September 2019 News

Above: World Champion Kat Werry, second from left – photo copyright RA

Provided by your faithful correspondent Trident.

Past news can be found at this link.

News covered this month

  • Coastal Rowing – here and abroad
  • NTC Testing Camp invitations
  • Notice of AGM
  • 1980s Juniors Reunion
  • Vale Julie McCall
  • NTC first intake – congratulations to Mercs members
  • AGM details
  • Breakfast Mums
  • The new season starts
  • Congratulations to our Olympic Qualifiers
  • World Championships Day 8
  • World Championships Day 7
  • From the Archives – Images from 1979 World Championships


Coastal Rowing – here and abroad

Published 26th September 2019

Mercantile coastal rowing is getting underway with our first boat arriving at the start of October and the second in November. Any member interested should speak with Paul McGann, Nick Mitchel or Andrew Guerin.

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, Patrick Boomer is showing us the way in the solo and even picked a bronze at the Irish Championships with his father in the double.

Patrick leads in the solo around the buoy with a typical Irish backdrop
The bronze medallists


NTC Testing Camp Invitations

Published 26th September 2019

Rowing Australia announced the athlete groups we have invited to the upcoming National Training Centre Testing Camps that will take place from the 30th September – 4th October 2020. NTC squads for the 2019/20 season will be finalised from this testing camp and to start in the respective training centres as part of Intake 2 on the 25th October.

Katrina Bateman has been invited to the Nepean training centre for testing and will join her sister Amanda Bateman, and Kat Werry, Jess Morrison and James Rook who are already there.

Liam Donald, Red Matthews, Alex Wolf, Ben Canham, Mitch Hooper and James Robertson have all been invited to join the Canberra NTC for testing. They join Gus Widdicombe who is already there.

Good luck to all these member vying for Olympic selection.

Go Mercs


Notice of AGM

Published 24th September 2019



  1. To confirm the minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on 20th October 2018.
  2. To receive and adopt the Annual Report and Balance Sheet.
  3. To elect the Officers of the Club and Members of the Committee for the ensuing year.
  4. Election of Trustee of the Mercantile Foundation. The term of Mr Warwick Hutchins expires at the AGM and he does not seek re-election. Mr Malcolm Batten OAM is nominated for election as Trustee for a 5 year term.
  5. Announcement of Trophy and Award Winners.
  6. Any other General Business that may legally be brought forward.

Nominations for Office Bearers and Members of the Committee for the ensuing year close on the notice board at the Clubhouse on Saturday 12th October 2019 at 4:00pm.

By Order of the Committee

A. Maloney

Honorary Secretary

20 September 2019


1980s Junior Reunion

Published 15th September 2019

Master organiser Geoff Barden is at it again. This time he has organised a reunion of the junior crews coached by Phil Ainsworth in 1980s. Great work Geoff. Remember this was the time when Jim Sprigg was President and Phil drove an EJ Holden. Geoff’s story follows.

Phil Ainsworth, the great juniors coach

Mercantile is hosting a reunion for team members of the Men’s Junior 4+ crews coached by Phil Ainsworth. During the mid-eighties Junior crews successful in winning the Australian National Championship were afforded selection in the Australian Rowing team and sent to the Junior World FISA Championships. Phil successfully coached consecutive crews to National titles in 1984 – 1987

1985 crew with Geoff in the bow seat

As fortune would have it members of these crews, Peter Tomanovits (1984), Geoff Barden (1985), Simon Morrison (1987) and Club Captain Bill Webster (1986) are rowing together once a week in the club master’s program, preparing for the upcoming 2019 Head races. At a recent Thursday night barrel the group decided to host a reunion at the club that included the Mercantile and Australian Junior 4+ crews that each member was a part of.

The reunion will take place the Sunday after the AFL Grand Final, 29th September 2019. Emails and invitations have been sent far and wide to reunite the crews from this memorable chapter in the clubs history. Preparations are well underway. We are delighted to have acceptance from team Manager, Dr John Drewe and importantly coach Phil Ainsworth who is preparing for the reunion working on a detailed presentation that is sure to bring many stories back to life. Club President, Anthony Johnson and past President Andrew Guerin have agreed to join the group for a reunion row in club eights before we settle in for our long lunch.


