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australian rowers profiles and history

A Max Cunningham

Swan River Rowing Club (WA)

Cunningham's first King's Cup was eventful for all the wrong reasons. Bill Cooper reports in his WA Rowing history "Home and Dry" published in 2008 as follows.

The King’s Cup was rowed over three miles at Penrith, with the Western Australian crew in a new boat built by Ninham and christened by Association president Jack Howson’s wife Elizabeth in March. The race was both dramatic and disappointing for, during the second mile, Max Cunningham in the four-seat experienced a partial blackout. The crew battled on, however, with the prospect of victory still real until, with 300 yards to row, Cunningham collapsed completely, creating a domino effect upon Francis, Lowry and Child, who all had to stop rowing. The stern four were left to bring the boat home, going down to Victoria by a little over a length. According to Robert Jeffreys, who was there at the time: … the Western Australian crew had shown by its good performance in coming second under difficulties at Penrith last Saturday that it was a good crew. With its knowledge of local conditions, it might win next year.

His success in 1960 left this episode as a dim memory.

1953 - PSA Head of the River, First Crew (Aquinas) - Third

1954 - PSA Head of the River, First Crew (Aquinas) -  Second

1958 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship four seat – Second

1960 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship four seat – First

1960 - Olympic Games - Men’s Eight Four seat - eliminated in repechage

Max in the four seat of the winning 1960 WA crew

Andrew Guerin
June 2021

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