August 2017 News

Above – Liam Donald and Rob Black celebrate their World Championship – left to right, Adam Bakker, Liam Donald, Harley Moore and Rob Black


Follow this link for past news

Follow this link for upcoming events.

All news brought to you by your faithful correspondent Trident.


News covered below:

  • Australia wins the Rusty Robertson Trophy
  • JDS trains with the Australian team in Canberra
  • Fiona Albert returning from injury
  • Day 2 – Trans Tasman Under 21 series
  • Day 1 – Trans Tasman Under 21 series
  • Second leg of Under 21 series v New Zealand starts this week
  • Reminder AGM 22nd October 2017
  • 2017-18 regatta program published
  • Patrick Boomer makes Irish team
  • News from Ireland
  • Australia wins gold at the juniors
  • Arthur’s 100th birthday party
  • Day 5 World Junior Championships
  • Days 3 & 4 World Junior Championships
  • Day 2 World Junior Championships
  • Day 1 World Junior Championships
  • Arthur Atkins’ 100th birthday party Sun 6th August
  • Sarah’s Super Saturday – JDS in world record attempt
  • First Thursday of the month row goes gourmet
  • Tuesday night ergos
  • New Mercs tie
  • Member Profiles


Australia wins the Rusty Robertson Trophy

Published 27th August 2107


As expected, Australia retained the Rusty Robertson Trophy in the Trans Tasman Under 21 series at Lake Karapiro in New Zealand.


Above: Club Member Alex Clarke shows us the trophy


Rowing Australia reported:

The U21 Australian Rowing Team have retained the Rusty Robertson Trophy after a decisive victory in the second leg of the Trans-Tasman Regatta. The 2017 regatta saw Australia win by 309 points to New Zealand’s 255.

The yearly event sees Australia and New Zealand’s U21 teams battle it out for the prestigious Rusty Robertson Trophy. Robertson, a New Zealander, coached both New Zealand (from 1967-76) and Australia (1979-84) in a prolific career. Robertson’s career saw him achieve many notable results with his crews, including overseeing two New Zealand crews to Olympic gold medals (1968 Men’s Four and 1972 Men’s Eight) as well as coaching Australian crews to multiple World Championships and of course coaching Australia’s Men’s Quadruple Scull to an Olympic silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.

Australia’s performance at this year’s Trans-Tasman Regatta saw the team not only win the first leg of the regatta, held in Penrith, earlier this year, but also winning the second-leg by the end of the opening day of the regatta on Lake Karapiro.

“The Trans-Tasman Regatta is an opportunity for our pathways athletes who are making the transition between the Junior and Under 23 Australian Rowing Teams to further develop their racing skills and keep them engaged with the sport while they’re in between age groups for racing,” said Deputy Performance Director Jaime Fernandez.

“It’s fantastic for our U21 team to have retained the trophy and credit must go not only to the great athletes but also to Head Coach, Jason Lane, Team Mananger, Naomi Wagstaff and their team of coaches David Gely, Joe Tamigi, Brigette Carlile and Ned Draydon. We would also like to thank Rowing New Zealand for their ongoing support of the event and continuing the Trans-Tasman rivalry!”

In delightful conditions, with a slight breeze, Australia took on New Zealand in a variety of singles, doubles, fours, quads and eights racing, which saw Australia win nine out of the 15 finals over the three-day regatta in New Zealand.

The Australian U21 Rowing Team captains, Lily Alton and Alex Clarke, had the honour of being presented with the Rusty Robertson Trophy by World’s Best Time holder in the Men’s Single Scull, New Zealand’s Robbie Manson. Clarke said of his experience in the team this year: “The whole U21 campaign is an excellent opportunity for underage athletes to not only develop skills as individuals, but to also realise the benefits and rewards that the Australian Rowing Team can provide.”

Strong performances came from Australia across the whole regatta with the opening two days seeing a number of victories for the team in green and gold. The U21 Women’s Quadruple Scull of Romola Davenport, Portia Bennett, Siena Zamin and Lily Alton won their final some 9.71 seconds ahead of New Zealand. Meanwhile, their male counterparts of Chase Deitner, Patrick Boere, Charlie Wheatley and Devlin Walsh claimed victory over the New Zealanders in their final by 6.96 seconds.