Vale Julie McCall

Published 14th September 2019

It with deep sadness that we advise members of the passing of Julie McCall, widow of Graham, mother of rowers Felicity and Duncan, and grandmother of current rowers Alex and Phoebe Wolf. Our condolences to all of her family who are so much part of Mercantile.

Julie was a much loved person who endeared herself to all who had the pleasure of knowing her. She had many long and special friendships at Mercantile Rowing Club and the rowing community through supporting Graham, her children Felicity and Duncan whilst rowing, and more recently her grandchildren. She cared for Graham through his long illness and died after her own long illness.

The funeral will be held at Kooyong Tennis Club, 489 Glenferrie Road Kooyong on Monday 16th September 2019 at 2.30pm.


NTC first intake – congratulations to Mercs members

Published 14th September 2019

Congratulations to those Mercs members who have been re-inducted back into the into the National Training Centres.

Athletes were considered from the results of the recent 2019 World Rowing Championships. All Olympic class medallist athletes were automatically invited back to the NTC. Athletes in boats achieving Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualification were also considered for invitation to the NTCs as part of this Intake 1.

Intake 2 athlete invitations will be finalised following the upcoming NTC Testing Camps that will take place from the 30th September – 4th October in the respective National Training Centres in Penrith and Canberra. An invitation list to these testing camps will be published by no later than then 20th September.

Reinhold Batschi Men’s National Training Centre
Intake 1
Alexander HillAdelaide Rowing ClubSA
Alexander PurnellSydney University Boat ClubNSW
Angus MooreSydney Rowing ClubNSW
Angus WiddicombeMercantile Rowing ClubVIC
Cameron GirdlestoneSydney University Boat ClubNSW
Campbell WattsSydney University Boat ClubNSW
David WattsSydney Rowing ClubWA
Hamish PlayfairUTS Rowing ClubNSW
Jack HargreavesSydney University Boat ClubNSW
Jack O’BrienSydney University Boat ClubNSW
Joshua BoothMelbourne University BCVIC
Joshua HicksSydney Rowing ClubNSW
Karsten ForsterlingMelbourne University BCVIC
Nicholas PurnellSydney University Boat ClubNSW
Sam HardySydney Rowing ClubNSW
Simon KeenanMelbourne University BCVIC
Spencer TurrinSydney Rowing ClubNSW
Timothy MastersUTS Rowing ClubVIC
Hancock Prospecting Women’s National Training Centre
Intake 1
Amanda BatemanMercantile Rowing ClubVIC
Annabelle McIntyreFremantle Rowing ClubWA
Bronwyn CoxUniversity of West Australia Boat ClubWA
Genevieve HortonSydney University Boat ClubNSW
Georgina RoweUTS Rowing ClubNSW
Jacinta EdmundsCommercial Rowing ClubQLD
Jessica MorrisonMercantile Rowing ClubVIC
Katrina WerryMercantile Rowing ClubVIC
Leah SaundersSydney Rowing ClubNSW
Lucy StephanMelbourne University Boat ClubVIC
Molly GoodmanAdelaide Rowing ClubSA
Olympia AlderseyAdelaide Rowing ClubSA
Rosemary PopaBanks Rowing ClubVIC
Sarah HaweHuon Rowing ClubVIC
Coxswain: James RookMercantile Rowing ClubVIC


AGM Details

Published 9th September 2019

You are invited to join us at the Mercantile Annual General Meeting followed by the Annual Dinner to celebrate the year past and to welcome our new members and the upcoming season.

When: 19 October 2019 at the Club, 5 Boathouse Drive, Melbourne Vic.

7pm          Canapes and pre dinner drinks 

7.30pm     Annual General Meeting

8pm          Award presentations and Dinner

8.45pm       Dessert

9.30 pm     Bar open. Drinks at Bar Prices

Dinner Cost: $135.00 (Competing Athletes $110.00). Drinks included with the meal service

Dress: Lounge Suit, Club Blazer

RSVP        5 October 2019



Breakfast Mums?

