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Archived latest news items: July 2008

Thursday 31 July

Talent hunt for London 2012 goes online

With competition from other nations increasing, the Australian Sports Commission has developed a world first online electronic talent identification program (better known as eTID), designed to uncover talented hopefuls from every corner of the nation.

Greg Nance, ASC Director for Sport Performance and Development, understands Australia’s plight.

‘Being a relatively small country we don’t have the resources to invest in sport like the UK, so we need to continuously develop innovative tools that enable us to keep up with the rest of the world.

‘eTID is Australia’s solution to finding talent in a way that is smarter and more efficient,’ Nance said

eTID is a simple to use, free, online program that tests an athlete’s sporting abilities.

It provides opportunities for aspiring or current athletes and even former elite athletes looking to start a new sport.

The athletes’ information is processed and if identified as ‘above average’ by eTID, they are then encouraged to visit a Talent Assessment Centre to have their results verified.  

Once the Talent Assessment Centre identifies that the athlete has real talent they can then enter the elite sporting system, where they could be supported with coaching, equipment and travel.

We encourage all aspiring athletes to log onto eTID today and find out if they have the potential to be Australia’s next sporting champion

Monday 28 July

RA media release:
World Championship success for Australian crews

The Australian Women’s Lightweight Quad Scull has regained their World Championship crown after winning the gold medal overnight in Linz, Austria.

With no Olympic disciplines included in the 2008 World Rowing Championships there were only eight events being contested. Australia sent three crews to the regatta and won a gold and bronze medal.

Miranda Bennett (NSW), Alice McNamara (VIC), Bronwen Watson (NSW) were all part of the crew that won the gold medal in 2007 and this year they were joined by Ingrid Fenger (TAS) as they crossed the line in a time of 6:36.41 to win the gold medal.

Australia came out of the blocks slowly in the first 500 metres and sat in 5th position before moving up through the field during the middle 1000 metres of the race. Their speed over the final quarter of the race proved too great for the other crews as they finished three seconds clear of Poland, with the United States a further second behind in third.

Fergus Pragnell (NSW) and Nick Baxter (NSW), coxed by Hugh Rawlinson (WA), won the bronze medal in the Men’s Coxed Pair. Pragnell and Baxter were in 5th place after 1500 metres but came through strongly over the closing stages to finish behind Canada and France and earn the final position on the podium.

The Men’s Lightweight Eight rowed the B Final earlier in the evening and finished in second position.

Australian crews' results, race reports and photos.

For more information please call David Polglase on 0401 453 041

Monday 28 July

RA media release:
Triple bronze for Australian Junior crews

The Australian Junior Rowing Team has walked away from the World Championships with three bronze medals after an exciting day of racing on Saturday in Linz, Austria.

Australian crews were involved in five finals on the second last day of racing in the combined Senior and Junior World Championships and the Men’s Pair, Men’s Double Scull and Men’s Single Scull all finished third in their respective finals.

Nicholas Barnier (ACT) and Sascha Belonogoff (QLD) in the Men’s Double Scull were in impressive form all regatta and locked themselves into an enthralling battle in the final. After a slow start Barnier and Belonogoff started to reel in the crews from Germany and Lithuania in the second half of the race and only finished a narrow three seconds behind the eventual winners from Germany in a time of 6:36.64.

Taylor Wilzcynski also picked up a bronze medal in the very difficult Men’s Single Scull race. Two rowers from Bulgaria and Germany were a step above the rest of the field and fought out the gold medal, whilst Tasmanian born Wilzcynski comfortably held off all the other challengers to record a time of 7:21.85.

The Men’s Pair of Ryan Edwards (NSW) and Matthew Dignan (NSW) was the third Australian crew to win a medal after they were tipped out for the silver medal by Germany by only four tenths of a second and in a time of 6:56.99. It was an impressive row by the young New South Wales combination, who can now look forward to furthering their careers at Under 23 level.

Alexandra Hagan (WA) finished 5th in the final of the Women’s Single Scull, while the Women’s Four also recorded a fifth place finish in their final.

Australian crews' results, race reports and photos.

For more information please call David Polglase on 0401 453 041

Sunday 27 July

Rowing New Zealand press release:
Organisers secure Karapiro 2010 date change

Saturday 26 July 2008

The 2010 Rowing World Championships at Lake Karapiro in New Zealand have been moved from the proposed September date and will now run from October 29th - November 7th 2010.

