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Last Sunday, November 18 was a record day for College Rowing Program. Our crews won gold in 8 out of the 9 events we entered. Our crews collected gold medals in the prestigious Schoolboy VIII, Schoolboy IV, Year 10 VIII. The younger crews in Year 9 also won both their Finals.  

A surprisingly cool morning greeted early arrivals at Penrith’s International Regatta Centre for the 2018 Independent Schools Championships.  

The first race to feature a Saints boat was heat 1 of the Year 10 Coxed Quad Scull, crewed by Fred Warburton, Oliver Thomas, Fyn Laughton, Tom Gerrans and coxed by Tom Pfafflin. They led from start to finish of the 2000m course, winning very comfortably and progressing into the final, which they also won. That victory set the tone for a highly successful regatta for Saint Augustine’s.  

In the first heat of the Year 8 Coxed Quad Scull, Jacob Hickey, Austin Trevenar, Sean Crowe, Oscar St Pierre and cox Lachlan King finished fifth over the 1000m course. In the second heat, Tom Magee, Doogal McKenzie, Cody Murphy, Archie Pfafflin and cox Oliver Robinson were third at the halfway point, but despite pushing hard couldn’t quite overhaul their opponents. Nevertheless, although both boats made it through to the A final, neither was able to score a medal, finishing seventh and eighth. These young rowers will have learnt much from the experience.  

Next up was the First Four, a challenging boat class to race. Oscar Davis, Mungo Murphy, Patrick Burke, Jeremy Gategood and cox Ben Edwards led by 2 seconds at the halfway point, the Saints four pulled away strongly over the second 1000m to take the gold medal by 4 seconds.  

Three St Augustine’s boats were represented in the four heats of the Year 9 coxed quad scull, with the fastest nine to proceed to the A final. The Firsts (Jack Nugent, Oliver St Pierre, Ben Di Staso, Beau Nicholas and cox Ben Edwards) won their heat handsomely, as did the Seconds (Jackson Lind, Nicolaas Van Der Reyden, Tom Pfafflin, Joshua Wilson and cox Archie Pfafflin). By the time the Thirds (Brandon Smith, Joe Lynch, Liam Kilpatrick, Alex Bohm and cox Lachlan King) blitzed their smaller field to win by 13 seconds, Saints’ domination of the event seemed assured.  

After the places had been settled, the First and Second Saints boats had both made it through to the A final. The Firsts took the gold, leading from start to finish, while the Seconds had to settle for sixth.  

In the B final, the Thirds emerged triumphant from one of the few close races to feature a Saints boat.  

The straight final of the Year 10 Eight pitted Jack Nugent, Oliver Thomas, Fred Warburton, Oliver St Pierre, Ben Di Staso, Beau Nicholas, Fynn Laughton, Tom Gerrans and cox Ben Edwards against just two other boats, neither of which was able to provide the slightest challenge as the Saints crew dominated from start to finish and took out the gold medal.  

In single sculls, Beau Nicholas and Oliver St Pierre duelled their way down the 1000m of the Year 9 Division 1 race, Nicholas holding on to win by 3 seconds; while in the longer Year 11 event Nik Pender took gold just 2 seconds ahead of his teammate Patrick Burke.  

In the Schoolboy Single Scull, Captain of the Boats Torben Ungemach led at each split, and won the gold medal by three seconds from his nearest rival.  

The final event was the Schoolboy Eight, crewed by Oscar Davis, Mungo Murphy, Fynn Laughton, Jeremy Gategood, Patrick Burke, Tom Gerrans, Torben Ungemach, Nikolas Pender and coxed byTom Pfafflin. Saints finished the day as they had started (and as they had performed in most of their races in between), leading at every split and continuing to pull away to win by 14 seconds.  

Almost as gratifying as the great results – the school’s best ever at this regatta – was the fact that at the end of a very long day (which for some involved getting to Penrith for 6am), the boys were still hard at work unloading the boats back at the Mosman sheds past 7pm. For instilling that ethos of hard work, discipline and teamwork – as well as for developing a rowing program that goes from strength to strength – enormous credit must go to Coaches and Ex-Olympians Judith and Matt Ungemach.

Congratulations to all - a great achievement for Rowing.

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