February 2020 News

Above: Mercantile women’s youth eight

Provided by your faithful correspondent Trident.

Past news can be found at this link.

News covered this month:

  • State Championships entries
  • Raffle to support our 2020 international athletes
  • Moomba Parking arrangements
  • Henley on Yarra
  • Jack Morganti visits Mercantile
  • Olympic Selection Trial Invitees
  • Staging Woes
  • Lightweight World Ergo Record
  • NSW Championships results
  • Nagambie results
  • NSW Championships entries
  • Nagambie entries
  • Moomba launch 12th February
  • Moomba arrangements
  • From the vault – Olympic boycotts


State Championship Entries

Published 26th February 2020

A huge entry for the State Championships this year. We will boat crews on both Saturday and Sunday.

MO2-Alexander Wolf, Benjamin Canham
MU212-Nicholas Vlachodimitropoulos, Tom Murray
MU212-Lukas Matic, William Achermann
MU212-Timothy Benton, Connor Shugg
MLW2-Stearns Weil, Jordan Roberts
MLW1XEric Low
MO1XKane Grant
MU231XJoel Cain
MU211XAlexander Selemba
FO2-Kate Duggan, Thea Adamson (Banks)
FU232-Georgie Gleeson, Skyla Froebel
FU212-Stephanie Ferrali, Eleanor Millear
FO1XGemma Sibillin
FU231XMimi Tuddenham
FU211XLouisa Bongrain
FLW1XMeghan Hester
FLW1XPhoebe Wolf
MU214+James Forwood, Connor Shugg, Marcus Cain, William Kalikman, Phillip Tran(c)
FU214+Teagan Blythe, Paige Barr, Emily Sutherland, Sophie Reinehr, Lily Arnoul(c)
FU214+Olivia Sargeant, Katherine (Lulu) Murrell, Rhiannon Morgan, Faith Zehfuss, Eyrin McCarthy(c)
MO2XEric Low, Joel Cain
MO2XAlexander Wolf, Kane Grant
MU212XAlexander Selemba, James Forwood
FO2XMeghan Hester, Kate Duggan
MU218+Marcus Cain, William Kalikman, Timothy Benton, Connor Shugg, Lukas Matic, Nicholas Vlachodimitropoulos, Tom Murray, William Achermann, Phillip Tran(c)
FU218+Louisa Bongrain, Olivia Sargeant, Stephanie Ferrali, Eleanor Millear, Teagan Blythe, Paige Barr, Emily Sutherland, Sophie Reinehr, Lily Arnoul(c)
MO4-Kane Grant, Joel Cain, Alexander Wolf, Benjamin Canham
MLW4-Jordan Roberts, Stearns Weil, Eric Low, Dario Sportelli
FO4-Faith Zehfuss, Mimi Tuddenham, Georgie Gleeson, Skyla Froebel
FO4X-Gemma Sibillin, Kate Duggan, Thea Adamson Rhiannon Morgan
MO4X-Eric Low, Joel Cain, Kane Grant, Alexander Wolf
FB4+Georgia Deacon,Johanna Vennemann,Sophie Coltman,Kate Duggan,Eyrin McCarthy(c)
FA2XGemma Sibillin,Meghan Hester
FB1XRhiannon Morgan
MB4+Oscar Kingham, Nick Szigeter, Alexander Kinsella, Alexander Selemba, Phillip Tran(c)
FB8+Georgia Deacon,Gemma Sibillin,Katherine (Lulu) Murrell,Johanna Vennemann,Sophie Coltman,Kate Duggan,Meghan Hester,Stephanie Ferrali,Eyrin McCarthy(c)
FB2XLouisa Bongrain,Rhiannon Morgan
MB8+Oscar Kingham, Nick Szigeter, Stearns Weil, Jordan Roberts, Alexander Kinsella, Alexander Selemba, James Forwood, William Kalikman, Phillip Tran(c)
FA8+Georgia Deacon, Gemma Sibillin, Katherine (Lulu) Murrell, Johanna Vennemann, Sophie Coltman, Kate Duggan, Meghan Hester, Eleanor Millear, Eyrin McCarthy(c)
FA1XMeghan Hester
FA1XGemma Sibillin
FB4X+Stephanie Ferrali, Eleanor Millear, Rhiannon Morgan, Louisa Bongrain, Eyrin McCarthy(c)


Raffle to support our 2020 international athletes

Published 24th February 2020

We are starting early this year with our fund raising for our travelling athletes in 2020. All proceeds will assist athletes competing in international regattas.

