Sydney hosts historic university rowing match
Several Olympic rowers will take up oars for the University of Sydney and University of Melbourne on Sunday 14 October, marking the 10th year of the historic Australian Boat Race.
Last year marked the first year the Sydney University Boat Club surged to double victory in the 10-year history of the race, winning the women’s and men’s events on Melbourne’s Yarra River.
Crews from the University of Sydney and University of Melbourne will go head-to-head on a 4.3 kilometre stretch of Sydney’s stunning Darling Harbour this October.
This year will mark 10 years of the Australian Boat Race where the historic rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney is put to the test.
The University of Sydney and University of Melbourne women's crews on Sydney Harbour during the 2016 Australian Boat Race.
Based on the famed Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race, the Australian competition is an annual event featuring current and alumni rowers from Australia’s two oldest universities.
Alexander ‘Sasha’ Belonogoff, University of Sydney alumnus and member of the Australian men's quadruple sculls who took silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics, will join the men’s team.
“I always put my hand up for the Australian Boat Race because it’s rowing in its traditional form – a head race between two boats following the course of a natural waterway,” he said.
“The rivalry between Sydney University Boat Club and Melbourne University Boat Club is another reason why I love this event. There’s a lot of pride on the line each time we come head to head. It’s going to be a tough and tight race.”
University of Sydney student Devlin Walsh was part of the Australian Boat Race for the first time last year and said, “It was a great experience not only rowing alongside some Olympians but also your best mates.”
While Sydney has secured seven wins to Melbourne’s two in the men’s eight, Melbourne have dominated in the women’s race, winning eight to Sydney’s one.
The University of Sydney men's eight crew surge to victory in 2016.
A key member in four of those victories for the University of Melbourne was Doctor of Physiotherapy student Jennifer Cleary. Having graduated from a Bachelor of Science in 2015, Cleary went on to compete in the Australian women's quadruple sculls at the 2016 Rio Olympics and is excited to be a part of the Australian Boat Race once again.
“It’s a great event to be a part of that not only showcases the sport of rowing but the talent at each University and two amazing cities,” she said.
The meets began in 1860 and were revived in 2009 as part of a time trial involving both clubs along the Yarra. Following this display, University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence and Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis committed to continuing the annual ‘match race’ between each university’s rowing clubs.
“The 2018 Australian Boat Race marks the next chapter in a 150-year old rivalry between our two great universities, where technique and passion will be put to the test,” said Sydney Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence.
“This is an opportunity to celebrate the rowing traditions and talents of both universities with spectacular views against the backdrop of the global city of Sydney.”