August 2016 News

Above – 2016 Australian Women’s Olympic get the all clear to race

Follow this link for past news

Follow this link for upcoming events.

All news brought to you by your faithful correspondent, Trident.

New date for Annual General Meeting

Published 18th August 2016

Please note that the date and time of the AGM has changed to Saturday 15th October 2016 at noon. The meeting will be at the Clubhouse and luncheon will be served.

Farewell from Rio

Published 15th August 2016

The rowing course has been converted to kayaking and the wind has come up again in Rio. Remind you of Sydney?


Above: The course has been converted


Above: Pilgrimage to Christ the Redeemer has been made


Above: And Sugar Loaf has been visited

It must be time for Trident to sign off.

Sadly Olympic Rowing is over for another four years

Published 14th August 2016


Above: President Rob Scott addresses the family and friends gathering at Copacobana


Above: The party continues


Above: Charlotte Sutherland with her aunty Sally Stewart and grandmother Helen Sutherland

The JDS Olympic Challenge

Published 13th August 2016

Earlier this month we set JDS a challenge – to reverse a situation where he was carried by his mother on her shoulders in 1992.

You may not know this but Josh Dunkley Smith attended his first Olympic Games in 1992. He was a mere toddler and your correspondent first met him at that event.

He was there because his mother Addy was a distinguished sailor and a competitor in sailing at those Games.

1992 OG JDS

Above: Josh on the shoulders of his mother Addy at the Olympic sailing regatta in 1992

Channel 7 may have picked up the story but we have the exclusive Mercantile picture. Addy being carried by Josh after then race.


Above the reversal

Day 8 Olympic Games – Gold to Kim Brennan

Published 13th August 2016


Above: The picture says it all

Kim raced superbly to win from start to finish in a dominating performance. She did not give the other scullers a chance to get near her. It was a great relief to her but also to Australian rowing who so desperately wanted a gold medal.

Australia finished fourth on the medal tally behind Great Britain, Germany and New Zealand with one gold and two silver medals.


Above More of Kim on the podium


Above: John Coates presented the women’s scull medals


Above: Kim approaching the finish


Above: A nervous Max and Sue Crow before the race

Also racing today was Rhys Grant in the B final of the men’s single. He finished off his good regatta with a ninth placing. A great result for a qualifier and it shows how good he really is.


Above: Rhys Grant approaching the finish

The other A finals were the men’s scull and the two eights.

The men’s scull was won by Drysdale of New Zealand by only .005 second. The result took a long time to come out. It was a cracker of a race with the Croatian sculler. There was nothing separating each sculler over the last 250 metres – an amazing race.


Above: the final stages of the men’s single final


Above: Men’s single presentations

The women’s eight was won by the USA in a powerful display.


Above the finish of the women’s eight

The British women’s eight dominated their race from start to finish.


Above: The men’s eight presentation

Day 7 Olympic Games – Silver for Men’s four – Josh Dunkley-Smith

Published 12th August 2016

The big news today was of course the great race by our men’s four which included Club member Josh Dunkley Smith. The British crew were favourites and led the first 500 metres with a very powerful display of rowing. However the Australians kept in touch and used the second 500m to get level with them The third 500 metres was going to be one of the great battle grounds of world rowing. The favourite and very strong British crew against the superb rowing of the Australians. Alas the strength of the British crew showed through and an advantage was taken. The advantage was maintained through to the finish in a great race.


Above: The last few strokes


Above: The presentation


Above: Our Josh after the race

Now back to the day and how it unfolded.

Firstly it was a very wet morning but little wind.


Above: A shot in the stands – Addy Dunkley-Smith

The first race with an Australian was the men’s scull semi-finals in which Rhys Grant of WA was competing. He raced a good race but was no match for Drysdale of New Zealand who won superbly. Rhys has had a great regatta and has proven his international single sculling credentials with such racing at this regatta.  He will race the B final tomorrow.