The raffle will be drawn on Thursday 19th March at 7pm, just before we leave for the Nationals. The winner will be notified.

Picnic basket contains Jug and glasses, a bottle of Pimms, HRR candle, HRR oven glove, HRR tea towel, Luggage label set, HRR cards, HRR small tray.

Tickets are $5.00 each or 3 for $10.00.

Tickets can be obtained by contacting Jenny Fraumano on 0438324307 or by email

Get into the Henley mood and support our athletes.

Some of our 2019 international athletes at Henley Royal Regatta


Moomba Access Arrangements

Published 23rd February 2020

Access to the clubs will be severely restricted due to Moomba over the next two weeks. Please read the following notices carefully.

Advice to Clubs

Rowing parking access


Henley on Yarra

Published 23rd February 2020

Withe the bell birds singing at the 1600m start, the corellas squawking at the 800m start and Roger Wilson commentating at the finish line, Henley on Yarra took place for another year.

Sulphur crested Cockatoo expressing its views of the crews at the 800m

Amongst all that noise, Meghan Hester won the open scull, Kane Grant the silver sculls, the girls won the open eight and the boys the B eight.

It was great to be racing on the Yarra again.

Our first win came in the open eights with the final being an all Mercantile affair. The winning crew was the basis of our under 23 crew for the National Championships, namely Louisa Bongrain, Olivia Sargeant, Faith Zehfuss, Gemma Sibillin, Lulu Murrell, Rhiannon Morgan, Steph Ferrali, Eleanor Millear, Cox: Eyrin McCarthy, Coach: Brigette Carlile. They defeated our under 21 crew.

Showing their style in the heat
Going through the first bend before Morell Bridge in the final

Next winners were the men’s B eight which has the makings of a good Club eight for the Nationals. With four good oarsmen from the under 21 squad and four good rowers from our club squad, there is a good crew.

Our B crew taking a commanding lead out of Punt Road bridge
A scenic image for the crew – winning on the Yarra with a city backdrop
Three of the crew as so new to the club that they do have their uniform yet!
Left to right: Phil Ainsworth, Nick Szigeter, Oscar Kingham, Joe Christie,  Alexander Selemba, Jordan Roberts, Alexander Kinsella, Stearns Weil, William Kalikman, Cox: Roy Zhang

Next winner was Meg Hester in the open scull. She also won in an all Mercantile final against Gemma Sibillin.

Meg enjoying a semi-final win
Equally enjoying her win with her handsome trophy
Gemma Sibillin in her semi-final showing the beauty of match racing

In the silver sculls, Kane Grant won in an all Mercantile final against Alex Wolf. The trophy for this event is one of the oldest and most important rowing trophies in Australia. The Silver Sculls were originally the trophy for the senior sculls event at the Melbourne Regatta, which was founded in 1860. The trophy was won outright by Mr W H Tuckett of Banks Rowing Club who won the senior sculls event in 1878, 1879 and 1880. In 1914 the Silver Sculls were presented to Australian Henley by Mr Charles Tuckett, (a brother of Mr W.H. Tuckett), and were used as a perpetual trophy, (to join the Yarra Challenge Cup), for the senior sculling event

Great friend of the Club and the sport and husband and mother of several Mercantile members, Elaine Howden, presents the historic trophy to Kane Grant.
On such a joyous occasion, the President was not to be denied some celebrating

On the way to the final of the men’s senior scull, Joel Cain was eliminated by fellow club member and eventual winner Kane Grant, Ben Canham eliminated by fellow club member and finalist Alex Wolf, and Eric Low eliminated in the quarter finals.

Joel Cain in the semi-final
Eric Low in his quarter final

Both our men’s and women’s under 21 eights qualified for the finals only to be defeated by MUBC in each case. Looking forward to the Victorian selections, we are hopeful of having a good number of representatives. The Victorian men’s crew will be a physically strong crew and very promising.

