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Australian Rowing History

1979 – Royal Canadian Henley, St Catharines CAN 

Robin Poke in his history of Australian Rowing reported as follows:

The AWRC named Australia's first lightweight women's rowing team in response to an invitation from the United States to compete at the American championships in Detroit. It comprised a coxed four from the YWCA Club in Melbourne coached by Kath Bennett and a coxless pair, also Victoria-based. The championships took place from 14 to 17 June 1979.

Due to travel delays, the squad arrived only 36 hours before competing, so opted instead to contest the Canadian Championships at St Catharine's a few weeks later. This had been the venue for the 1970 World Championships.

There were 17 entries in the fours and 15 in the pairs in the championships. Both crews won their heats easily recording the fastest times.

In the four's 1000 metre final, the six crews could not be separated at the half-way mark. By 600 metres, the Australians - Mary Lou Johnston, Christine Betremieux, Michele Wright, Anne Maree Cox (stroke) and coxswain Jane Davidson - led by a length while rating 36, despite headwind conditions. They won the event in a time of three minutes 55 seconds with crews from Toronto and Washington second and third.

The pair won even more convincingly. Roslyn Barnard from Corio Bay and Monash University's Andrea Giles raced away to a four-lengths lead and rating 38 into the wind won in four minutes four seconds ahead of club crews Hamilton Leander and St Catharine's.

The aim of the AWRC to establish women's lightweight rowing at international level had been effectively realised.

Women’s Lightweight Pair - Gold

Bow: Ros Barnard (VIC)
Str: Andrea Giles (VIC)
Cch: Stephen Mollard (VIC)

Women’s Lightweight Four - Gold

Bow: Mary-Lou Johnston (VIC)
2: Christine Betremieux (VIC)
3: Michele Wright (VIC)
Str: Anne Maree Cox (VIC)
Cox: Jayne Davidson (VIC)
Emergency: Lesley Cummins (SA)
Cch & Manager: Kath Bennett (VIC)


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