The change – requested by Karapiro World Championship organisers – was agreed by the world governing body of the sport FISA at its annual World Congress yesterday in Linz, Austria where the World Junior and Senior Rowing Championships are taking place. Securing the date change is a relief for the organisers, who had feared poor weather conditions in September when the world rowing championships are traditionally run. The later date is a departure for the sport, but was not contested by any of the national federations.

“The only point of deliberation in Austria surrounded a negligible and possible wind increase of one meter per second but taking this risk meant there was the likelihood of much better and warmer weather, and it was a change we were pushing hard for,” explained Karapiro 2010 Chief Executive Officer Tom Mayo.

“In addition to having warmer weather and likely better facilities as a result, there are also no major clashing sporting events now in the shape of rugby or the Commonwealth Games.

“In short, although radical by international rowing standards, the new date is an acknowledgement by FISA that Southern Hemisphere events require a different perspective and an improved opportunity for us to deliver a truly world class event.”

There has been huge interest in the New Zealand event both domestically and internationally and organisers expect the event to be a hit with spectators at home, as well as with teams, team personnel and international sporting media. The 1978 rowing world championships were held at Lake Karapiro, and are widely regarded` as one of the best in the history of the sport.

Work is also now underway at Lake Karapiro on vital infrastructure required before the championships begin.

For further information, please contact:

Tom Mayo
CEO – Karapiro 2010 Ltd
Mobile: +64 (0) 21 829669. Office: +64 (9) 3684596.
Email: Skype: tom.mayo

Lake Karapiro — the venue for the Rowing World Championships,
October 29th to November 7th 2010

Saturday 26 July

2008 World Rowing Senior & Junior Championships: day four race reports

The penultimate day of the World Junior and Senior Championships produced another bevy of fine results for the Australian crews with all but two crews winning through to the A Final in Linz, Austria.

Fergus Pragnell and Nick Baxter, coxed by Hugh Rawlinson in the Men's Coxed Pair, improved upon their heat row and won through to the final with a second place finish in their semi final. In what will probably prove one of the closest races at the regatta the Australian duo was in sixth place after the first quarter of the race before beginning to make their way through the field. Going into the last 500 metres of the race Pragnell and Baxter were still in fourth place but locked in a battle with three other crews for the three spots in the final. On the line they moved through in second place, only edging out both Ukraine and the USA by less than half a second. They will now join the Women's Lightweight Quad Scull in the final on Sunday evening.

Alexandra Hagan moved from strength to strength in her semi final of the Women's Single Scull and secured a place in the final with a comfortable second place finish. The German sculler cleared out on the field by 10 seconds but Hagan was safely in second place and crossed the line in a time of 8:05.50.

Taylor Wilzcynski also chalked up a second place in his semi final of the Men's Single Scull and progressed through to the final this eveninig. Wilzcynski pushed the first place Bulgarian athlete all the way to the line and completed the course in a time of 7:23.41.

Ryan Edwards and Matthew Dignan booked their place in the A Final of the Men's Pair after they finished second in their semi final. Their time of 7:01.37 was enough to hold off all other boats apart from Greece who won by a boat length.

Nicholas Barnier and Sasha Belonogoff firmed as one of the crews to watch not only at these championships, but also in future years in senior rowing. The Men's Double Scull won their semi final in a time of 6:37.95 a clear second ahead of the Lithuanian crew and will now take a middle lane in the final. They paced the race to perfection and despite not hitting the lead until the closing stages of the race looked in control at all times.

The Men's Four of David Watts, Elliot Bannan, Christian Eyres and Harley Mooney also won their semi final in convincing fashion. Three crews broke away in middle of the race and Australia went on to lead home Germany and Great Britain in a time of 6:19.31 to also secure a preferential middle lane for the final on Saturday night.

The Men's Quad Scull of Thomas Cox, Jonathan Trovas, Christopher Anderson and Scott Laidler and the Women's Double Scull of Maddie Edmunds and Anna Kaszycki both narrowly missed out on the A Final after finishing fourth in their respective semi finals. They will both race in the B Finals tonight.

Australian crews' results and photos.

Friday 25 July

2008 World Rowing Senior & Junior Championships: day three race reports

It was a great day for Australia's junior crews as all participants moved through to the next stage of the competition, either the semi final or the A Final.

Rachel See, Beatrix Sheldrick, Ashliegh Peppernel and Olivia Heath moved straight to the A Final after coming second in their repechage of the Women's Four. They crossed the line in a time of 7:07.16 and finished behind Germany.

