This year's trans-tasman regatta was held in Melbourne on the Yarra River. Unfortunately the competition from
our Australian counterparts proved too strong this year with Australia running out the winners by 8 to 1.
The following report is the one published in the NZ Rowing magazine, while the second report is the official one from
the Australian regatta organisers.
Crews to represent New Zealand Universities in a test series against Australian Universities were selected from trials held
after racing at the New Zealand University Games at Easter this year. The women’s lightweight quad was selected later on at
trials held in Christchurch on the same weekend as the New Zealand University Lightweight Eight trials. Crew members come from
all over the country making training together a difficult task, but one which any University rower can handle. This year the
crews we were to race all came from Melbourne - the men’s eight from Melbourne Uni, the women’s eight from RMIT (Royal Melbourne
Institute of Technology), and the quad from Melbourne Uni. These crews each won their Open Eights races and Quad races at the
Aussie Uni Games last year, and because of this they were selected as the Australian University Representatives.
The NZU rowers congregated in Christchurch for a training camp before leaving for the test-series as this is where the coaches
were situated - Geoff and Malcolm both coach Christs College, and Kerry coaching Rangi Ruru. The boys were particularly keen
to get training together and they met in Christchurch two weeks prior to us leaving - the quad and women’s 8 had members who
were otherwise committed to other things both crews came together in Christchurch the Monday prior to us leaving. The race was
on for us to firstly get to know each other, then to develop combinations within the boat, sharpen our skills, and to help get
us up to speed. Many of the rowers had come off racing at Super 5, which was a benefit to our crews. At this stage the crews
didn’t have much contact with each other as we were all training at different times and staying with different people. So we
were looking forward to getting to know each other on tour.
Departure day cam around pretty quickly - almost too quickly for some: Manager Hunter Tretheway’s flight from Auckland to Christchurch
was cancelled the evening before we were scheduled to leave; leaving Hunter flying down express style on Friday. He was just lucky
that he wasn’t due at the 5am Friday check-in that half the team had to endure.
Upon our arrival in Melbourne we were met by the Melbourne Men’s coach (and head coach at Melbourne Uni Boating Club), Paul Reedy
and various other Aussie Uni rowers (our competition) who kindly took us to our accommodation: the luxurious Chapel St Backpackers
in the heart of Windsor. Chapel St is a very long street - at one end there are stylish, sophisticated, and affluent looking
shops and people, and at the other end there were the alternative people and shops (this was our end of the street, and I think
we were in the right place). The backpackers provided us with the opportunity to live in cosy close quarters and to get to know
each other and bond with each other. Unfortunately there was not enough room for our entire team to stay at the backpackers.
The lightweight girls moved into an MUBC “safe house” owned by one of the Aussie rowers who just happened to be away trying to
qualify for the Olympics - good deal! So now we were spread out….not to worry we had the public transport system sussed! We
had a tram stop right outside our backpackers and the train station was right there pretty much also. So the following day we
took the train (for the first of the few billion times during our stay) to Melbourne Uni Boating Club, which is situated on the
Yarra in the heart of Melbourne city. First impression: jeepers perhaps the Avon’s not so dirty after all! The water was a lovely
shade of brown. But what an awesome place to row - fantastic water, weather, and scenery. Our first day was spent setting up our
boat - nothing new about that - and going out for a paddle. Each crew had a few niggles with their boats - having been used to the
slick and responsive KIRS boats, (good job Bob, Craig and Team) 400 hours later we were out of there and off to check out the food
situation - this was to become somewhat of an issue as we ended up eating out almost every night.
Wednesday July 12 - Race Number 1
The boys were up first (up against a pretty impressive Aussie crew). The NZ crew got away to a good start, and had a canvas lead
going into the first bridge. But the Aussies fought back and pulled back on the NZ crew on a corner that should of given the Kiwis
a half length lead, the Aussies then also had the advantage of the next corner and pulled out to almost three lengths. With about
700m to go the NZ crew took the rating up and started to make some gains on the Aussie crew, but with the line fast approaching
the Aussies managed to hang on and win by a length and a half.
The women’s eight was next up. The Aussies got an early lead on NZ, but NZ held Aussie on each of the corners and fought back during
the middle thousand of the race. But the Aussies sharpened up their act to push away from NZ through the last bridge at the 400m
mark to win by ¾ length.
The lightweights were next to race (again the Aussie crew was pretty formidable). The Aussies stayed true to the previous 2 races
by getting a good start and staying in front for the entire race. NZ pushed closer at the second bridge, but the Aussies were on
form and pushed away to win by a few lengths.
With the racing being held in the early morning to avoid river boat traffic, the NZ crews had the rest of the day to assess the racing
and work out the plan of attack for the next days racing.