Zamin and Alton took first and second in the U21 Women’s Single, while Wheatley claimed first in the U21 Men’s Single Scull. While Bennett and Davenport picked up gold in the Lightweight Women’s Double Scull; in the male equivalent there was also gold medals for Boere and Deitner.

In the Lightweight Singles, Celia Cowan finished second in the women’s class, while Mitch Reinhard took the win over his New Zealand counterpart.

In the sweep rowing, the U21 Men’s Four of Kane Grant, Jack Deans, Alex Clarke and Ben Canham won their final in 6 mins 20 seconds, 7.48 seconds ahead of New Zealand. Gabi Morris and Giorgia Patten won the Women’s Pair and were followed over the line by Grace Reid and Lara Wainwright.

The final day of racing saw the two Eights take the water. The morning’s heats saw Australia’s Men’s Eight win their heat, while the Women’s Eight finished second. In the finals that followed, New Zealand snapped up victory in both finals, but the late wins made little difference to the overall result of the regatta, with Australia wrapping up the event with a resounding victory over their New Zealand counterparts.



JDS trains with Australian team in Canberra

Published 27th August 2017


Great to see Josh Dunkley Smith, Josh Booth, Nick Purnell and Will Lockwood in a four training with the Australian team on Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra. These guys have taken the year off to finish university courses and catch up with other important parts of their lives.


Above: The four departs for another session.

Training with the Australian team at this stage of the season would be a big ask for them given the teams state of readiness.



Fiona Albert returning from injury

Published 25th August 2017

After a horror year of injuries and recovery, Fiona Albert is making good progress.



She was ecstatic to be back on the bike, but terrified taking corners.



She thanked fellow Club member Jess Morrison for making sure that she didn’t fall off.





Above: Jess and Fiona


Day 2 – Trans Tasman Under 21 Series

Published 25th August 2017


Our Mercantile members raced well today comfortably winning the men’s four. The crew stroked by Ben Canham with Alex Clarke in the three seat finished 7.5 secs ahead of their New Zealand rivals.


As the Australian quad also easily accounted for their rivals, the men’s eight looks ripe for the taking by the Australians tomorrow.


I have not done the sums but the Rusty Robertson Trophy looks set to return to Australia.


Day 1 – Trans Tasman Under 21 series

Published 24th August 2017


The first of three days racing commenced today at Lake Karapiro in New Zealand with single sculls and pair oared raced.


In the men’s pair, the number one Australian crew is our own Mercantile combination of Ben Canham and Alex Clarke, coached by Brigette Carlisle. In a very close race for all four crews, the New Zealand crew of Angus McFarlane and Ruben Houghton edged out our crew who finished second.


The two pairs from each country will now combine in fours and race at 9.10am local New Zealand time tomorrow. On Sunday, the scullers and sweep rowers then combine in an eight.


It is a great point score series in which every placing counts. The winners take home the Rusty Robertson Trophy. Rusty was a great coach of both Australian and New Zealand crews.

Above: The Rusty Robertson Trophy


Second leg of Under 21 series v New Zealand starts this week

Published 23rd August 2017


After a successful first leg of this series at SIRC last month, the second leg commences this week at Lake Karapiro on Thursday of this week.


Mercantile members in the team are Alex Clarke and Ben Canham in the pair, Alexis Hancock men’s eight cox and Brigette Carlisle men’s coach.


Above: The Australian Under 21 team


Reminder – AGM Sunday 22nd October

Published 23rd August 2017


The 137th Annual General meeting of Mercantile Rowing Club on Sunday 22nd October 2017 at 2pm. The meeting will follow a President’s Luncheon at noon.


Above: President Mal Batten 

2017-18 Regatta Program Published

Published 13th August 2018


Get out the diary and mark in the 2018-19 regatta dates. Full details can be found on the Events tab.