Alexandra Hagan then led a number of Australian crews to victories after winning her repechage in the Women's Single Scull. Hagan led for the entire race and won by a considerable 10 seconds in a time of 8:05.76 to move into the semi final.

Taylor Wilzcynski followed suit with another outstanding performace in the Men's Single Scull. He came out of the blocks quickly to establish a two second lead through the first quarter of the race before extending this margin over the course of the race to win by two and a half boat lengths in a time of 7:20.89.

Ryan Edwards and Matthew Dignan won their quarter final of the Men's Pair but were pushed all the way by a very competitive German crew. With three crews progressing to the semi final, Edwards and Dignan still wanted to gain a confidence boost and crossed first in a time of 6:55.48.

Nicholas Barnier and Sasha Belonogoff came out of the fingers slowly and sat in third place in their quarter final of the Men's Double Scull through 500 metres. The boys then kicked into action and had moved into second place at the halfway point before racing home to win by a boat length in a time of 6:32.09.

Thomas Cox, Jonathan Trovas, Christopher Anderson and Scott Laidler safely progressed through to the semi finals of the Men's Quad Scull after finishing second in their repechage. They completed the course in a time of 6:09.90 to be pipped by Latvia by half a second.

Australian crews' results and photos.

Thursday 24 July

2008 World Rowing Senior & Junior Championships: day two race reports

The Australian Junior Women's Four finished third in their heat on Wednesday at the World Junior Championships in Linz, Austria. Beatrix Sheldrick, Ashleigh Peppernell, Olivia Heath and Rachel See rowed well and finished in a time of 7:05.63 but could not match the pace of Italy and Great Britain.

Alex Hagan finished second in her heat of the Women's Single Scull after finishing in a time of 7:57.18. Hagan sat behind the German rower for the 2000m course and will move into the repechages with confidence.

Taylor Wilzcynski comfortably progressed to the quarter finals of the Men's Single Scull after finishing second in his heat. With three rowers moving through to the next stage, Wilzcynski was never in trouble as he finished in a time of 7:20.89.

Matt Dignan and Ryan Edwards also recorded a second-place finish in their heat of the Men's Pair. Dignan and Edwards led through the first 500 metres of the race but then sat in behind Germany and completed the race in a time of 7:02.28. They now move to the quarter finals.

Maddie Edmunds and Anna Kaszycki joined the procession of Australian crews into second place after a terrific battle with the Austrian crew in their heat of the Women's Double Scull. The two crews swapped the lead before Austria won by less than a second with the Australians in second with a time of 7:25.56.

Nick Barnier and Sasha Belonogoff were the standout performers of the day as they tore apart the field in their heat of the Men's Double Scull. They won by over 11 seconds in a splendid display of rowing to cross the line in a time of 6:37.92.

This performance was replicated by the Men's Four crew as they won their heat in a time of 6:22.39 to move straight through to the semi finals. Elliot Bannan, Christian Eyres, Harley Mooney and David Watts led for the whole race and can now look forward to their next race.

In the Senior World Championships the Men's Lightweight Eight missed out on qualifying for the final and will have to settle for a place in the B Final later in the week. They sat in second position with only 500 metres left to go but were overtaken by Canada and tipped into third place.

Australian crews' results and photos.

Wednesday 23 July

2008 World Rowing Senior & Junior Championships: day one race reports

Fergus Pragnell and Nick Baxter started their World Championships in the best possible fashion by winning their heat of the Men's Coxed Pair in Linz, Austria.

Pragnell and Baxter had a steady start to their race and sat in third position through the first 500 metres before progressing up to 2nd place at the halfway mark. They showed their class in the second 1000 metres however and won in a time of 7:03.73, almost a full two seconds clear of Croatia in second place. Serbia rounded out the top three and all these crews will progress to the semi finals later in the week.

Australia's Lightweight Men's Eight took to the water next and were in a very difficult heat. Germany flew out of the blocks and led after the first 500 metres from the United States, with Australia trailing in 5th place. The United States then kicked into gear and raced away from the field to eventually win by seven seconds. Australia remained in fifth position for the duration of the race and will now move through to the repechage.

The Lightweight Women's Quad Scull began in the best possible fashion by winning their heat. Bronwen Watson, Miranda Bennett, Alice McNamara and Ingrid Fenger were in second position after the first 500 metres of the race but came through the field in the middle stages to win in a time of 6:37.80 ahead of the USA and Germany. Australia progress directly to the final.