Published 9th September 2019

What is happening? Last Saturday, our overworked and diligent Breakfast Mums were more like Breakfast Dads with only Julie Orr holding up the fort from the original Breakfast Mums team. Regardless of who is there, John “Larry” Leeming advises that the name will not change and that he will continue to proudly wear his Breakfast Mums apron.

Great work team.

Breakfast Mums last Saturday


The new season starts

Published 5th September 2019

Just days after we recover from the previous season, the new season starts.

The first Mercs entry of the new season is a women’s quad scull at the 2019 Saltwater Challenge – Meghan Hester, Gemma Sibillin, Kate Duggan and Madeleine Thomas.

Go Mercs


Congratulations to our Olympic Qualifiers

Published 5th September 2019

Although the Australian crews are all up for grabs again in the new season, we should highlight and congratulate five members who raced in Olympic qualified boats:

Kat Werry – Gold in W4

Jess Morrison and James Rook – Silver in W8

Jess Morrsion – Silver in W2

Amanda Bateman – 11th in W2x

Gus Widdicombe – fourth in M8

James Rook shows his strength. Jess Morrison to his right second from the left


World Championships Day 8

Published 2nd September 2019

Mercs were again in the medals with Jess Morrison picking up her second silver medal at the regatta, and James Rook picking up a silver, joining Jess in the eight.

The women’s eight on the podium – photo copyright RA
From the left, Annabelle McIntyre, Jess Morrison, Molly Goodman and James Rook – photo copyright RA
A happy crew – photo copyright RA

The women’s eight started their race well maintaining their first position for the first 1500 metres.However the New Zealand crew raced as superb race rowing through the field from the second 500 m to the finish. Their last 500 metres was sensation and sprinted superbly to the line. The Australians raced a very disciplined race but did not have enough left in the tank in the last 500 m to take gold.

Great work Australia and Mercs.

Whilst talking about the eights, the men’s eight finishe fourth. They started well but gave away a little too much in the second 500 metres. We are talking about 0.5 second! In the end they narrowly missed out on a medal. The eights are now a sprint and the slightest of changes in pace mean medals. The winning time was 5:19.41! Congratulations Australia. We will be there knocking on the door next year at the Olympic Games.

It is a tough race and club member Gus Widdicombe shows the distress – photo copyright RA
Even the winners are struggling to celebrate – photo copyright RA

Club member Amanda Bateman raced in the B final of the women’s double finishing fifth, or 11th overall. This was sufficient to gain Olympic qualification. This crew was hoping for better but have made the grade for next year.

Amanda Bateman earlier in the day – photo copyright RA

RA reported on the day as follows.

