A very smart dozen rowers and two coxes gathered at Adelaide airport at 4.40am on 26 March, a somewhat more dishevelled party were disgorged at 11.00pm on 2 April. Led by Mr McRae and Nathan Bowden and ably assisted by Tom Beresford they represented St Peters at the largest ever Australian National Rowing Championships in Western Australia on the Champion Lakes. We had been assured, as the boats crossed the Nullarbor, that at least in Perth we would get good weather. We did not. The prevailing wind for the week was a strong cross wind from the west creating a discrepancy across the lanes. There was a morning of heavy rain and we lost an afternoon’s racing to high winds.
Mr McRae’s calm briefing was to build through the week. The crews battled through the early part of the week buffeted in small boats by the weather and cross winds. The boys kept their powder dry. It wasn’t until day five of the competition that we got an indication of what was to come. Racing against three State composite crews, an all SPSC U19 coxless four weaved its way to a bronze medal. That afternoon the crew combined with the WA crew and qualified for U19 VIII final along with an all SPSC crew.
Whilst our composite with WA claimed a silver medal, special mention should go to the all SPSC crew, half Year 11 students, who finished 5th in an unfavoured lane against State composites and the top school 1st VIIIs from around the country – an excellent performance.
And so, we came to the final day of the regatta. The boys had plenty of races in their legs. They had come through sun, wind and rain. The schedule was in turmoil but in the midst of it all was a still small voice of calm from Mr McRae. Every winner of each State’s Head of the River was entered but only six made the final. Four crews went into the final with faster times. Only one crew was in a less favoured lane. As the adrenalin of the start wore off the calm determination of the SPSC crew showed in the second 500m as they started to creep through the field. By 1500m they were challenging the favoured lane seven for second place. An excellent result for the crew to claim a bronze medal against crews that had shown themselves quicker except when it counted most at the end of the week.
There were National titles for old scholars Oscar McGuinness, Jeremy Beale, Kyle Miller and Hugo Wurm to show that successful rowing need not stop at school.
U19 IV (bronze): Tom Edwardes, Hamish Scott-Young, Xavier van Oijen, Albert Howard
U19 VIII composite (silver): Philippe Scalzi, Tom Edwardes, Hamish Scott-Young, Xavier van Oijen, Albert Howard
Schoolboy VIII (bronze): Thomas Whiteman, Hugh Hazell, Hamish Scott-Young, Tom Edwardes, Ryan Fowler, Will Barone, Eddie Hetherington, Xavier van Oijen, Albert Howard
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Head of Rowing