Above Rhys crossing the finish line

The next race was the semi final of the women’s scull in which Kim Brennan led early before the race tightened up and Kim only narrowly won. We look forward to seeing her race the final tomorrow.


Above: Kim in the final strokes of the race

The next race was the women’s lightweight double scull which was won handsomely by the Dutch.


Above: The presentation of the women’s pair

The French then won the men’s lightweight double.


Above the presentation of the men’s lightweight double


Above: The Irish were quite happy with their placing

The next race was the women’s pair which was won by the British crew is a strong race.


Above: The presentation of the women’s pair

The next race was the men’s four as described above.

Day 6 Olympic Games – Silver for the M4x

Published 11th August 2016

A big day of rowing at the lake today with the women’s eight racing in their repechage, the men’s and women’s doubles competing in their respective B finals and the men’s pair and men’s quad competing in their respective A finals.

The highlight of course was the brilliant row by the men’s quad. The conditions were very tough physically with a cross head but also mentally with the changeable wind and wave conditions. Our crew suffered some adverse wind gusts at critical times of the race where their boat had gained momentum and making up good ground.


Above: The final strokes

But all credit to the Germans who raced superbly by taking a risk early and holding onto their gains.


Above: Presentation of medals

Now going through the day.

The day started for us with the men’s four winning a great semi final race against the strong finishing South Africans and Italians. The four had done their work early and so were able to comfortably finish in front. The winners of the other semi final were the British who looked equally good. It will be a great final tomorrow.


Above: Finish of the men’s four semi-final


Above: Warming down after the row

The next race was the repechage of the women’s eight. Whilst the crew had a short and so poor preparation, they were competitive. We dreamt of them making the final but these dreams were not realised. The crew started off well but the lack of preparation told in the middle stages. Given this back drop and please do not take this comment negatively, their race plan was to go out well and stay in touch in case an error occurred with another crew. The racing was still excellent and they finished within reach of the field. The girls were happy with their row given the late call up and the experience was valuable. Given that the field contains only seven crews, this was the last race for this crew.


Above: Approaching the finish


Above: After the race

The next race was the quad which is described above.


Above: the crew after the race


Above: The medals were presented by club member (and IOC member) James Tomkins

The next race was the Women’s Quad Scull which was won also by Germany.


Above: Presentation of the Women’s Quad Scull medals

The next race was the Men’s Pair won by the favourites New Zealand. The Australians finished in the tail end of the field despite a great heat and semi-final.


Above: the Australian pair after missing out on a medal.


Above: Presentation of men’s pair to New Zealand

The next race was the women’s double won by The Netherlands. The Australian double missed out on the final.


Above: Presentation of the women’s double

The next race was the men’s double which was won the favourites, the Croatians. The Australian crew missed out on the final.


Above: The men’s double presentation

The last medal race for the day was the lightweight four won by the Swiss.


Above: The lightweight four presentation

Australia was represented in the men’s and women’s double scull B finals. The Australian men’s double won their race.


Above: The Australian women’s double scull in the final stages. They were in a close finish but as this picture shows, they suffered a mishap in the final few strokes.

As mentioned above, the men’s double won their B final.


Above: the men’s double winning their B final


Above: The men’s double acknowledging the crowd

Around the regatta course.


Above Jess Morrison


Above Charlotte Sutherland with her grandmother Helen Sutherland and aunt Sally Stewart


Above: Jess Morrison and Fiona Albert


Above: Club member and IOC member James Tomkins

Day 5 Olympic Games

Published 10th August 2016

Greetings from wet and windy Rio. As you know well, there was no rowing today due to the conditions. The forecast for tomorrow is not promising but fingers crossed. If there are further delays, the reprogramming will become challenging. If the rest day is used, then it will complete in an orderly manner. If not, radical solutions will need to be considered.

The big local problem is getting tickets to the rowing. Those without a full set of tickets are missing races as the dates change. Many just purchased tickets for the days in which their family or friends were rowing. Many of those missing races are the families of those rowing. Frantic efforts are underway to resolve the problem.

