After four years the Australian Boat Race returned to the Yarra River over the weekend, hosting the best student-athlete rowers from the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney. Hundreds of spectators lined the river for the races which saw the Sydney crews taking victories in both main races.
The event opened with the College races, with Trinity and Ormond College representing Melbourne in the Men’s and Women’s events respectively. Both crews put on an impressive display, with Ormond facing off against St. Paul’s College and Trinity taking on Wesley College. The Melbourne Colleges completed a double sweep, taking out both races convincingly.
The much-anticipated Australian Boat Race events lived up to the excitement, providing the scores of spectators two exhilarating races.
The Women's race started with both crews battling head-to-head for ascension on the river. The Sydney crew emerged from the first bend in the course in the lead, and held onto their position over the 4.1km race, crossing the line around 15 seconds infront of Melbourne.
Captain Eliza Gaffney remarked on her crew’s youth and potential, expressing confidence in Melbourne’s ability to retake the Bella Guerin Trophy in the coming years;
“We’re a slightly younger crew who are still developing; we’re looking forward to the future”.
The Men’s race started in windy conditions and some controversy, with the 2 boats almost colliding while vying for pole position around first turn of the course which led to the race being restarted by race officials. In the second race, The Sydney crew got off to an early lead and powered to a dominant victory over the Melbourne crew.
Despite the result, the ABR represents the tail-end of an otherwise extremely successful year for MUBC and the University’s rowing athletes, with Gaffney sharing what it means to herself to represent the University and MUBC following her national title winning season with MUBC;
“It’s such a privilege. We’re very lucky to be students of the University and row at MUBC, we’ve got fantastic resources and we’re very grateful for the support we have from the University”.
The Edmond Barton and Bella Guerin Trophy tallies now sit at 2-11 and 8-5 for Melbourne and Sydney respectively, with much anticipation already building around MUBC and the University’s redemption campaign in 2024.