The Junior Men's Quad Scull got their first international race out of the way with a solid third place in their heat. Thomas Cox, Jonathan Trovas, Chris Anderson and Scott Laidler stayed in third position for the entire race and will now race the repechages after finishing behind Italy and Switzerland.

Australian crews' results and photos.

Tuesday 22 July

2008 Youth Cup Rowing Regatta: U/19 RQ Development Regatta

As part of the 2008 Youth Cup Regatta Program Rowing Queensland has committed to providing an opportunity for U/19 rowers throughout Australia to compete in conjunction with their interstate youth peers — the U/19 RQ Development Regatta.

The U/19 RQ Development Regatta has been designed to run in parallel with the 2008 Youth Cup at Lake Kawana from 6-7 September 2008.

Attached is the proposed program of events (pdf, 64kb) which incorporates the Youth Cup Events and the U/19 Events into the Schedule Event information:

· Age - Aged 18 Years or under as at 31st December 2008
· Seat fees - $8
· Rowing Queensland composite rules apply (Rule 3.8)
. Youth Cup events will be afforded priority over U/19 RQ Development Regatta events
. Entries for this regatta will be made through ROMS

This is a great racing opportunity for aspiring junior athletes who may well be representing their States in the years to come at future Youth Cups.

Please contact Adi Pollock, Operation and Events Manager at Rowing Queensland on 07 3846 2711 or to confirm your interest in this regatta and seek further information about either the 2008 Youth Cup or the U/19 RQ Development Regatta.

Monday 21 July

Cottam shines for Australia on finals day

Tasmanian Carly Cottam won gold for Australia on the final day of the Under 23 World Rowing Championships in Brandenburg, Germany.

The diminutive sculler had shown impressive form all week in the Women’s Lightweight Single Scull and won the final in a time of 8:03.12. The win will be a massive confidence boost for Cottam who can now concentrate on senior team selection in 2009.

Emily Rose and Libby Alderman won the silver medal in the final of the Women’s Pair after a strong showing against pre–race favourites, Romania. Alderman and Rose led through the 1500 metre mark of the race but could not hold off the Romanian charge on the line to finish just over two seconds behind in a time of 7:21.66.

Australia’s Women’s Quad Scull won the third medal of the day after finishing in third place. Lisa Szatsznajder, Emma McCarthy, Laura Osti and Kim Brown led through the halfway point in the race but were overtaken by Romania and Germany over the last 750 metres and completed the race in a time of 6:54.47.

The Men’s Four of Bryn Coudraye, Rhys Grant, Cameron Brewer and Ned Kinnear finished in fourth place in the final after being edged out of a medal position by Croatia by four tenths of a second, while both the Women’s Four and Men’s Quad Scull crews finished fifth in their respective finals.

The Men’s Eight made up for missing the A Final by winning the B Final in fine fashion in a time of 5.59.59, while the Women’s Lightweight Double Scull of Maja Fiddler and Jacky Peile claimed second place in their B Final. James Gatti and Kieren Kobelke were unable to put together their best race and finished sixth in the B Final of the Men’s Double Scull.

Germany was the standout performer at the regatta and walked away with five gold medals.

Australian crews' results.

Tuesday 22 July

2008 World Rowing Senior & Junior Championships: preview of Australia crews

The 2008 World Rowing Championships will begin tonight alongside the World Junior Championships in Linz, Austria.

In the Olympic year the entries for the World Championships are a lot fewer, with none of the 14 boats classes present at the Olympics being offered.

Australia has sent four crews to compete at the World Championships; while a further 8 junior crews will compete at the event.

Australia will enter the Women’s Lightweight Quad Scull as one of the favourites and attempting to retain the title they won last year. Miranda Bennett, Bronwen Watson and Alice McNamara have all held their places in the World Championship crew from last year and will be joined by Tasmanian Ingrid Fenger. Great Britain and Germany are expected to also challenge for the gold medal.

Australia will field a strong crew in the Men’s Lightweight Eight as they aim to continue their strong form in this event at the international level. Five different states will be represented in the boat and the crew has gelled well over the last two months in training. The main crews that will challenge for medals will be from Netherlands, Germany and Italy, while the Australian’s are being watched very carefully.

Nick Baxter and Fergus Pragnell will be coxed in the Men’s Coxed Pair by Hugh Rawlinson. They will face a difficult field that includes the Italian world champions. Andrea Caianiello and Armando Dell’Aquila won the Under 23 World Championships last week for the second successive year and will be looking to repeat the feat in Austria.