Our women’s crew comprised: Louisa Bongrain, Olivia Sargeant, Steph Ferrali, Eleanor Millear, Teagan Blythe, Paige Barr, Emily Sutherland, Sophie Reinehr, Cox: Lily Arnoul, Coach: Brigette Carlile

Our youth eight winning their semi-final

Our men’s crew comprised: Marcus Cain, Charlie Batrouney, Jamie Forwood, Connor Shugg, Lukas Matic, Nicholas Vlachodimitropoulos, Tom Murray, William Achermann, Cox: Phillip Tran, Coaches: Dylan Curnow, Nicholas Lloyd.

Our men’s youth eight

Our women’s club four raced in the C category narrowly being beaten in the semi-final. This was the first outing for this crew which will race again next week.

Our club women’s four
A scenic image of the C four with a city backdrop

Our composite masters women’s eight did not survive the heat. The crew comprised: Jan Naylor [YR], Virginia Mohr [MELB], Louise Honman [YR], Irena Benjamin [YR], Margaret Caine-Dammenhayn [YR], Val Dowell [CGRC], Jennifer Williams [MERC], Kerry Morrison [MERC], Cox: Charlotte Lawrence [BANKS], Coach: Catherine Pineo


Jack Morganti visits Mercantile

Published 23rd February 2020

We were blessed with a visit to the Club both on Thursday night and at Henley on Saturday by Jack and Jone Morganti.

Bill Webster, Jone and Jack Morganti enjoying a drink at the Club

Jack learned his rowing at St Patricks at Ballarat and joined Mercantile in the early 1950s. He won two King’s Cup races in 1956 and 1958 and was reserve for the Olympic crews in 1956.

He remembers well the post war years where learned so much from the ex-serving members. Norm Cairnes who had been through so much at Toobruk and who played down any mention of it. Laurie Moll who took a soldier settlement block and Mercs members spent weekends there on working bees. He does not remember fondly marking lambs with Crockett! Jim Ferguson who would break into song with Gilbert and Sullivan arias. Sadly other rowers were unable to shake off the effects of war with his friend Paddy Barrett dying early.

He also remembers fondly the country regattas. In particular one Easter regatta in 1955 when Bob Aitken convinced them to race at Mildura in order to win the Club premiership from Albert Park. Herb Shears managed the group and they won the premiership.

Esater 1955 – Jack Morganti centre with Bob Aitken and Hubert Frederico on the right

He also remembers well the great times in the South West Corner with the old barrels.

Mercs Senior eight in Hobart – Jack second from the left

Jack finished off with a great story of a Henley regatta where they lost the senior eights by a very small margin which they thought that they had won. David ‘Crockett’ Boykett and Jack decided that they should have the pleasure of the Grand Challenge Cup for the evening. They ‘borrowed’ it from the victors and returned it to them the next day!

Jack and Joan were the guests of your correspondent in the Henley enclosure on Saturday.


Olympic Selection Trial Invitees

Published 14th February 2020

Great news that all our NTC athletes have been invited to trials as well as Katrina Bateman and Red Matthews. It is tough to break into the team from outside the NTC and two of our Club members have done it.

Great work KB and Red. Also, great work by Nick Mitchell, their coach.

Club members in the invite list are:

  • James Rook
  • Jess Morrison
  • Kat Werry
  • Amanda Bateman
  • Katrina Bateman
  • Liam Donald
  • Angus Widdicombe
  • Red Matthews

Go Mercs


Staging Woes

Published 14th February 2020

There is little hope for a quick resolution to our silted up staging soon.

Sadly there are some extra low tides in February to make matters worse.

There are plans to do some emergency dredging of the area but this will now occur after the end of the season. This involves pumping the silt to the deeper parts of the river.

Parks Victoria is working with the Clubs and Rowing Victoria to build some temporary staging platforms that would attach to the existing landing. Note that these are temporary, and a good will gesture to help us get through this busy period and still access the waterway. A first prototype may be in action this week somewhere along the landing, so please look out for it and provide feedback to Bill Webster so we can convey sentiment back to RV on behalf of the precinct.


Lightweight World Ergo Record

Published 14th February 2020

One of our former lightweight rowers, Rod Stewart, has now attained the grand age of 70. To celebrate he crushed the current lightweight >70 ergo score.