Australia’s Women’s Eight threw it all on the line on the final day of the 2019 World Rowing Championships, winning a silver medal and securing Australia a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Meanwhile, Erik Horrie picked up a bronze medal in the PR1 Men’s Single Scull and Australia’s Men’s Eight qualified their boat for Tokyo by finishing in fourth place in their A-Final.
Amanda Bateman and Genevieve Horton ensured Australia had a boat berth for the Women’s Double Scull at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after the duo finished in fifth place in an incredibly tight B-Final in Linz-Ottensheim, with first and fifth place split by a mere 1.03 seconds. Their male counterparts, Caleb Antill and David Bartholot, just missed out qualifying the Men’s Double Scull after finishing in sixth place in their B-Final.
At the conclusion of the 2019 World Rowing Championships, Australia has qualified eight boats for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and two boats for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Subject to selections in 2020, Australia may look to qualify further Olympic class boats, at the final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland and further Paralympic boats at the Final Paralympic Qualification Regatta in Gavirate, Italy – both events are held in May 2020.
Australia’s Women’s Eight came out firing in their A-Final, with the crew, coxed by James Rook, flying out of the start and taking an early lead at the 500 metre mark, ahead of race favourites New Zealand and the USA. The Australians of Molly Goodman, Jessica Morrison, Annabelle McIntyre, Rosemary Popa, Georgie Rowe, Bronwyn Cox, Jacinta Edmunds, Leah Saunders and coxswain James Rook, were in the lead still at the 1500 metre mark, before New Zealand made their move and edged ahead of the Australians.
As the crews sprinted for the line, New Zealand took the lead, with Australia in hot pursuit, but it was New Zealand who took the title, with Australia in second and USA in third.
Post-race, stroke of the Women’s Eight, Molly Goodman, said: “We were really happy with that race, we’ve got to go back and train harder again, we want that gold medal in Tokyo. It’s awesome to qualify the boat, I can’t remember the last time we qualified a Women’s Eight directly [and not through the final qualification regatta].
“The whole team is doing really well, but it’s been particularly great to see how well our women’s sweep category is doing, to come away with a gold and two silvers [for our women’s sweep group] is just awesome.”
“The plan was get out and get further out, we had a good start and things took care of themselves. It was a shame we couldn’t hold it together in that last 500 metres, but the girls in front of me gave it 100 percent, you can’t ask for more than that,” added Rook.  
Erik Horrie was aiming for his sixth consecutive World Rowing Championships title in the PR1 Men’s Single Scull, but it wasn’t to be the Australian’s day, with the single sculler taking home a bronze medal, while Ukraine took gold and Russia silver.
Horrie sat back in second for the majority of the race, before slipping back into third, however the Australian held off a challenge from Great Britain in the final metres of the race to take bronze. “It just wasn’t my today, but I’m happy to come away with the medal considering the season I’ve had coming back from injury,” said Horrie.
The Men’s Eight were just 0.53 of a second off taking a bronze medal in their A-Final. The Australians were in second at the 500 metre mark and despite slipping back to fifth at the halfway mark, they nudged into third at the 1500 metre point. In a sprint to the line with Great Britain and USA, the Australians just missed out on the podium, with Germany taking gold, Netherlands silver and Great Britain bronze.
Alexander Purnell said post-qualifying the boat for Tokyo, “We’ve learned a lot this week and worked on some big changes and those came good today. I guess the result we got was a combination of a lot of things but the main thing is that the boat is qualified for Tokyo, we’re really happy about that.
“This year’s World Championships felt a bit different to any other race to be honest, as it was top five to qualify for Tokyo, so you’re just trying to not come last. We could see we were ahead of New Zealand for the majority of that race, we had total trust in our coxswain, Kendall Brodie’s calls and she did a great job. When it’s so close, at the end of the race you’re just giving it all you’ve got and we got our boat to Tokyo.”
Rowing Australia Performance Director, Bernard Savage, summarised the week by commenting, “This week has had some incredibly hard and tight racing across all boat categories so to come away with qualifying eight Olympic and two Paralympic boats for Tokyo is really pleasing. I am very proud of this Team and the way they have gone about their business this week. To have qualified a full complement of sweep boats for both the men and women is particularly pleasing.
“All eyes are firmly on Tokyo now and I now the athletes, coaches and staff will be leaving no stone unturned in the quest for success at their respective Games.”
Australian Boats qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games

Men’s Eight Women’s Eight
Men’s Four Women’s Four
Men’s Pair Women’s Pair
Men’s Quadruple Scull Women’s Double Scull

Australian Boats qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Paralyampic Games

PR1 Men’s Single Scull PR3 Mixed Coxed Four

Medals won by Australia at the 2019 World Rowing Championships

Gold Silver Bronze
Women’s Four Women’s Pair Lightweight Men’s Single Scull
PR2 Women’s Single Scull Women’s Eight Men’s Pair
  PR3 Men’s Pair PR1 Men’s Single Scull


World Championships Day 7

Published 1st September 2019

What a superb day for Australian rowing and for our very own Katrina Werry, who won another World Championship. Kat is now one Australia’s decorated rowers with two World Championships in the four in 2017 and 2019, a silver in 2018 and two World Cup gold medals and a bronze – all in the four. She also has an under 23 World Championship bronze medal with fellow club member Addy Dunkley-Smith. What a record and in such a short period.

The well deserved podium shot – photo copyright RA

Congratulations Kat from all of us back in Melbourne at Mercs.

Approaching the line – photo copyright RA

The race was not all that straight forward. They had a good start but were pushed the whole way through the race by the Dutch. They held off the Dutch by a small margin for the first 1500m and then took a risk by putting everything on the line in the final 500 metres. It was a disciplined, tough but superb race, winning the whole way through.