Max Sondermeyer will row in the Men’s Lightweight Single Scull after what was a strong showing on the domestic calendar this year. Poland, New Zealand and the Netherlands will be expected to vie for the gold medal this year.

Only one junior crew will begin their campaign tonight, with the Men’s Quad Scull due to race just before nine o’clock Australian time. Tom Cox, Scott Laidler, Chris Anderson and Jon Trovas form an all Queensland crew and will be raring to go tonight.

Australia’s other seven junior crews will begin racing on Wednesday evening.

Australian crews' results.

Sunday 20 July

Under 23 World Rowing Championships: day 3 report

Six Australian crews have qualified for the A Final at the Under 23 World Rowing Championships in Brandenburg, Germany after another exciting night of racing.

Carly Cottam was in sparkling form as she won her semi final of the Women’s Lightweight Single Scull to snare a middle lane in the final on Sunday. Cottam led from start to finish in her race to cross the line in a time of 9:02.55.

The Men’s Four crew of Bryn Coudraye, Ned Kinnear, Cameron Brewer and Rhys Grant also booked their place in the main final after finishing second behind Germany. The Australian crew were not able to hold onto the Germans over the closing stages and finished one and a half seconds behind the hosts in a time of 6:42.00.

The Men’s Quad Scull of Tom Swann, Jarred Bidwell, Blair Brown and Matt Bolt finished third in their semi final which was also enough to move them through to the next stage of racing. Their time of 6:29.01 saw them cross the line behind Germany and Ukraine.

The other three crews to feature in the A Final tonight will be the Women’s Four, Women’s Pair and Women’s Quad Scull, with all these crews having secured qualification earlier in the regatta.

The Men’s Eight finished fourth in their semi final to narrowly miss out on making the A Final. They led through the first 500m but were unable to hold their position over the closing stages of the race. The Women’s Lightweight Double Scull also finished in fourth place to move through to the B Final, and they will be joined by the Men’s Double Scull.

The Men’s Lightweight Quad Scull came second in their B Final on Saturday evening to finish their regatta in a positive manner, while the Women’s Double Scull of Renee Kirby and Charlotte Walters won the C Final in a time of 8:15.22.

Finals will begin tonight at 9.30am German time.

See Australian results and full results.

Friday 18 July

Australia show strength in numbers

Australia’s crews have had a strong start on the first day of the Under 23 World Rowing Championships in Brandenburg, Germany.

The Women’s Pair of Libby Alderman and Emily Rose progressed straight to the final after an exceptional row in their heat. Their boat was in superb condition after boatman Urs Graf worked overtime to fix damage from a collision with a Romanian boat the previous day.
The girls led from start to finish winning their heat in a time of 7:37.16, and they can now focus on their race plan for Sunday.

Carly Cottam was another outstanding performer, with the plucky Tasmanian leading from the blocks to win her heat of the Women’s Lightweight Single Scull in a time of 8:26.16 and by over eight seconds. Cottam will now enter the semi finals with a middle lane draw.

The Men’s Four crew of Bryn Coudraye, Ned Kinnear, Cameron Brewer and Rhys Grant went bow ball to bow ball with the Italians all the way down the course to be pipped on the line by only four hundredths of a second. They crossed the line in a time of 6:25.43 and progressed safely to the semi final.

The Women’s Lightweight Double Scull of Maya Fiddler and Jacky Peile also moved smoothly to the semi final after grabbing second place in their heat in a time of 7:51.60.

Other crews to make it through to the semi finals included the Men’s Eight and Men’s Quad Scull, who both finished third in their very strong heats. They were never in danger of missing out on a berth in the semi finals, however, and will have a day to go over their race plans before combating the semi finals on Saturday.

Four Australian crews will be required to row in repechages to progress further in the regatta, with the Women’s Four, Men’s Lightweight Quad Scull and Women’s and Men’s Double Sculls all due to race again on Friday evening.

See Australian results and full results.

Thursday 17 July

World Rowing Under 23 Championships: preview of Australian crews

The U23 World Rowing Championships get underway tonight as Australia’s 11 crews battle it out against the best Under 23 rowers from across the globe in Brandenburg, Germany.

Over 700 rowers will converge on the German course in a regatta that will feature many future Olympians.

All of Australia’s crews will begin their campaigns on Thursday night Australian time as racing gets underway at 5.30pm AEST.