Above: Mercs at the National Championships

Patrick Boomer makes Irish team

Published 17th August 2017


An update from the earlier article, Paddy Boomer has been selected to race for Ireland in the men’s pair at the World Championships at Sarasota Florida.



News from Ireland

Published 13th August 2017


Patrick Boomer sends his best wishes from Ireland. Patrick raced successfully for Mercs when he undertook a season of training with us. He returned to studying at the University of London where he majored in biochemistry.  We last saw him race at Henley Royal Regatta with his university.


Above: Paddy in the six seat of the University of London crew at Henley


He is training in Cork with the aspiration to compete at the Worlds. He advises that unfortunately, it was decided the four was not quick enough. However he was seat raced into the fastest pair and they have a selection race in about one weeks time. He is hopeful that they will be good enough although they have had very limited time together.


Paddy has indicated a desire to train at Mercs again this summer. Anyone need a highly motivated and intelligent individual for the biochemistry, biotech or health industries over summer? You could not get a better person.



Australia wins gold at the juniors

Published 6th August 2017


The talented double of Cormac Kennedy-Leverett (The Southport School/QLD) and Fergus Hamilton (Melbourne Grammar School/VIC) won gold in the World Junior Championships in the double scull tonight.


The crew was coached by Club member Tom Abramowski.


They had an all the way win and finished a full 3 seconds ahead of the field. These are two very talented athletes with a determination and grit to do well. Congratulations.


World Rowing website reported as follows:

One of the biggest entries at this regatta meant that progression to the final included quarterfinals. Australia won their heat and were then beaten in the quarterfinal by Greece. Greece and Australia won their respective semifinals and they faced each other again today taking up the middle lanes. A faulty start brought all crews back into the blocks and the race delayed. Belarus went off at 53, but it was Germany that got away the quickest. Jan Berend and Simon Schlott of Germany took gold at the European Rowing Junior Championships. They also both raced in the 2016 World Rowing Junior Championships, but the quad. Despite their fast start, Australia was just in front with Germany and Greece going with Cormac Kennedy-Leverett and Fergus Hamilton of Australia.

Then Belarus came through to challenge Australia’s lead with Greece slotting into third. Hamilton and Kennedy-Leverett then pulled away from Belarus’s Artsem Laputsin and Yauheni  Zalaty who were overrating the Australians but not catching them. Australia went to 37 but still looked relaxed as they took their boat to gold. Belarus took silver and bronze went to Christos Stergiakas and Charalampos Ntinenis of Greece.


Fergus Hamilton (s), Australia, gold
“I loved that race, we really went for it. We managed to get out front and just hold it. We’ve actually only had four weeks together rowing. It was quite rocky at the start. This is a great course.”

Above: The winning crew coming into the winners podium


Sadly the Melbourne based women’s eight finished last in the B final.


Arthur’s 100th Birthday Party

Published 6th August 2017


72 members and friends joined with Arthur Atkins to celebrate his 100th birthday at a high tea at the Club. It was a grand affair with the superb decorations, food, drinks, speeches and even the crockery and silver tea pots were outstanding. All who attended loved the afternoon.


Above: After speeches and the cutting of the cake.


A new pair was also named the Arthur 100.


Above: A picture of concentration whilst hitting the bottle

Above: Arthur assessing his work

Above: Arthur and the President Mal Batten


Above: the guest of honour


Some scenes from the party



Above: Some of the key members of the organising team, Julie Orr and Jenny Fraumano

Above: The Captain Bill Webster with Jimpy Shears and Neil Hewitt


Above: Julie McCall, James Harvey and Bob Lachal


Above: Past Captain Celia Patterson and her family


Above: The active rowers table


Day 5 World Junior Championships

Published 6th August 2017

The Women’s double scull had an all the win in the C final at these Championships but is was not an easy race. They had quite a struggle against the Lithuanians and Austrians.



The Sydney based men’s quad scull also raced in their B final finishing third. They started off slower than their opposition but came through the field from fifth to third.


