Nicholas J Baker
Lindisfarne Rowing Club (TAS) and Mercantile Rowing Club (VIC)
Nick Baker commenced his rowing at the Friends School in Hobart in 1997. When his family moved to Launceston and he continued his rowing at Scotch Oakburn from 2000 to 2002. He rowed in their Head of the River in the first crew for two years, finishing second. He described himself as “the skinny tall kid”.
In 2003 he moved back to Hobart to attend the University of Tasmania. He rowed for the Lindisfarne Rowing Club where that “skinny tall kid” found a talented group of lightweight rowers who were continuing the great Tasmanian tradition of top quality lightweight rowing. By 2006 he was a finalist in the Australian Championships Under 23 lightweight single.
In 2007, he sculled and rowed sweep in open and under 23 lightweight events in 2007 winning his first of many Australian Championships in the lightweight eight.
In 2008, he reached the podium at the Australian Championships in the lightweight pair finishing third, and then won both the lightweight four and eight. He also got his first Tasmanian gig finishing second in in the Penrith Cup and also raced in the King’s Cup, albeit unsuccessfully.
In 2009, this winning tradition continued. He won again the lightweight four and lightweight Australian Championships.
In 2010 he moved to Melbourne for work. Why Mercantile? He knew Tommy Bertrand and obviously wanted a Club with some lightweight rowers. There was also mention of having a great time at a National after party at Mercs with a red light theme some years earlier.
This was to be his first big year. Apart from his obligatory Australian Championship lightweight eight, he was selected into the Australian lightweight eight which won silver at the World Championships at Lake Karapiro. It was to be, in his memory, his toughest race. It was a tight margin and a highly competitive race throughout.
2011 was to be even bigger. Apart from becoming Mercs Captain, Nick helped out the Tasmanians again in the King’s Cup and then became a World Champion in Bled in the lightweight eights. On the way of course, he picked up his fifth National lightweight eight Championship in a row.
On the race in Bled, Nick said it was amazing. The crew knew what they had to do and were confident about doing it. Then they nailed it. It was his best race.
Nick’s work then interfered and posted him to the States for a number of years. He is now back in Melbourne and a regular user of the Mercantile Rowing Club’s gym.
In answer to questions about what he liked about his competitive rowing career, beyond the World Championship win of course, it was getting up and doing quality work with his mates in the morning. It was also the process, the fitness and being on the water. He added that it was even more enjoyable when his mind got past the need to win and thought more about the quality and enjoyed he was doing.
Memorable races beyond the World Championships – winning a Head of the Yarra with Mercs. A great race to win and should be on every rowers agenda.
His memories of being Mercantile Captain? Renovations.
Nick is a great contributor to the sport. Not bad for that skinny tall kid!