He broke the World record for 70-74 Lwt in Ireland a few weeks ago by 8.3 seconds in 6:59:9 and then won in Paris at the FISA Worlds by 14 seconds in a slower time of 7:03:4 but claims that “I wasn’t under any pressure and as it was hurting enough, I was happy to get to the finish line.”

Great work Rod.


NSW Championship results

Published 9th February 2020

The NSW Championships regatta is a vital regatta in the selection process. Sadly the weather in Sydney has been very wet on all days and on Sunday, very windy. The conditions deteriorated so much on Sunday that the regatta was cancelled at 9.35am. This is very sad for all the athletes and other associated with the event.

However the racing was completed fully on Friday and Saturday.

Skye Froebel raced in the U23 single, finishing 3rd in her heat and sixth in the A final. It is a tough field but she will be looking for a better result at the Nationals. Her doubles race was cancelled so she was not able to redeeme herself.

Joel Cain finished 3rd in his heat and 4th in the A final. This is a good result for him and shows his improvement during the season. He is not far from the podium and is capable of more. Bring on the Nationals.

Katrina Bateman had another blinder in the heat winning by a good margin. However again in the final, did not produce her best finishing third. Katrina is on the verge of some very good performances again. Go KB.

All the NTC rowers sculled at this event and so the field was fierce – too fierce for non NTS rowers as Kane Grant found out. However Gus Widdicombe finished 5th and so outside the progressions of first four.

Fortunately there were no surprises in the women’s pair with Jess Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre (Fremantle) winning both heat and final. They are set for the Olympic pairs unless something adverse happens. They also won the four combining with Lucy Stephan and Sarah Howe.

Sadly Katrina Werry was unable to race due to injury.

Mimi Tuddenham and Georgie Gleeson combined with WA rowers to finish well back in the A final. Mimi and Georgia finished better in their heat of the U23 pair finishing second before the final was cancelled.

In the men’s pair, the NTC crews again dominated. Gus Widdicombe partnered with Nick Purnell to finish fifth but Liam Donald and Adam Bakker were at the end of the A Final. Alex Wolf and Ben Canham were no match for the NTC athletes finishing 5th in the B final. Donald, Widdicombe, Master and Hardy finished second in the four in a tough field. Our club crew were well off the pace against the NTC crews.

In the under 23 lightweight sculling, sadly both Phoebe Wolf and Eric Low were off the pace. However Eric did get to the podium in the double with Hamish Harding.

Meghan Hester fifth in the open lightweight scull and third in the double combining with Louise Symonds.

Red Matthews had a reasonable regatta finishing third in the lightweight single. He had hoped for a higher position but he is doing well.

The saddest part of the cancellations was the incomplete under 23 pairs final and the under 21 races. They finished well in the under 23 races with Nick Vlachodimitropoulos and Tom Murray winning their semi final in the under 23 race with Lukas Matic and Will Achermann also making it through to the final. Both pairs would have dome well in the under 21 races.

Together these pairs picked up a silver in the elite coxed four race. These are promising athletes.


Nagambie Results

Published 9th February 2020

The Club raced at another regatta on the weekend, the Nagambie Regatta. The regatta referee was Treasurer Duncan MacKinnon with the Club’s Captain Bill Webster and Secretary Andrew Guerin on the jury.

Pictures from Andrew Guerin, Jenny Fraumano and Brigette Carlile.

Regatta scene with our under 21 eight

Apart from a couple of minor blemishes, our crews performed well. Let us go through them.

In the men’s under 21 scull, Connor Shugg finished second to Hiroki Aoki of Japan with Jordan Roberts in third place.

Connor Shugg in his heat
Aoki and Roberts in their heat

In the under 21 pair, Mercantile finished first, second and third, with Stearns Weil and Marcus Cain taking the honours from Timothy Benton and William Kalikman, with Alexander Selemba and Jamie Forwood in third place.

Stearns Weil and Marcus Cain wear the medals
Timothy Benton and William Kalikman
Jamie Forwood and Alexander Selemba

In the women’s open pair, Kate Duggan teamed up with Thea Adamson [of Banks to win the pair with Gemma Sibillin and Rhiannon Whale in second place.