Tonight the women’s eight and men’s double scull race with the men’s double being a medal prospect having won their heat and semi-final. The men’s double scull is coached by Mercantile member Tom Abramowski.


Days 3 and 4 World Junior Championships

Published 5th August 2017

The quarter finals of the men’s double sculls sent a shiver down the spine of Australian supporters with Greece out classing the Australian crew at every stage of the race. But in the semi finals, the Australians shined winning their semi final in the fastest time. This was despite allowing the Belarus crew to control the race through the middle 500 m. The final will be sensational.


Above: The Australian men’s double of bowCormac Kennedy-Leverett and stroke Fergus Hamilton © Rowing Australia


The Australian women’s double suffered a defeat in the quarter final which relegated them to the C and D semi finals.  Fortunately they had a good race in their C & D semi final winning in the fastest time in preparation for the C final. This crew has raced well.


The men’s quad scull had a tough semi final like the girl’s double scull and finished fourth just outside the final A qualification. They will start therefore in the B final and will most likely perform well.


Regrettably the women’s eight suffered the same fate. They finished last in the repechage and so will compete in the B final. Unfortunately they were never in the race and so the B final will be a challenge.


Above: Our women’s eight. Photo from FISA website. Photographer Igor Meijer


The need for racing before these events is essential and showed in the performance of our crews.


Day 2 World Junior Championships

Published 4th August 2017

The other two Australian crew fronted up in the heats in the men’s quad and the women’s eight – the women’s eight being a mixed Victorian school crew.


Rowing Australia reported on the days racing as follows:

Day two of the 2017 World Rowing Junior Championships in Lithuania saw warm and humid conditions once again. The Junior Men’s Quadruple Scull, who were the first Australians racing on Lake Galvé today (Thursday), finished in third in a thrilling heat that will now see them contest a repechage tomorrow in a bid to make Saturday’s semi-finals.


Meanwhile, Australia’s Junior Women’s Eight took to the water just before midday and finished in fifth place in their heat and will contest the repechage tomorrow in a bid to make Sunday’s A-Finals.


The Junior Men’s Quadruple Scull of Daniel Samus, Jackson Kench, Harry Crouch and Lachlan Stevenson featured in the fourth heat of the day of their boat class, taking on crews from Greece, Italy, Poland, Ukraine and Estonia.


Needing a top two finish to automatically make the semi-finals, and avoid Friday’s repechage, the crew, coached by Sydney Rowing Club’s Jason Baker, were quick out the start and as the crews approached the halfway mark, Italy were leading with Poland and Australia duking it out for second place.


At the 1500m marker, the Australians upped their stroke rate to 40 per minute, and were bow ball to bow ball with the crew from Poland in a bid to take the second place. However, as the crews approached the line, Greece crept up on the outside and snuck in ahead of the Australians to take second place, by a mere 0.17 of a second forcing the Australian crew into tomorrow’s repechage.


The Junior Women’s Eight, made up of Victorians Jessica Thompson, Georgia Thomson, Mimi Tuddenham, Emmie Frederico, Brigid McKeagney-Douglas, Ruby Gioulekas, Sophie Blason, Jane Perrignon and coxswain Phoebe Georgakas were the second Australian crew to race in Lithuania today.


Needing a top two finish to automatically make the A-Final, the crew, coached by Alison Crowe of MLC Kew, were drawn in Lane 3 against strong crews including race favourites, Romania.


Powering out the start at 46 strokes per minute, the Australians kept with race leaders Romania and Belarus and as they reached the halfway mark were in third. As the crews reached the 1500m mark, the Australians began to drop back out of contention with the battle for second place taking place between Belarus and China.


Sensing that the top two automatic qualification spots were out of their hands in this race, with less than 250 metres, the Australians crossed the line in fifth place and will contest the repechage tomorrow in a bid to make Sunday’s A-Finals.


All four Junior Australian Rowing Team crews will race tomorrow, with the Junior Men’s Quadruple Scull and Junior Women’s Eight contesting repechages, while the Junior Men’s and Women’s Double Sculls will contest their respective quarter-finals.