An Olympic Challenge for JDS

Published 9th August 2016

You may not know this but Josh Dunkley Smith attended his first Olympic Games in 1992. He was a mere toddler and your correspondent first met him at that event.

He was there because his mother Addy was a distinguished sailor and a competitor in sailing at those Games.

1992 OG JDS

Above: Josh on the shoulders of his mother Addy at the Olympic sailing regatta in 1992

So what is the challenge? If JDS wins a medal, we want him to carry his mother on his shoulders to reverse the picture of 24 years ago.

The Grateful Eight

Published 9th August 2016

The name says it all – a group of rowers whose lives have forever changed by being unlikely Olympians. The Russian drug scandal produced an opportunity for the Australian women’s eight, who were the next highest qualified crew, to take the place of the removed Russian eight. They are very grateful for the opportunity of competing at the Olympic Games, the pinnacle achievement of any rower.

Despite a break in training, they have proved their worth with a creditable performance in the heat proving that they are in the mix – they remain a competitive crew. The challenge now is to eliminate one crew in the repechage on Wednesday 10th and make the final. That would be a remarkable achievement and make us also very grateful.

2016 OG W8

Above: The crew and coach


Above: playing up in the village 

Day 4 Olympic Games – More highs and lows

Published 9th August 2016

Day 4 produced both joy and disappointments.

Both our single scullers made it through to the semi finals with Rhys Grant finishing second and Kim Brennan finishing first in her heat. It was a strong race by Kim and she finished in the fastest time. It was also a superb row by Rhys who could possibly make the final, which would be a superb result for him.


Above: Rhys Grant in the final strokes of his race.


Above: Rhys returning after his race


Above: Kim Brennan racing in the quarter finals


Above: Kim Brennan looks across as she crosses the line to see will join her in the semis

The men’s pair race was a sizzler with the Australians leading until the last part of the race. They are a realistic medal winning crew. It is hard to see them beating the New Zealand crew but they are will be in the hunt for a minor medal.


Above: The men’s semi-final finish


Above: The men’s pair acknowledge the crowd

After the successes of these crews, then came the disappointments. Both the men’s and women’s double sculls failed to qualify for their respective finals and so will race in the B finals. We suspect that Sally Kehoe suffered an injury and so was not at her best.


Above: The final part of the women’s double race


Above: The final stroke from the Australians as the victors celebrate

Scenes from the course

Published 9th August 2016


Above: The Redeemer statue with the clouds flowing over the cliff


Above: Despite the grave disappointment of the loss yesterday, Jen Cleary and her parents put on a brave face and support the rest of the team

Day 3 Olympic Games – Wow what a day!

Published 8th August 2016

This was a day of the great highs and the great lows that the Olympic Games can bring. It also brought great satisfaction for the grateful women’s eight, to find out that they were in the mix for a finals spot.

Let us start with the great disappointment that cast a shadow of the day. Our women’s quad including club member Jen Cleary failed to make it through the repechage to the final and were eliminated. This crew had shown promise and were in your correspondent’s books as an outside chance of a medal. This was all dashed tody by a mere 0.06 second.

Our thoughts are with Jen and her crew who were bitterly disappointed.


Above: Last few metres of the women’s quad race.


Above: finish of the women’s quad race

The next race of interest was the women’s eight race. Was our crew going to be good enough to challenge for a finals position? The answer was yes. The crew contained Club members Fiona Albert, Jess Morrison, stroke Charlotte Sutherland and cox Sarah Banting. Whilst they finished last in the heat, they had a good race. Fiona Albert said that they were happy with how it went and were excited about the repechage. Others said that they just need to tidy up a few matters and have a better second 1000m.

What ever way you look at it, it was a good race by them.


Above: The final stages of the women’s eight race


Above: The women’s eight again

The day finished with a superb race by the men’s four who won their heat in a convincing manner. This crew contains Club member Josh Dunkley-Smith. They led from start to finish to stamp their claim on a medal, hopefully gold at the end of the week.