Kate Duggan and Thea Adamson
Rhiannon Whale and Gemma Sibillin

Steph Ferrali and Eleanor Millear won the under 21 pair racing in the combined under 21, under 23 and open pairs. (Japan won the under 23 pairs.)

The winners of the open pair, under 23 pair and under 21 pairs
Racing in the pairs event with Steph and Eleanor in the foreground and Team Japan in the background.

Louisa Bongrain won the under 21 scull defeating the open and under 23 scullers who were in the same event. Great work Louisa.

Louisa racing
Louisa with medal

The one blemish for the day was a second placing in the under 21 four. Our crew of Stearns Weil, Alexander Selemba, Marcus Cain , William Kalikman and Cox: Phillip Tran made up for it in the eight.

A very different story in the women’s under 21 four with Mercs taking out first and second. The winning crew was comprised of: Teagan Blythe, Paige Barr, Emily Sutherland, Sophie Reinehr, Cox: Lily Arnoul and the second placed crew, Olivia Sargeant, Lulu Murrell, Alice Levin, Faith Zehfuss, Cox: Eyrin McCarthy.

Winners are grinners
Second placed crew of Olivia Sargeant, Lulu Murrell, Alice Levin, Faith Zehfuss, Cox: Eyrin McCarthy

Then came the eights with both the men’s and women’s eights taking the honours.

The men’s eight of Stearns Weil, Jordan Roberts, Jamie Forwood, Alexander Selemba, Marcus Cain, Connor Shugg, Timothy Benton, William Kalikman, Cox: Phillip Tran
… and on the podium.
Preparing to race.
Racing – Louisa Bongrain, Olivia Sargeant, Steph Ferrali, Eleanor Millear, Teagan Blythe, Paige Barr, Emily Sutherland, Sophie Reinehr, Cox: Lily Arnoul
… and podium.


NSW Championships entries

Published 5th February 2020

The NSW Championships are part of the Australian team selection process and so is an important event for the elite members of the Club.

CWU23 1xSkyla Froebel
CMU23 1xJoel Cain
CWE 1xKatrina Bateman
CME 1xKane Grant
CME 2-Alexander Wolf, Benjamin Canham
CWU23L 1xPhoebe Wolf
CMU23L 1xEric Low
CWEL 1xMeghan Hester
CMEL 1xRedmond Matthews
CME 4-Kane Grant, Joel Cain, Alexander Wolf, Benjamin Canham
CMU23L 2xHamish Harding, Eric Low
CWEL 2xMeghan Hester, Louise Symonds
CMEL 2xJames Crouch,Redmond Matthews
CME 4+Tom Murray, William Achermann, Lukas Matic, Nicholas Vlachodimitropoulos, James Rook (c)
CWU23 2-Mimi Tuddenham, Georgie Gleeson
CMU23 2-Lukas Matic, William Achermann
CMU23 2-Nicholas Vlachodimitropoulos,Tom Murray
CME 8+Tom Murray,Nicholas Vlachodimitropoulos, Lukas Matic, Kane Grant, Joel Cain, William Achermann, Benjamin Canham, Alexander Wolf, James Rook (c)
CMU21 2-Lukas Matic, William Achermann
CMU21 2-Nicholas Vlachodimitropoulos, Tom Murray


Nagambie Regatta entries

Published 5th February 2020

Whilst some are at the NSW Championships, the others are at Nagambie regatta.

