Melbourne University came vying to walk all over Sydney University again at the Australian Boat Race.
And the rowers at Sydney University were determined to win back their honour in the Oxford-Cambridge-style boat race.
But today honours were split evenly between the University of Sydney and University of Melbourne.
The women’s eight crew from Melbourne won the Bella Guerin Trophy and the men’s eight crew from Sydney winning the Edmund Barton Trophy.
The Sydney men’s crew took the lead early and cox Will Raven successfully navigated the tough harbour conditions to beat the University of Melbourne titleholders by less than ten seconds.
Sasha Belonogoff, Sydney University men’s captain and 2014 World Championships bronze medallist, says all four crews got an honest taste of the Harbour.
“The sun was out and it was a beautiful morning, but the conditions were definitely rolley. We knew we had to keep our rhythm and I think efficiency won it for us in the end,” he said.
“This win was a year in the making. The loss last year down in Melbourne really fired us up.”
The women’s eight crew from the University of Melbourne claimed their fifth consecutive Australian Boat Race title, comprehensively out-rowing the University of Sydney on Sydney Harbour this morning.
Lead by captain Jennifer Cleary, the women’s eight got off to a strong start and were never headed as they rowed into Darling Harbour 28 seconds in front of their rivals to claim the Bella Guerin Trophy.
Cleary said the race went according to plan.
“Our plan was to get out in front and stay there, to try and control the race from the star,” she said.
“The conditions were perfect for rowing, it was a pleasant surprise as we expected it to be a bit choppier than what we are used to on the Yarra.
“So it was great to get the win, and we’re very happy with the result, and it’s particularly special to get a win on Sydney’s home turf.”
The race builds on a rivalry established in the early 1900s when the annual intervarsity boat race for eight-oared crews between Australian universities was a major event on the national rowing calendar.
In 2009, to mark the 150th anniversary of the first race between the two old rowing clubs, a time trial was held on the Yarra.
In 2010 the Australian Boat Race became an annual head-to-head feature, with each city hosting biannually.
The crews consist of both graduate and undergraduate rowers, with at least seven members of each crew (nine including coxswain) required to be current students.
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