Australia will be led by a number of crews who gained valuable experience out of last year’s World Championships. A number of the Men’s Eight crew will make their second appearance after walking away with the Bronze medal last year. Coached by the experienced Bill Tait, expect this crew to be in the reckoning on the final day.

The Men’s Four has been guided well by West Australian Jason Lane with Bryn Coudraye, Ned Kinnear, Cameron Brewer and Rhys Grant looking to overcome a couple of hiccups they have experienced during their preparations.

Jared Bidwell starred during the Australian Rowing Championships this year and will stroke the very experienced Men’s Quad Scull. Although Bidwell is featuring on his first Australian team he will combine well with Tom Swann, Blair Brown and Matt Bolt as they push for a medal.

The very experienced James Gatti, who has represented Australia at senior level, will lead the Men’s Double Scull to the start line with Kieren Kobelke sitting behind him in bow seat. Tom Bertrand meanwhile was a late replacement for Harry Bryan in the Men’s Lightweight Quad Scull and the crew will need to adapt to this change.

Libby Alderman and Emily Rose will look to overcome an accident on the day before the start of the regatta when they had a collision with the Romanian Men’s Double Scull boat which has forced boatman Urs Graf to work overtime in repairing the damage. The very talented West Australian pair will be one of the favoured crews heading into the heats this evening.

Sascha Lahey will stroke the Women’s Four a year after she helped them medal in the same event, while Lisa Szatsznajder and Emma McCarthy also return to the Women’s Quad Scull after both appearing in the event last year.

Charlotte Walters and Renee Kirby will race in the Women’s Double Scull, while Maja Fiddler and Jacky Peile will race in the very difficult Women’s Lightweight Double Scull. Light framed Carly Cottam, despite giving away a couple of kilograms to most of her opponents, will always give 100 per cent as she combats the other competitors in the Women’s Lightweight Double Scull.

A race report on Thursday action will be available on Friday morning on the Rowing Australia website. For live racing please visit

Download the race schedule (pdf).

Thursday 17 July

17-20 July
Check here for Australian crews' results and racing reports. See for all results.

Tuesday 15 July

Tickets to the Beijing 2008 Olympic & Paralympic Rowing Farewell Now on Sale

Please see the invitation (pdf, 96kb) for details. Numbers are limited so ensure you contact Matthew Treglown, 02 6256 5999, at Rowing Australia quickly.

Tuesday 15 July

Passing of an Olympian

Rowing Australia would like to pass on its condolences to the family of Peter Dickson, who passed away on Friday 27 June 2008. Peter represented Australia at the Olympics in Mexico in 1968 and was 5 seat of the Men’s Eight that won the silver medal.

Peter was honoured by an Olympic Flag that was presented to his family by Alan Grover.

Friday 11 July

We're firing on all eight — James Tomkins article in the The Herald Sun

Friday 11 June

Olympic legend James Tomkins says when the Australian eight combines, its teamwork is sufficient to carry the nation.

If you are not involved in the sport, the eight is rowing.

The sculling events appeal to the purists and the pairs and fours to the specialists, but the eights is the V8 Supercars equivalent that punters love.

It represents Australia — everyone working together, having a crack.

It has the grunt, the speed and races in what is widely regarded as the blue-riband event of the Olympic regatta.

I've rowed in all disciplines, but it is the synergy possible when your eights crew combines that makes it special.

When an eight clicks, the boat runs like a Rolls Royce.

But get it wrong and it can be like an old beat-up Datsun.

From the outside it looks as if power is the key, but that's not a patch on teamwork.

And now, for nine blokes thrown together on little more than a selection whim five months ago, we are officially tight.

We have lived in each other's pockets. We have been to camps and travelled to Europe — so let me introduce you to the blokes with whom I am about to go to Olympic war.

1. DANGARS: In the bow seat is Dave Dennis, AKA "Dangars". He is your stereotypical engineer - very cluey, but in a way that is not always obvious because of his absent mindedness.

As most engineers have done at some point, he wears Asian-style cloth slippers, hippie pants and an array of beanies. He is also one of the best racers around, he loves it.

Some guys, like myself, are nervous and anxious before racing, but not Dangars. He is ready to take on anyone or anything -- and that's great for the rest of us.

2. SPOCK: In the two seat is Sam Loch. He doesn't have your typical rower's build, but he is stocky and immensely powerful.

He has had to make up for his lack of rowing genes with hard work and determination.

