The Australian Rowing Team began its title defence of the Rusty Robertson Trophy in fine form today (Thursday). The team lead the opening day of the first leg of the U21 Trans-Tasman Regatta against New Zealand, 78 points to 76 points.

In testing wet and cold conditions, the crews took to the waters of the Sydney International Regatta Centre for the first day of the annual regatta. With heats in the morning, the finals in the afternoon provided Australia with three gold medals. Alex Grzeskowiak (Capital Lakes RC) in the Men’s Single Scull, Paddy Holt and Nick Lavery (both UTS Rowing Club) in the Men’s Pair and Charlotte Wirtz (MUBC) in the Women’s Single Scull all picked up wins and added valuable points to the table for Australia.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s  gold medals came from Justine Hobbs and Shannon Cox in the Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls, James Brott and Jordan Gasson the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls, Jack Castle the Lightweight Men’s Single, Jessica Turfrey and Grace Holland in the Women’s Pair and Kaylin Wren in Lightweight Women’s Single.

With multiple second, third and fourth place finishes, Australia came away with a marginal lead on the opening day of the regatta. Australia’s reserve rowers deserve special mention for their efforts today in Penrith. Connor Ryan (North Esk) stepped into the Men’s Pair to come second in his heat, alongside Alex Nichol, and then third in the Final. Meanwhile, Lightweight Women’s Single Sculler, Portia Bennett (UQBC) rowed both the Lightweight and Open weight Women’s Single Scull today – racing a total of four races in order to keep Australia in the running for points.

Big boat racing begins tomorrow, with the draw and live results available here.

A reminder that points are calculated as follows:

Points for racing will be awarded in the finals as follows:

  1. 1st – 6 points, 2nd – 4 points, 3rd – 2 points and 4th – 1 point for –W1x, M1x, W2- and M2-.
  2. 1st – 6 points and 2nd – 4 points for LW2x, LM2x, W4-, M4-, W4x, M4x, W8+ and M8+.
  3. 1st – 2 points and 2nd – 1 point for LW1x, LM1x and MixL2x.Medals will be awarded to the first-placed boat in each category.