Sydney makes rowing history
1 November 2010
History was made yesterday when the University of Sydney rowing eight defeated arch rivals University of Melbourne in a long and gruelling race on Sydney harbour.
The challenging course across 7.3km of open water saw the crews row from Leichhardt, past Cockatoo Island and then into the Lane Cove River to Riverview Wharf.
After a quick start Melbourne were soon overtaken by the men from Sydney who ended up winning by 10 boat lengths in a time of 22.3 minutes. In an earlier race between the women's eights, Melbourne won convincingly in a time of 24.58 minutes.
Among the following spectator fleet of cruisers, water taxis and tinnies were the Federal Minister for Sport, Senator Mark Arbib and the Vice-Chancellors of the University of Sydney and University of Melbourne, Dr Michael Spence and Professor Glyn Davis.
This was the first time in 150 years that the boat clubs from Australia's two oldest universities had met. The record books show that in 1860 Melbourne won a race held on the Yarra River. Among the Sydney team then was a young Edmund Barton who went on to become Australia's first Prime Minister in 1901.
Race convenor and Vice-President of the Sydney University Boat Club, Chris Noel said he hoped this was the beginning of a long tradition of annual head-to-head races which could soon mirror England's Oxford-Cambridge clash.
"Our rowers are amongst the best in the country and this is a fantastic opportunity for Australia's two leading universities to stage a world-class event and build on their historical rivalry." Next year's race will be held in Melbourne.
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