Thursday July 13 - Race Number 2
Men’s race: The start was again in favour of the Kiwis and we took a quick half length lead, but the Aussies had the advantage of the
first corner this time and with this pulled back the deficiet and also took a half length lead. On our corner the Aussies having the
half length lead pushed across into the Kiwis water and stole our advantatge, moving out to almost two lengths. By the 500m mark to
go the Aussies had almost three lengths, coxswain Rachel Goudie took control and wound the crew for home early, the Aussies were
beginning to see there lead fading, but again the line came up too soon and the Aussies won by ¾ of a length.
Women’s eights race: Like the men’s race the start was even for this race. Australia though pushed out around the corner to a lead of
½ length at the 1000m mark and going into the final bridge they had a lead of one length. The kiwis were having none of this and went,
to quote Paul Reedy, “bananas” and were catching the Aussies with every stroke. The Aussies went over the line first - only just
though - winning by 0.4sec! Fantastic race! We almost had them - had there been another 50m of water we would have had them!
Lightweight quad race: The Aussies took a commanding lead from the beginning of this race - but the kiwi girls fought back to hold
the Aussies to a boat length lead at the 1000m mark. The Aussies pushed hard over the last 1000m to win by 2 boat lengths.
Saturday July 15 - Race Number 3 (4km race)
We were down 6-nil in the test series to date and we were out to show the Aussies what we were made of. All three crews were more
determined that ever to beat the Aussies.
The lightweight girls started the racing for race number 3. There was nothing in it over the first 500m, with the Aussies edging
out to ½ a boat length. With every stroke the Aussies began to pull away from the Kiwis, but not as much as they would have liked.
Our girls fought back, but the Aussies got the better of us, winning by 2 lengths (again).
The men’s race was next and these boys were fired up. After the start the Kiwi boys took a half length lead into the first bridge
(there were now 4-5 bridges on the course, plus 3-4 corners). At the second bridge the Aussies knowing the river took a faster line
and on the other side devastated the Kiwis when they came out half a length in front. By the half way stage the Aussies had pulled
out to almost two lengths and because of boat race rules were allowed to take there chosen course and sit right in front of the NZ
crew. This time the NZ crew sitting in the Aussies dirty water were not able to make any further gains and the Aussies won by two
The women’s 8’s race was going to be a close one if the first two races were anything to go by. The start of the race was even, but
the kiwis took a canvas lead into the first bridge and by the half way mark they had extended their lead to 1/2of a length - but the
Morrel St bridge was coming up….both crews wanted the same line through the bridge. Cool thinking and steering by Jaimee Drew meant
that the two crews were locked in a tacking dual for the bridge - with a bit of old fashioned clashing of blades the kiwis pushed
past their rattled counterparts to get their line into the bridge. There was no turning back for the kiwis who were quick to pounce
on a wounded Aussie crew, and they took over a length lead. With every couple of hundred metres the Kiwi crew would take another
length out of the Aussies to cross the finish line a victorious 4 lengths ahead of the Aussies!! Fantastic!
The test series may have been won by the Aussies but the New Zealand University crews can come away feeling very pleased with their
effort. We rowed with a lot of pride and determination and will be even more competitive next year when the test series comes to
But no rowing adventure is complete without some form of social side. The New Zealand Uni crews should be congratulated for immersing
themselves into the Australian culture - with trips to the AFL (Aussie Rules), Colonial Stadium to watch ‘real rugby’, tour around
the MCG, ‘boys tour’ of the Holden factory, shopping down Chapel St, malls galore, and general visitation of local hotels. One of
the highlights of the trip was the Saturday night after racing. All of the rowers ventured to one of the Aussie guys parent’s house
to watch the ‘real’ rugby - AB’s vs Aussie…what a place to watch the rugby! Thank god for Jonahs last minute try.
“Thank yous” must go out to everyone on the tour - fantastic bunch - and to Hunter Tretheway for being our Manager, who never let us
down things to do or see on our time off. And to the coaches who took time away from work and young families thank you whole heartedly.
If your at Uni or starting next year there are great opportunities to further your rowing, don't let those old buggers tell you
it's not serious, it's changed a lot over the past 10 years, a lot of hard rowing, but also a lot of fun and a great way to meet
rowers from all over the country. To be eligible to row for or cox NZU crews you must compete at the NZU Games held at Easter
every year. Every campus has a rowing team and it is the largest sport at the Games. For more information about NZU Rowing or
University Rowing Clubs contact: Glen Sinclair (President, University Rowing New Zealand) Ph: 03 471 8322 or 025 ROWERS, or write
to New Zealand University Rowing, P.O Box 1436, Dunedin.
Official Australian Regatta Report
Day 1: Wednesday July 12, 2000: 2000m Henley Course, Yarra River, Melbourne.
Conditions: clear, cool. no wind, 2C - 7C.
Race 1: Mens Eight
New Zealand with a blistering start are off at 50 and take an early lead over the steadier Australia at 43.
Australia settle into better length and rhythm and by the first mark at Hoddle Street have pushed back to lead by half a length.
New Zealand with the advantage of the bend push back up to Australia so that as the crew straighten under Morell bridge
the margin is down to two seats, with both crews striking 35.