Hamming it up for the cameras – photo copyright RA

Also on the podium last night was Jess Morrison in the pair, finishing with a silver. Jess and Annabelle McIntyre raced a superb race but were out sprinted to the line by the New Zealand pair of Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler.

An exhausted pair – photo copyright RA
Jess far left on the podium – photo copyright RA

The race was a credit to all medallists. They will all double up in the eights tomorrow. Given that Jess and Annabelle have dominated this event in recent time, I suspect that there was some disappointment in second place. The Australians won the first half of the race in all respects and were still in front with 500 metres to go. But the New Zealanders raced a great second half and reducing the margin in the third 500 meters and sprinting to the line in fine fashion.

Jess on the left taking in the moment – photo copyright RA

Katrina Bateman in the quad contested the B final last night also finishing in fourth place, tenth overall. This is outside the Olympic qualifying placing. This would have been a great disappointment for this crew. They had forced their way into the team despite being outside the NTC and we had high hopes for them. A great season except for this last race. Well done Katrina.

An exhausted and disappointed quad at the finish line – photo copyright RA

For the rest of the news of last night, we refer to the following RA report.

Australia’s Women’s Four wrapped up a fantastic 2019 World Rowing Championships winning gold today (Saturday) in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria. The crew of Lucy Stephan, Sarah Hawe, Katrina Werry and Olympia Aldersey went undefeated throughout the regatta to claim the top honours. By virtue of making the A-Final the Australians also qualified the boat berth for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Annabelle McIntyre and Jessica Morrison claimed silver in the Women’s Pair after a sprint to the line with their Trans-Tasman rivals, New Zealand, while Joshua Hicks and Sam Hardy took home a bronze medal in the Men’s Pair. Both boat berths are qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Elsewhere, the Men’s Quadruple Scull and the PR3 Mixed Coxed Four wrapped up their World Championships ranked fourth in the world while the Men’s Four were sixth in their A-Final. All three boats are qualified for Tokyo 2020.

Olympia Aldersey, winning her first Senior World Rowing Championships gold, was visibly delighted with her crew’s victory in the Women’s Four. “I won my first World Championships gold medal back in 2012 in the Under 23s, so it’s taken me a while to get here! I think you can be a capable athlete mentally, but it’s about getting all your ducks lined up in a row and getting yourself in the right space to deliver.

“It’s taken me this long to get here, and I can’t thank enough all the people that helped us to get here. People like our patron Mrs Gina Rinehart who supports our National Training Centres – having an NTC this last Olympiad has been really great and having a squad has pushed everyone up. We couldn’t have done this year without the team behind us, it makes it all easier.

“We really worked as a crew to get here and it’s a credit to all of us for delivering our roles to get us over the line,” said Aldersey.

Hawe added, “The field was so strong today so it’s really amazing to come away with the win. Last year we won silver, so we had a lot of determination to do better this year. I’ve never been to the Olympics before, so it would be really amazing to have the chance to go.”

The Women’s Pair of Jess Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre were just pipped at the line by New Zealand, but will take on both New Zealand and bronze medalists, Canada, in the A-Final of the Women’s Eight on Sunday. All three medaling crews are doubling up into their countries Eights.

Post-race, silver medalist McIntyre said, “We gave it everything we could and it puts us in a really good position for next year, and we’re really excited about what we can do ourselves and what our team can do as a whole.

“We’re really looking forward to having a good hit out tomorrow in the Women’s Eight and seeing what we can do set ourselves up for next year.”

The Men’s Pair final saw Croatia come away with the gold medal, while Australia battled it out with New Zealand for silver and bronze. In the final stages, the New Zealanders broke into second, with Australia holding off a challenge from Italy to take home bronze.

Sam Hardy, winning his first Senior World Championships medal in the Men’s Pair said, “It feels amazing, I can’t believe we won a medal here and qualified the boat for Tokyo. It was a really stiff head breeze, so we kept it really internal and then opened it up in the middle of the race. I can’t believe it.

