final.

"It’s always good to get that first hit-out of the week behind you," Ginn said. "You are always a bit anxious … about how you will go and to see what the others have to offer. But we executed a good race I thought.

"It is a new chapter. It is a great and new opportunity for both of us. We do look back on when I was with James (Tomkins), but not to compare … just to draw on that experience and see how it can be used for us as a pair."

Visit the Rowing Australia website, www.rowingaustralia.com.au, for race results and reports, interviews with members of the Australian Team and extensive image galleries.

For further information, contact Greg Howell, Rowing Australia's Elite Program Manager, on 0407 942 181.

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Wednesday 23 August 2006

Rowing coach position vacancy: Sydney University Boat Club

Sydney University Sport is seeking a suitably qualified and experienced rowing coach to work with our elite and/or developing rowers, and men’s and women’s coaches.

The rowing coach will be responsible for the coordination, administration and coaching of elite and/or developing male and female rowers.  It is expected that the successful applicant will work closely with the men’s and women’s coaches in the development and management of the programs.

The coach must have comprehensive and up-to-date technical knowledge for all levels and disciplines of rowing, experience in coaching high performance athletes, and the ability to recruit and develop athletes to elite level.

Applications close Friday 1st September.

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Tuesday 22 August

Australian rowing great, Merv Wood, passes away at 89

By Rupert Guinness

Australian rowing was saddened to learn of the death of Merv Wood on Saturday following a long fight with cancer.

News of his passing at the age of 89 came to light among members of the Australian Rowing Team at the World Championships at Eton, England today.

The team produced a fitting response of respect to Wood on the water by winning seven of the eight races in which they had crews competing.

“It is a tribute to Merv Wood,” said Australian men’s eight cox Marty Rabjohns after the crew ended the day of success for the team with their heat win.

“He was a real hero in terms of rowing for us. It is great that we could do that today.”

Wood was the talk of many at the Eton sheds throughout the day’s racing, with Rowing Australia’s President Pat McNamara’s comment reflected by most.

“Merv was one of Australia’s most outstanding athletes with an illustrious career spanning 20 years,” said McNamara.

“His career and the way he raced long stood as an example for the generations of Australian rowers to follow. And it will always …”

Wood’s passing was felt throughout the Olympic movement too, as Australian Olympic Committee President and long-time rowing family member John Coates showed.

Coates, who will be attending the world titles later this week, said Wood was “clearly one of our finest Olympians.

“I knew Merv and his wife Betty well” Coates said. “In terms of longevity Merv’s record is unsurpassed. He was on top in his sport for over twenty years”.

Wood, who started rowing at age 13 at Sydney Boys High School, rowed at four Olympic Games winning gold, silver and bronze for his country.

He also won four Commonwealth gold medals, two Diamond Sculls, a Philadelphia Cup and twelve national championships.

But he was not just a sculler. In his first Olympics at Berlin in 1936, at the age of 19, he rowed in the men’s eight.

World War II robbed him of the opportunity of attending two Olympics at a time when he was in his twenties and at his peak.

After the War at his second Olympics in 1948 in London, he won the single scull and returned at Helsinki in 1952 to take home the silver.

At both Olympics he carried the Australian flag at the Opening Ceremony and to this day is still the only Australian to do so at two Games.

But that feat did not mark Wood’s swansong. At the Melbourne Olympics in 1956, he and Murray Riley won bronze in the double sculls.

“One wonders what his record might have been if not interrupted by the war” Coates said.

Wood battled cancer but still managed to run with the Olympic torch near his home in the Sydney suburb of Maroubra in 2000.

“He was thrilled to play a part in the torch relay and to see the rowing at Penrith during the Sydney Games” Coates said.

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Tuesday 22 August

Wrap-up of Days I and II of the 2006 World Rowing Championships

Australia’s Women’s Eight crew is stalking back-to-back world titles after a dominant performance in today’s heat at the World Rowing Championships at Dorney Lake, Eton, Great Britain.

Australia won its heat by 1.02 seconds from Germany and Romania and the five members from last year’s World Championship’s crew that triumphed in Gifu, Japan, looked particularly comfortable.

The Women’s Quad Scull crew was similarly composed in their heat as they too progressed straight into Sunday’s A Final. Stroked by Queensland’s Sally Kehoe, Australia led Germany by 0.88 seconds by the 500 metre mark and then Kehoe, Dana Faletic, Sonia Mills and Catriona Sens extended their lead to finish ahead of Germany and China.

The Men’s Eight crew rowed the day’s fastest time on Monday, as they claimed their heat in a scorching time of 5:26.86. The Australian’s finished 2.6 seconds ahead of Italy as they progressed comfortably into the semi-final.

Dual Olympic gold medallist Drew Ginn and new crew mate Duncan Free blitzed their heat of the Men’s Coxless Pairs in a time of 6:30.82 to progress to Thursday's semi-final.

The Women's Coxless Four crew of Robyn Selby Smith, Jo Lutz, Amber Bradley and Kate Hornesy cruised home to win their heat in a time of 6:38.61

Australian crews that also progressed with winning performances in their heats included the Men’s Lightweight Coxless Pair of Tim Smith and Cameron Wurf, and the Women’s Lightweight Double Scull combination of Amber Halliday and Marguerite Houston.

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Friday 18 August

Australian wins Lightweight Women's Single Scull title at the 2006 World University Rowing Championships

Sydney University student, Elsa O’Hanlon, collected the Lightweight Women's Single Scull title at the 2006 World University Rowing Championships in Trakai, Lithuania last weekend.

Coached by her father, Terry O’Hanlon, Elsa demonstrated she had experience beyond her years to row into a strong head wind to claim the title. Elsa, confidently claimed the lead early in the race and held her position, crossing the line five seconds in front of the Czechoslovakian and Swiss competitors.

Elsa was selected in May from a strong field of athletes, and prepared for the event at the Sydney University Boat Club.

The World University Rowing Championships provides an exciting opportunity for students to compete against their peers on the world stage. FISU, the International University Sports Federation was founded in 1949 and under the FISU banner, rowing is one of the 25 sports that have annual university championships. The championships are open to university students between the ages of 17 and 28. The next World University Rowing Championships will be held in Belgrade, Serbia in 2008.

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Friday 18 August

Croker Oars 2006 Rowing Australia Coaches Conference:
only seven weeks to go!

Preparations for the Croker Oars 2006 Rowing Australia Coaches Conference continue, with significant success.

In addition to the naming rights sponsorship of Croker Oars, the Queensland Department of Sport and Recreation has agreed to take up a major sponsorship package. The exciting program has been finalised, with all presenters confirmed. The Radisson Resort on the Gold Coast promises to be a great venue for the conference.

Visit the conference website for full details, and register now!

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Monday 14 August

Australian Institute of Sport Rowing Scholarships 2006/2007

The Australian Institute of Sport and Rowing Australia are now calling for applications for scholarships with the AIS Rowing Program. The AIS Rowing Program is centralised in Canberra with the full support of the AIS athlete and coach services, and the residential program.

The squads will be coached by the National Head Coaches for the AIS and Rowing Australia, Brian Richardson in the Men, and Lyall McCarthy in the Women.

To apply, please fill out the application form and email it to Dean Oakman, the AIS Rowing Program Co-ordinator at dean.oakman@ausport.gov.au. Applications should, where possible, be sent electronically, but can also be faxed or posted to:

AIS Rowing Program, PO Box 176, Belconnen ACT 2616, Fax: 02 6285 2813

Applications close Friday 1 September 2006.

Scholarships are expected to commence approximately October 2006.

Contact: Dean Oakman, Program Coordinator, 02 6285 3613.

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