Above: Men’s four showing their dominance over the Germans


Above: Approaching the finish

Around the traps at the rowing we spotted the following.


Above: the Charlotte Sutherland fan club including her grandmother and aunt


Above Fiona Albert, her parents and brother


Above Katrina Bateman

Final day Royal Canadian Henley Regatta

Published 7th August 2016

Alas the good times did not continue for our lightweights in Canada. They finished sixth in the lightweight eights on the final day of the regatta.

This was a great endeavour by these rowers to get racing experience during winter and help lift the standard of lightweight rowing at Mercs. Well done lighties. More detail below.

Day 2 Olympic Games

Published 7th August 2016

Day 2 racing was cancelled after a number of delays. FISA and the Organising Committee are now trying to work out how to consolidate the program. If the conditions improve tomorrow, expect a large number of races.

Drew Ginn tells a story of him looking around the lake and seeing quite a number of rowing clubs. This was pleasing to see that the sport was so well supported at this venue. He also noticed that they had rowing tanks and also large tub boats. These last two items tell the story of the lake. You need large boats to row in with these conditions and sometime a rowing tank is a good alternative to a row in rough conditions.

Whilst the Olympic Regatta is the pinnacle of our sport, the Olympic rowing course does not correspond to the best rowing course. In the end we are an outdoor sport.

There are some pictures and videos of the racing on day one which may unfortunately be the most memorable of the regatta. The organising committee may well have to work on the buoying system also as it was far from straight in the wind.

Since there was no racing, some pictures of the course and some of our supporters.


Above: the course in the morning sun


Above: the idle umpires boats


Above: the patient Australian spectators watching videos of day 1 and showing off their shirts “The Oar of the Four”


Above: the Dunkley Smiths


Above: more of the great backdrop to this lake

Day 1 Olympic Games

Published 6th August 2016

The first day of racing of the regatta was run in difficult conditions. There was a strong cross tail wind with white caps. A men’s pair from Serbia capsized, ship wrecks were every where and Kim Brennan was in survival mode.

However there was good racing to be seen and admired. Pictured below is a scene from this most scenic of courses.


The pictures below are from the calm part of the course at the finish.


Above Rhys Grant at the finish of his race.

Rhys Grant finished second in his heat and so goes straight into the quarter-final.


Above: Kim Brennan in final stages

Kim finished third in her heat and so progresses to the quarter final,


Above: Men’s pair acknowledge the Australian supporters

The men’s pair won their heat and so progressed to the semi-final.


Above: Women’s double in action

The women’s double finished second in their heat and so progress to the semi-final.


Above: the Men’s double

The men’s double finished third in their heat and progress to the semi final.


Above: Men’s quad win a tight finish

The men’s quad progress to the final.


Above: Jen Cleary in the three seat of the quad

The women’s quad finished second and so progresses to the repechage.

Day 2 will be a quiet day for Australia. The men’s four will front up for their heat.

Mercs Under 23 lightweights win at Canadian Henley

Published 6th August 2016

The under 23 lightweight four matched their eight partners by winning their final at the 2016 Royal Canadian Henley regatta.  Their next race is in the eight.


Above: Under 23 four with coach Tom Swann.

Go lighties and go Mercs.

Mercs Lighties win lightweight senior four at Royal Canadian Henley

Published 5th August 2016



Mercs under 23 lightweight four will race in the final today, 5pm Canadian time. They won their heat yesterday.

The two fours raced in a sprint eight on Saturday afternoon and finished second, 0.21 second behind the winner. They will race the lightweight eight tomorrow.

Simon Newcomb has park named in his honour

Published 6th August 2016

As mentioned in previous missives, past Captain Simon Newcomb has had a park named in his honour this week. Well done Simon on your continuing great work for rowing.

Satellite Article 3rd Aug 2016

Women’s eight leaves for Rio in style

Published 5th August 2016

IMG_3723 [171738]

Mercantile’s Famous Olympic Spectacular

Published 4th August 2016


For those not able to go to the Olympic Games, the next best thing is joining with other club members and friends at the clubhouse and watch them on the big screen. Ever since the Barcelona Olympic Games back in 1992, the Club has been the place to be during the Games.

