Inaugural Beginners Race to Open 2019 Australian Boat Race

8 October; Liam Petterson

For the first time in a decade, the universities of Melbourne and Sydney will face off in a race between beginners to open the 2019 Australian Boat Race.

In this exciting addition to the rivalry, the Novice Race will see mixed crews of eight first-season rowers compete in the event’s opening race at midday. These students had never rowed before commencing their university studies and have not rowed competitively for more than one season, though they will be led by experienced coxswains.

It is also the first time a mixed race has been included in the ABR race schedule.

The Novice Race is an opportunity for more students to get involved in Australia’s oldest university sporting rivalry.

“It’s a great opportunity to introduce new people to the sport and further strengthen that pathway between university study and rowing,” said Tom Lutwyche, Sport Performance Coordinator at the University of Melbourne.

“Most of these students would never have raced on the Yarra… so this will certainly be different as a head-to-head style race which is a unique part of the Australian Boat Race,” he said.

The race also provides students with the benefits of engaging in competitive sport.

“Rowing is a wonderful sport that provides many university students with the teamwork, fitness, leadership and friendships that become defining features of their life; the event exists to encourage more of the student body to engage with this sport,” said former Olympian Tobias Wehr-Candler from the Sydney University Boat Club.

The novices will race on the same course as the college crews, starting at the Punt Road Bridge and running 1600m to the Melbourne University Boat Club near Princes Bridge.

For more information, and to watch the Australian Boat Race live and free from midday Saturday 12 October, visit:

See the full crews below.

UoM Novice.jpg
USyd Novice.jpg