Above: The men’s junior double scull from Day 1 – © Rowing Australia


Day 1 World Junior Championships

Published 3rd August 2017


The World Junior (under 19) Rowing Championships started last night in Trakai Lithuania with Australia represented in the men’s and women’s double sculls, men’s quad scull and women’s eight. It is the first international racing for all these crews.


On the first day of racing, our two double sculls raced.


The men’s crew of Cormac Kennedy-Leverett (The Southport School/QLD), Fergus Hamilton (Melbourne Grammar School/VIC) and coached by Tom Abramowski (Melbourne Grammar School/VIC), won their heat in the best time of any of the five heats. Before the race Fergus said “I think it is going to be tough competition, I’ve heard the double is a pretty popular event [27 entries this year], however, I think if we continue the way we are going, we can do pretty well, I just can’t wait to get racing.”


This enthusiasm showed in their racing. They raced a disciplined and even race, not being distracted by a fast starting Dutch crew. They accounted for the Dutch in the second 500 metres and led for the rest of the race. They are now the favourites and will test themselves again in the quarter-finals on Friday.


The girls also performed well in their heat. The Australian double of Taylor McCarthy-Smith (Brisbane & GPS/QLD), Skyla Froebel (Melbourne RC/VIC), and coached by Jonathan Trovas (Brisbane & GPS/St Peter’s Lutheran College/QLD) finished second in their heat and progresses straight through to the quarter finals on Friday.


The men’s quad scull and the women’s eight will race tonight.


Arthur Atkins 100th Birthday Celebrations

Updated 1st August 2017


We are only one week away from the party of the year, Arthur Artkin’s 100th birthday at the Club.  Details are:

High Tea
Sunday 6 August 2017 –  2pm
Mercantile Rowing Club
Adult  $20.00
Athlete $10.00
Champers on arrival then drinks at Bar Prices
RSVP 2 August 2017 on Try booking



Above: Arthur at the boat naming of the David Browne


Sarah’s Super Saturday – JDS in world record attempt

Published 1st August 2017


On Saturday 2nd September, several ergo world records attempts will be made in the following categories:

1000m – Josh Booth

2000m – Josh Dunkley Smith

60 minutes – Karsten Forsterling

100km tandem – Matt Ryan and Nick Purnell


JDS is currently holding the second best ergo score on record and if he breaks it with this attempt, it will be reverberate throughout the rowing world.


But there is another important side to these world record attempts. As the website go fund me states:

Through Super Saturday we would like to bring awareness and much needed financial support to the Caritas Christie Hospice where Sarah was until her passing. 

Above: Sarah Tait at London in 2012 with her daughter testing her Olympic silver medal for authenticity


We have been wanting to put together an event like this for some time to remember Sarah, but have felt no challenge we came up with has done her name and legacy as one of the toughest international oarswomen justice.  


“Modern medical developments are improving outcomes for patients everyday. But some patients still face poor outcomes, and they and their support network of family and friends face significant challenges. Caritas Christie Hospice provides support for patients and their loved ones during this difficult time, aspiring to provide the best care and environment at such a precious time. 

Sarah’s last few months in Caritas were filed with warmth, music and most importantly, family. Initiatives such as the art and music program helped create an open and caring environment, which means our memories of that time are much more positive and we were better able to support Sarah.

Supporting an athlete in this challenge means supporting families as well as patients, at a time when they need it the most”.
Bill Tait

If you would like to donate, please go to


Go JDS and Go Mercs


First Thursday of the month row goes gourmet

Published 1st August 2017


Our masters purchased the gourmet BBQ at the fundraising auction for our international crews and on the first Thursday of the month, they will devour it. Come down and join the fun and even go for a row. Rowing at 6pm and BBQ at 7pm.


Rock on FTOM.


Tuesday night ergos

Published 1st August 2017


With the masters now doing ergos on Tuesday nights, the gym is getting crowded after 6pm. Every ergo was used on 1st August and there was not even a need for an ambulance.


Tuesday night is ergo night


Thursday Masters Nights

Republished 1st August 2017

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

Past news can be found through this link.