Whatever the exercise, he will always do one more rep, stroke, extra kilometre.

He researches everything to do with exercise and performance . . . and girls.

3. CHAPPO: Here sits James Chapman — our own George Clooney. Always dressed to impress, he is as comfortable in the boardroom as in a trendy cafe. Plenty of man products have been applied to this body -- and plenty of hard work.

He has been on the fringe of making the Aussie crew over the years, so he has totally applied himself to this campaign and is now one of the main players in the boat.

4. T-BONE: Tall, dark and handsome, Tom "T-Bone" Laurich, the wannabe comedian of the crew. Sadly, the only way we know he has cracked a joke is when he laughs.

His position is one that requires power and rhythm - two things he delivers in spades.

5. DOMES: Jeremy Stevenson, who lives in his own little dome, is the youngest at 21 - and strongest. His power on the water and in the gym is immense and he is still discovering his own abilities and potential output.

He provides IT support for us, along with the latest TV series and movies he has compiled.

6. SHARK: That's me. Amazingly, the boys call me the name I had when I was first in an Aussie eight in the 1980s, but it came about completely independently.

7. SHANKS: Big Sam Conrad, at 205cm, has very, very long shanks. Another young guy at 24, with huge ability and more to come as his body matures.

We rowed together domestically throughout the selection process and I have huge respect for his abilities. He is also a Queenslander, which immediately means he is a "sweet hero legend", at least in the eyes of Maroons fans.

8. STICK: Leading the whole show is Steve Stewart, named after his two twin brothers who are built like rakes. Steve is neither, but he has been rowing since he was three and constantly reminds us of his experience.

He has a flowing rhythm that allows the bigger guys behind to get the most out of themselves. Very cool under pressure and the right man for the job.

COX - RABS: Steering the ship is Marty Rabjohns, a little man with a big mouth and a heart of gold.

He has to put up with all eight of us and our different moods and personalities while still getting his message across effectively.

He is all things, including helmsman, motivator, coach, diffuser and the eyes and ears of the crew on the water. It's a huge role for a little bloke - he has to be 55kg and no more . . . or else.

Tight unit: Rowing veteran James Tomkins (centre) with eight teammates
(clockwise from front left) Sam Loch, Jeremy Stevenson, David Dennis,
Sam Conrad, Tom Laurich, James Chapman, Steve Stewart and Marty Rabjohns.
The crew has forged a strong bond. Picture: COLLEEN PETCH

Friday 11 July

FISA media release:
Austria prepares for 2008 World Rowing Senior & Junior Championships

9 July 2008

More than 950 athletes will take part in the World Rowing Senior and Junior Championships in Linz/Ottensheim, Austria, from Tuesday 22 July to Sunday 27 July 2008. Hailing from 55 countries, the athletes will race in more than 300 boats.

With 2008 being an Olympic year, the World Rowing Championships offers non-Olympic boat classes only and is combined with the World Rowing Junior Championships .

The senior regatta sees nearly 300 athletes competing in eight events. The lightweight men's single sculls has the largest number of entries with 26 contenders. New Zealand's Duncan Grant, World Champion in 2007, and Jaap Schouten of the Netherlands, winner of the 2008 Rowing World Cup series, will both be vying for gold. An experienced field of twenty nations will compete in the lightweight women's single sculls. Based on results recorded this season, Canada's Lindsay Jennerich is likely to be the strongest gold medal contender, with runners-up Sinead Jennings of Ireland and local hope Michaela Taupe-Traer.

The junior regatta has attracted nearly 650 competitors (two-thirds of them boys) in 13 events. Last summer's World Rowing Junior Championships attracted much media attention as the test event for the Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The Chinese dominated the regatta, winning gold in six of the 13 events having never previously won a junior gold medal. Germany came second with a total of three golds. In the absence of China this year, it is Germany's opportunity to prove their standing as one of the best nations in junior rowing; having entered crews in each event, they have a good chance to finish on top of the medals table. Bulgaria is sending reigning junior world champion in the men's single, Aleksandar Aleksandrov, to repeat his Beijing performance, while Romania, well-known for its strength in the women's eight, will once again be aiming for the title. Great Britain, with eleven entries, will try to improve on last year's overall fourth-place ranking.

The Linz/Ottensheim regatta course was built back in 1972 on an arm of the Danube River. Recent renovations and dredging has widened the course to eight lanes, bringing it up to international regatta standard. Last year's Rowing World Cup was the first FISA-sanctioned event held on this course since 1998 and was the test event for this year's World Rowing Championships.