MU211XConnor Shugg, Coaches: Dylan Curnow, Nicholas Lloyd
MU211XJordan Roberts, Coaches: Dylan Curnow, Nicholas Lloyd
MU212-Stearns Weil, Marcus Cain, Coaches: Dylan Curnow, Nicholas Lloyd
MU212-Alexander Selemba, Jamie Forwood, Coaches: Dylan Curnow, Nicholas Lloyd
MU212-Timothy Benton, William Kalikman, Coaches: Dylan Curnow, Nicholas Lloyd
MU211XJordan Roberts, Coaches: Dylan Curnow, Nicholas Lloyd
MU211XConnor Shugg, Coaches: Dylan Curnow, Nicholas Lloyd
FO2-Kate Duggan [MERC], Thea Adamson [BANKS]
FO2-Gemma Sibillin, Georgia Deacon
FU212-Steph Ferrali, Eleanor Millear, Coaches: Brigette Carlile, David Colvin, Samuel Fennessy
FU211XLouisa Bongrain, Coaches: Brigette Carlile, David Colvin, Samuel Fennessy
MU214+Marcus Cain, Alexander Selemba, Timothy Benton, William Kalikman, Cox: Phillip Tran, Coaches: Dylan Curnow, Nicholas Lloyd
FU214+Olivia Sargeant, Lulu Murrell, Alice Levin, Faith Zehfuss, Cox: Eyrin McCarthy, Coaches: Brigette Carlile, David Colvin, Samuel Fennessy
FU214+Teagan Blythe, Paige Barr, Emily Sutherland, Sophie Reinehr, Cox: Lily Arnoul, Coaches: Brigette Carlile, David Colvin, Samuel Fennessy
MU218+Stearns Weil, Jordan Roberts, Jamie Forwood, Alexander Selemba, Marcus Cain, Connor Shugg, Timothy Benton, William Kalikman, Cox: Phillip Tran, Coaches: Nicholas Lloyd, Dylan Curnow
FU218+Louisa Bongrain, Olivia Sargeant, Steph Ferrali, Eleanor Millear, Teagan Blythe, Paige Barr, Emily Sutherland, Sophie Reinehr, Cox: Lily Arnoul, Coaches: Brigette Carlile, David Colvin, Samuel Fennessy


Moomba Launch 12 February 2020

Published 5th February 2020

The City of Melbourne will be conducting a media launch on Wednesday 12th February for Moomba Festival. Details for this media launch can be found below.
Wednesday 12th February
9.30am – 12pm
The area west of Richmond Rowing Club.

Access to the water will not be impacted. However expect parking inspectors.

To facilitate this media launch a portion of Boathouse Drive between the bollards that are to the west of the boatsheds and Princes Bridge will be excluded to the public.

A thoroughfare will be maintained so that pedestrians and cyclists can still pass by. Access to the river will not be impacted. Please see map below detailing media launch location.


From the vaults – Olympic Boycotts

Published 5th February 2020

Many rowers believe that the very sad Olympic boycotts were an invention of 1980 Moscow Games by the western countries and of 1984 Los Angeles Games by the eastern European countries .

In fact the invention of the Olympic boycotts was one from the 1956 Melbourne Games.

Inside the Games website reported as follows: The 1956 Olympics in Melbourne were affected by a number of boycotts. Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon announced they would not participate in the Games in response to the Suez Crisis when Egypt was invaded by Israel, Britain and France after Egypt nationalised the Suez canal. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union crushed the Hungarian Revolution, leading to the withdrawal of the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland. Less than two weeks before the Opening Ceremony November, the People’s Republic of China chose to boycott the event because Taiwan, officially the Republic of China had been allowed to compete.China did not compete in the Olympics again until Los Angeles 1984.

One of those people impacted was former FISA President Thomi Keller who was selected to race in the double scull for Switzerland. His subsequent passionate opposition to boycotts was very understandable.

The following story was compiled by your correspondent on the 1980 boycott which was opposed successfully by most Australian sports. It provided an excellent Olympic grounding for a certain John Coates.

Australian Olympic Rowing Team

At that time John was the young Honorary Secretary of Rowing Australia and also the administration manager of the Olympic team. The rowers were against the boycott and the administration of their sport backed them.

John in the second row as a member of the team administrative staff

John led the campaign and withstood significant Federal Government pressure to withdraw. In return they lobbied AOC members to allow individual sports to decide, and then politicians. This involved skilled public relations work, superb advocacy skills, undertaking novel activities for the time such as taking key people to training camps to meet the team and probably most of all, great strength and resilience. Personally, I attribute this experience to his dogged determination to make the AOC independent of government and the magnificent deal he settled with the NSW government in 1996.

As an aside, the 1980 Olympic rowing team left Australia before the decision was made and was in flight. Their pilot received the decision and announced it with the words, “How good is your Russian?” The plane erupted with cheers and tears of joy from all but a certain Federal Cabinet Minister with strong rowing connections travelling on the same flight. He held a contrary view and found himself not welcomed. He retreated to the anonymity of first class and later wisely let his rowing connections lapse.


Past news can be found through the link.