“It’s been great to row with Hicksy (Josh Hicks), he’s a two-time World Champion, and so it’s amazing to have learned from him. He really turns up on race days, there’s no one else I’d rather row a boat with.”

In the PR3 Mixed Coxed Four Australia’s crew of Renae Domaschenz, Alexandra Viney, Alex Vuillermin, Ben Gibson and James Talbot were fourth at the halfway mark of their race, making a late push on Italy, but the crew just missed out on a podium placing.

Australia’s Men’s Four’s A-Final was not a reflection of how the crew has performed throughout these World Rowing Championships, with the crew finishing up in sixth place after struggling to catch up with Poland who came out quickest at the start. Despite a valiant sprint from Alexander Hill, Jack Hargreaves, Nicholas Purnell and Jack O’Brien, the Australians were unable to make up the lost ground from a slow start.

In the Men’s Quadruple Scull of David Watts, Cameron Girdlestone, Campbell Watts and Hamish Playfair took on the reigning World Champions, Italy, as well as an inform Netherlands. It was the Dutch who came out fastest to take gold, and while Poland and Italy battled it out for silver and bronze – the Australians pushed on the leading pack. However, the Australians ran out of room, with the Dutch taking the win, followed by Poland and Italy.

In the B-Finals today, the Lightweight Men’s Double Scull sprinted to the line with the Belgians but just missed out on an Olympic qualifying berth. Hamish Parry and Leon Chambers wrapped up their World Championships ranked eighth in the world, while Sarah Pound and Georgia Nesbitt finished third in the B-Final of the Lightweight Women’s Double Scull to be ranked ninth in the world.

The Women’s Quadruple Scull of Cara Grzeskowiak, Fiona Ewing, Katrina Bateman and Rowena Meredith were fourth in their B-Final, finishing 10th in the world.

Races times for Sunday 1 September

Men’s Double Scull (Bartholot and Antill): 11:42 local time (19:42 AEST/17:42 AWST)
Women’s Double Scull (A Bateman and Horton): 11:54 local time (19:54 AEST/17:54 AWST)

PR1 Men’s Single Scull (Horrie): 13:21 local time (21:21 AEST/19:21 AWST)
Men’s Eight (Forsterling, A Purnell, Moore, Keenan, Booth, Masters, Turrin, Widdicombe and Brodie): 14:12 local time (22:12 AEST/20:12 AWST)
Women’s Eight (Saunders, Edmunds, Cox, Rowe, Popa, McIntyre, Morrison, Goodman and Rook): 15:02 local time (23:02 AEST/21:02 AWST)


From the archives – Images from 1979 World Championships

Published 1st September 2019

1979 Women’s Four which finished fourth – Bow: Anne Chirnside, 2: Verna Westwood, 3: Pam Westendorf, Str: Sally Harding, Cox: Susie Palfreyman, Cch: David Palfreyman
Men’s eight final with Australia finishing fourth. Bow: John Bolt (SA), 2: Tim Young (VIC), 3: William Magennis (VIC), 4: Andrew Withers (VIC), 5: Ted Hale (NSW), 6: Jim Lowe (VIC), 7: Steve Newnham (NSW), Str: Brian Richardson (VIC), Cox: Noel Donaldson (VIC), Cch: Christopher Dane (VIC), Res: Rob Lang (SA) – some well known club members in this crew.
Spectators included Club Vice-President Deane Morgan (walking down the aisle), with Bill Waterfield and Noel Wilkinson seated in the foreground
The lightweight eight which finished sixth. The final crew seating was as listed below and differed from this photo. Bow: Phil Gardiner (VIC), 2: John Hawkins (VIC), 3: Dennis Hatcher (VIC), 4: Michael Smith (NSW), 5: Peter Antonie (VIC), 6: Andrew Michelmore (VIC), 7: Geoff Rees (VIC), Str: Simon Gillett (VIC) , Cox: David England (VIC), Cch: Peter Philp (VIC)
The start of the men’s single
Australian spectators enjoying a picnic – from the left Bill Waterfield, Deane Morgan, John Coates, unknown, David Palfreyman
Presentation of the women’s pair – East Germany victors


Past news can be found through this link.