Located in upper Austria, Linz is the third largest city of Austria and the countries' second largest economic centre. Ottensheim itself is one of the most popular recreational areas around Linz and offers numerous outdoor activities such as cycling, skating, hiking and, of course, rowing. Its rich history as one of the most important trade routes to Bohemia as well as several archaeological discoveries dating back 4000 years make this small town an interesting place to visit.

Live scoring, race reports, results and a photo gallery will be available throughout the regatta on

A full list of entries and an updated provisional timetable can be consulted here.

For more information - FISA media officer:
Débora Feutren
Tel: +41 21 617 8373 or direct +41 21 612 0228 Mobile: +41 79 793 5600

Thursday 10 July

National Audit of Adaptive Rowing

Rowing Australia has recently conducted the Adaptive Rowing National Audit, which was developed to ascertain the levels of participation for adaptive rowing in Australia for the period 2007-2008.

To ensure the best possible results, the following target areas were the focus of the audit: the current levels of participation, how adaptive rowers are being sourced, current levels of competitive adaptive rowing available, current funding levels, what programs are available, how the coaches are being sourced and trained, what partnerships have been established between adaptive stakeholders, current levels of knowledge about classification procedures and what equipment is currently available to adaptive rowers in Australia. The audit was split into three target areas to get the full range of programs being conducted for adaptive rowing in Australia.

The three audited target segments were State Rowing Associations, Australian Rowing Clubs and identified Third Tier External non-rowing Sports Organisations.

Audit outcomes report 07-08 (pdf, 304kb)

For information on the National Audit, please contact Matt Bialkowski at Rowing Australia,

Visit the Adaptive section for more news.

Thursday 10 July

Award for Brett Heyman, former cox of the Men’s Eight

Congratulations to Brett Heyman who was awarded Corporate Top Performer Award at the Peter Blackshaw Real Estate Awards Night. More information (pdf, 176kb).

Saturday 5 July

Issue 41 of Australian Rowing News: now available

Contents include:

  • From the CEO
  • Australia books full complement of crews for Beijing
  • Athlete watch
  • Bronzed Aussies complete World Cup tour
  • a.s.p.i.r.e. school network, 2008 Olympic Education Program
  • Media Watch
  • Coaches Tip
  • 2008/2009 Events of Interest
  • Athlete profile

— Click here —

Saturday 5 July

FISA media release:
Record entry for the 2008 World Rowing Under 23 Championships

2 July 2008

Brandenburg an der Havel, Germany, will host 792 young rowers for the 2008 World Rowing Under 23 Championships. This is the highest athlete participation in this event since it acquired World Rowing Championship status in 2005.

The spread of nations is growing every year, with a total of 54 nations competing in 2008, two up on the 52-nation total of 2007. The German team will be sure to satisfy the home crowd with 20 crews, one in every event. The Italians will also bring a large contingent of 18 crews and 51 athletes, and the USA, travelling from further afield, will enter 14 crews.

As is usually the case, the single scull events have the highest number of entries. The men's single features the most with 29, so the top 24 scullers from the heats will progress through the quarterfinal round to the semi-finals and then the finals on Sunday 20 July. The lightweight men's single and lightweight women's single have 24 and 23 entries respectively which will make for exciting racing. The lightweight men's double, one of the more fiercely contested Olympic boat classes, also has a large entry of 22 boats.

Thanks to the support of the Organising Committee and rowing clubs in the region, a number of nations including Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova, will participate in a development programme pre-event training camp and will receive accommodation and equipment support for the regatta.

As the premiere competition for Under 23 or "Senior B" rowers, this regatta was established back in 1976 with the goal of providing a stepping stone to the elite level for young rowers. Initially it was called the Match des Séniors, then became the Nations Cup in 1992 and finally took on full FISA World Championship status in 2005.

The regatta begins with the heats on Thursday 17 July and will run for four days, with the A Finals being raced on Sunday 20 July.

Click here for full entries, start lists and the latest timetable. As usual, will feature full race reports, live audio streaming, live results and a photo gallery during the event.

For more information - FISA media officer:
Débora Feutren
Tel: +41 21 617 8373 or direct +41 21 612 0228 Mobile: +41 79 793 5600

Wednesday 2 July

ABC video Australia fields record Olympic rowing team

View — here —

Wednesday 2 July

World Rowing e-newsletter, June 2008: now available

— Click here — to read.

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