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Australian Rowing History

1967 – 54th Men’s European Championships, Vichy FRA

Men’s Coxed Four – Eighth

Bow: Stephen Gillon VIC)
2: David Douglas (VIC)
3: John Harry (VIC)
Str: Graeme Boykett (VIC)
Cch: Hubert Frederico (VIC)

Men’s Eight – Sixth

Bow: Terry Hayes (NSW)
2: Ian McWhirter (NSW)
3: Chris Stevens (NSW)
4: Reg Free (TAS)
5: Michael Morgan (NSW)
6: Alf Duval (NSW)
7: Lindsay Freeman (NSW)
Str: Brian Denny (NSW)
Cox: Alan Grover (NSW)
Cch: Lance Robinson (NSW)

Men’s Scull – scratched

Robert Shirlaw (NSW)

The West German’s won under the great coach Karl Adam. 

The Australians suffered from equipment problems at this regatta with promised boats not being provided. A newspaper report at the time was headed "Morale of oarsmen at low ebb". It went onto go much further.  Morale of the Australian rowing squad is at rock bottom because of a lack of rowing shells. The European Championships start next Thursday and it will be next Monday before the crews can commence serious practice. The coxed four is practising in a heavy training shell and the eight is sharing a boat with US ladies crew who race in the women's European finals starting today. The eight have rowed less than eight miles in three completely unsatisfactory training sessions. The Australian squad is bitter with FISA officials for re-allocating a racing eight-oared shell promised to them two weeks ago to the US ladies eight. Team manager Mr Laurie Stepto said: "This your has taught us one lesson. It is hopeless to rely on borrowed shells in international competition."

To add to these problems, the boat used by the eight was holed and required material repairs prior to racing, they could not change their gearing for the final and they suffered a sickness issue. Despite all these issues, the crew impressed and clearly showed great promise.

In a large field of 16 nations, the eight finished second in their heat, only half a length behind the East Germans, in the second fastest time. They won their repechage but finished sixth in the final. 

The four could not repeat it's sparkling form of Canada finishing in the B final. The semi-final as usual turned out to be the key race for them. They started well being placed second through the first three 500m marks but could not match the strong finishes of the raced hardened other crew to the line finishing in fourth place. After the race, coach Hubert Frederico stated that the Australian crews were not as dedicated as the European crews and were as desperately keen to win. He went on to explain that this showed out noticeably in tight finishes where the Australians just could not match the European do-or-die efforts. He pointed to the government assistance provided to rowing in most countries, the pre-race competition as they had in Canada, unfamiliar surroundings and long and hard preparation of these European crews. He noted that the European crews failed to acclimatise in Canada to the unfamiliar surroundings and performed better on their home soil.


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