So come down to the Club to watch the Olympic finals live in the famous Mercantile fashion. Wednesday 10th through to Saturday 13th August 8pm until late.
10/08/2016 Olympic Games M4x and W4x finals – Jenny Cleary in W4x
11/08/2016 Olympic Games M2, M2x, W2x and ML4 finals
12/08/2016 Olympic Games ML2x, WL2x, W2 and M4 finals – Josh Dunkley Smith in M4
13/08/2016 Olympic Games M1x, W1x, M8 and W8 finals – Jess Morrison, Sarah Banting, Charlotte Sutherland and Fiona Albert in W8.

Drinks at bar prices and complimentary finger food.

Members, family and friends all welcome, $5 cover charge.

Be there. Go Aussies.

Australian Women’s Eight

Updated 4th August 2016

The Australian Olympic Committee has endorsed the Australian Women’s Eight and it included Katrina Bateman as a reserve in addition to our four other members in the crew. Also, an appeal by the Russian Olympic Federation has been dismissed so all is clear. The crew, coach and spares are as follows:

o   Charlotte Sutherland

o   Meaghan Volker

o   Fiona Albert

o   Lucy Stephan

o   Molly Goodman

o   Jessica Morrison

o   Olympia Aldersey

o   Alexandra Hagan

o   Sarah Banting (coxswain)

Reserves (travelling):

o   Georgina Gotch

o   Katrina Bateman


o   Mark Fangen-Hall

Mercantile at the Olympic Games

Republished 1st August 2016


Mercantile and Victoria have always been great contributors to Australian rowing teams. This year is no exception. David “Chipper” Colvin provides the following figures. Of a team of 29 athletes, Mercantile are providing 6 members (Cleary, Dunkley Smith, Banting, Sutherland, Albert and Morrison) and MUBC 5 (Brennan, Fosterling, Lockwood, Booth and Stephan).  More than one third of the team come from the Yarra bank – 11 out of 29.

Club representation in the Olympic team is as follows:

Mercantile – 6 members

MUBC – 5 members

Sydney RC – 3 members

SUBC – 3 members

Well done Mercs and thank you Chipper for the analysis.

Australian Women’s Eight to go to the Olympic Games

Republished 1st August 2016

Great news. Australia has qualified an eight for the Olympic Games and that eight contains four Mercantile members, cox Sarah Banting, Fiona Albert, Charlotte Sutherland and Jess Morrison.


Above: Women’s Eight: Sarah Banting, Georgina Gotch, Megan Volker, Charlotte Sutherland, Alex Hagan, Jessica Morrison, Fiona Albert, Molly Goodman and Lucy Stephan ~ Picture: Tim Carrafa, Herald Sun

It has all occurred so suddenly. Whilst the Russian drug scandal unfolded, it became apparent that the Russian rowers may be subject to sanctions. The crew began to get together on Friday 23rd July and started rowing on Saturday 24th. (See article below published on 22nd July).

By Tuesday night, confirmation came through that FISA had removed a large number of Russian athletes under the new IOC entry guidelines. The Australians had been given the position vacated by the Russians.

They have been able to get flights for 5th August which will get them in Rio with three days to spare before racing. A Filippi eight with Croker oars have been sourced for them and accommodation in the Olympic Village provided. Rowing Australia and the AOC have done an amazing job getting this altogether in this time frame. They will fly back with the rest of the team on the chartered AOC flights.

Fiona Albert says that she is”thrilled to be given the opportunity to race at the highest level in rowing. It is special to be able to do so.” She added that this was “great for the development of this category. The knowledge, leadership and experience that these girls will bring back to the sport in Australia will be invaluable.” She noted that she is the second oldest at 25 years old with the oldest only one month older. Further only one girl in the crew has Olympic experience, Alex Hagan.

