Rowing World Championships

Posted on September 8, 2016

Current Year 12 students Joseph O’Brien and Lachlan Miles, along with Old Boys, Lewis Willoughby (2015) and Marcus Britt (2015), were members of Australia’s Junior Men’s Coxed IV competing at the 2016 World Rowing Championships in Rotterdam in August. The crew is coached by SJC’s Head of Rowing Sarah Cook, a highly accomplished rower who represented Australia at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, World Championships (winning silver and bronze) and World Cup (winning gold and two bronze).

Leading up to the World Championships the crew was based in Varese, Italy for training camp. Lachlan had been suffering a rib injury but managed to recover following the camp, although it came at the cost of some significant time out of the boat. Coach Sarah said the boys remained calm during their final phase of preparation and kept working hard both on and off the water. 

Upon arriving in Rotterdam the coach and crew were greeted by wind rainy and cold temperatures – hardly ideal weather for rowing. Nevertheless, the boys took to the water and achieved some quality sessions, as the reality of where they were and what they were embarking on began to set in. With almost 2500 athletes from more than 70 nations, the event was one of the largest rowing regattas the Word Rowing Federation (FISA) has ever held. 

Despite a strong preparation and lead in, the boys were incredibly nervous prior to their heat, in which they faced the highly fancied Turkish and American crews as well as Ukraine. Sarah described the heat as a nervous, hard and fast row and certainly not one of the crew’s best. They placed third and progressed to the repechage, where they needed to finish in the top two to qualify for the A final.

image1The following day the Australians took to the water for the repechage and just two strokes into the race it was clear they were a different crew from the nervous boys who raced the heat just 24 hours earlier. Displaying composure and confidence, the Aussies had a cracking race, leading most of the way before being pipped on the line by Serbia. It was enough to see them progress to the A final.

As the day of the final dawned, bringing with it more horrific weather, it was clear the conditions on the water were not going to be easy. The Aussie crew performed exceptionally well under pressure and finished in fifth place. Sarah said she has no doubt the boys executed their best race on the day and did everything they could have done. “They walk away with their heads held high,” she said.

Headmaster Mr Ross Tarlinton congratulated the crew and coach on the hard work, grit and determination that led to them representing their country and the College. “The College community is exceptionally proud of these boys’ achievements. They, alongside their coach Sarah Cook, have displayed immense dedication and focus and we heartily congratulate them.”