Australia with an aggressive push to the second bend move out to a clear length to effectively cut the kiwis out of the event.
Australia striking 34 to New Zealand's 35 1/2. Australia continue to gradually move away and lead by one and a half length's
at the third mark at Swan Street and almost two lengths at the finish.
Race 2: Womens Eight
After an even start Australia, benefiting from a better change into race rhythm, push through New Zealand to lead by half a
length at Hoddle Street. Again the New Zealanders push back with the benefit of the inside of the bend to be down by only
two seats at Morell Street.
The race continues around Australia's bend and down to Swan Street with the Australian's clinging to the same two seat margin.
Australia looking a bit ragged unable to push clear and New Zealand hanging on tenaciously, unable to push through.
The run to the line is a titanic struggle - New Zealand narrowing the gap slightly and then Australia push away to cross the line
one third of a length up.
Race 3: Womens Lightweight Quad
Australia with clearly superior sculling skills are never challenged after the first one hundred and fifty meter's.
At the first mark the Australians lead by five lengths, and are able to break it down, with the race continuing as a procession.
The margin continues to increase. Official margin - easily.
Day 2: Thursday July 13, 2000: 2000m Henley Course, Yarra River, Melbourne.
Conditions: clear, cool, no wind, 7C - 14C.
Race 1: Mens Eight
New Zealand started with much greater intensity and moved out to an early half-length lead.
Australia settled into good rhythm and pushed back up to level by Hoddle Street. With the inside running around the first
bend Australia powered out to lead at Morell by half a length. The New Zealand crew rating 35 stuck to their task,
but were unable to make any impression on the Australians striking 34. The half-length lead was maintained around the
next bend. The Australian lead stretched slightly to two thirds of a length at Swan Street. The Kiwis lifted to 37 past the
Henley staging, but Australia held form and continued to slide away at 34 to win by a clear length.
Race 2: Womens Eight
After an even start with both crews striking 41, New Zealand settled the better and pushed to an early half-length lead.
The Australian were forced to make an early push to avoid the margin blowing out any further, and fought back to lead
by a seat at Hoddle Street. The Australians continued to surge ahead and led by two thirds of a length when the crews
straightened up under Morell bridge. New Zealand with a winnable race slipping away, went "bananas" and started closing
the gap. The crews were locked seat for seat for the next five hundred meters. A big surge from the Australians maintained
the slender two-seat margin at Swan Street. New Zealand again raised the rate to challenge for the lead along the Henley
staging. In the run to the line Australia held out the charging Kiwis for a hard fought one seat victory.
Race 3: Womens Lightweight Quad
In similar fashion to yesterday's race Australia was always in command, but diligently kept the work the work rate up at 33
for the duration. The four length margin at Hoddle Street blowing out to easily for the rest of the race.
Day 3: Saturday July 15, 2000: 3600m Henley Long Distance Course, Yarra River, Melbourne.
Conditions: clear, cool, no wind, 5C - 12C.
Race 1: Mens Eight
New Zealand led off the start, but Australia with good early endeavor managed to minimise the deficit to one seat.
New Zealand with the advantage of the first bend pushed out to a half-length, but could not make any more ground as the
crews straightened towards Hoddle street. The Australians, biding their time until their bend, slipped into a smooth rhythm
and, under-rating the opposition seemed happy to keep the margin at half a length. When the push came on the bend the
New Zealand crew was unable to hold the Australians back and the deficit quickly turned into a half-length lead at Morell
Street. With their bow in front and confidence growing the Australian's managed to slide a little more in front over the next
eight hundred meters, with the Kiwi's hanging on doggedly. The margin at Swan Street - three quarters of a length.
The Australians raising another powerful push, finally broke the kiwi's and moved out even further so that by the time the
finish was in sight under Princess Bridge the margin had blown out to two and a half length's. The New Zealanders
mounted a late charge and closed a little. The margin at the line a neat two length's.
Race 2: Womens Eight
Both crews got off to an even start. New Zealand with the advantage of the inside on the first bend went out to a third of
a length lead as the crews straightened up to head toward Hoddle street. New Zealand held doggedly onto this advantage
down through Hoddle Street and with a mighty push around the outside on Australia's bend, pushed out further to lead by
half-length at Morell Bridge. The Kiwi's pressing their advantage held a tight line through Morell and the ensuing clash of
blades together with the realisation that the race was rapidly moving out of their grasp, seemed to ruffle the Australians
and the Kiwi's continued to forge ahead. With the race effectively over the Kiwi crew growing in confidence and with
powerful rhythm continued to pull away the margins two lengths at Swan Street and three lengths at Princess Bridge.
The official margin at the footbridge finish line was four and a half lengths.
Race 3: Womens Lightweight Quad
Australia moved powerfully to the front to lead by a length after only two hundred meter's. The lead grew ever greater,
at Hoddle Street the margin was four length's and kept stretching all the way to the finish line. The Australians showed
great sculling skills throughout the race and the margin clearly reflected their superiority.