It is clear that this crew will provide a sound base for women’s rowing for Australia.

Let us back track to see how this arose. Australia tried to qualify a women’s eight at the 2015 World Championships finishing eighth and also at the qualification regatta in Lucerne in 2016 finishing third. In both cases the crew missed qualification finishing as the eighth crew with seven crews qualifying. 

Then the Russian drug scandal arose. The international athletics federation banned the Russian athletics team. WADA uncovered State sponsored drug testing violations and the IOC acted to protect clean athletes and set strict entry guidelines for Russian athletes. The FISA Executive Committee, due to the manipulation of the Moscow Laboratory tests, has determined to their comfortable satisfaction that only six entered Russian rowers have met the criteria of having been tested reliably and adequately in international tests.

The effect of this decision was that Russia had six remaining eligible rowers – one lightweight and five open weight men – for competition in Rio 2016.
Therefore, four Russian boats (LM4-, LW2x, M8+ and W8+) were withdrawn from participation in the Games and were attributed to the next placing crews at the 2016 Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland, as follows:

LM4- to Greece, the Hellenic Rowing Federation
M8+ to the Italian Rowing Federation
W8+ to the Australian Rowing Federation

And in the 2016 European Continental Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland, LW2x to the Italian Rowing Federation.

This is a remarkable situation.

Mercantile Lighties now racing

Published 1st August 2016

Best wishes to our lightweight men race this weekend in Canada at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta from 2-7th August 2016. They will race in the open lightweight eight, open lightweight eight sprint, open lightweight four and under 23 lightweight four. Good racing guys.

The racing can be followed with live results and live video. Go to the regatta website to find out how.


The crew comprises:

Cch: Tom Swann
Cox: Alexis Hancock
Str: Jackson Harrison (MUBC)
7: Conor Grace
6: Carl Tomczak
5: Jack Kelly (Banks)
4: Jayden Grey
3: Will Legge
2: Michael McNamara
Bow: Josh Bell

Member Profiles

Republished 1st August 2016

Olympians v3

The number of member profiles has now well exceeded 100. The first 100 down the next 1,000 to go. We wish to record profiles of all current and past members so please submit others to Subject to editorial review, they will be published with the author’s name and date.


Mercantile Members Help Olympic Broadcasts

Republished 1st August 2016

Word has it that Club member Drew Ginn with be the expert rowing and kayak commentator for Channel 7 at the Olympic Games. Well done Drew. Also heard on the grape vine was that Club member David Crawshay will be assisting the Fox Sports rowing broadcasts. Well done David. As we know, both Drew and David are Olympic Champions.

Let us hope that the broadcast conditions have improved since 1992 when Andrew Guerin did expert commentary for Peter Landy under an umbrella in the grand stand.

1992 Ch 7 commentary Box

From the Archives

Published 1st August 2016

This month we feature Arthur Atkins who turns 99 years old on 5th August 2016. Arthur is our oldest and longest continuous member, he joined in the mid thirties. Happy birthday Arthur.

When your correspondent visited him recently, he was finishing off the cladding his car port and undertaking maintenance on one of his two cars. We look forward to his 100th in a years time.

1937 M4 v3

Above: Arthur in the two seat of his winning maiden four in 1937


Above: Arthur still showing he can inflict damage to a bottle in April 2016

Thursday Masters Nights

Republished 1st August 2016

Reminder that all masters rowers are welcome for a row on Thursday nights followed by a sausage sizzle and refreshments. Row at 6pm and sausage sizzle at 7.30pm. All welcome. Please call Andrew Guerin on 0417 554799 to get put on the weekly email.


Thursday nights after the row

Saturday Morning Breakfasts

Republished 1st August 2016

The breakfast Mums are always looking for new people to assist them on a Saturday. Any volunteers would be most welcome and should call Jenny Fraumano on 0438 324307.


 Mercantile Mums at work


Above: Breakfast on 4th June

Updated Events

Updated 1st August 2016

Please go to the Events tab for details on forthcoming events.

Past news can be found through this link.