Scroll To Top
australian rowers profiles and history

Dr Christopher Grummitt

This page is under construction

Toowong Rowing Club (QLD)

Despite excellent careers as a club, state and national coxswain, club and state coach and club, state and national administrator, Chris' greatest work for the sport has been his part in the revolutionisation of regatta management technology in Australia from simple timing systems to the integrated system which now comprises the all inclusive sports presentation package. He current holds the position of regatta technology manager for Rowing Australia.

His work has evolved from simple push button timing systems on circuits designed and built by Chris to mobile phone access by spectators to immediate results and timing. The integration of his timing system with other systems has enabled the electronic receiving and validation of entries, through to regatta management software, timing, photo finish systems, to outputs including score board, web and TV. When Swiss timing first came to World Cup in Sydney in 2013, they commented that our systems were in advance of any other used by regatta associations around the world. For example, we were in front of World Rowing in transmitting live results to websites by at least 12 months. We are, through the great work of Chris and his co-ordination of other software providers, at least equal to and usually well in front of other countries. 

Chris has managed to combine his passion for rowing with his excellent technical skills. Rowing in Australia is lucky to have access to such an intelligent, capable and motivated individual.

Chris commenced his rowing at Brisbane Boys College in 1981 where he finished his schooling in 1983 as cox of their first eight. Sadly due to protests and appeals, the 1983 race was declared a 'no race". The protest lodged by Chris was upheld. However the ability to restore the position of the impacted crew could not be solved by giving the race to the second placed crew so a 'no race' was decided.

An engineering degree beckoned as did coxing with Toowong Rowing Club. In 1986, he was awarded an AIS scholarship and delayed his engineering studies for a year. He used his time in Canberra wisely, both in rowing and with studies - he undertook a computer science course to pursue his computing and electronics interests. Computing at this time was very new with accounting machines and early word processing systems being the only computers being used readily in business. He built his own cox box and stroke coach as none were in existence, and also spent time in the AIS labs experimenting. Reinhold Batschi also gave him the task of finding a better way of managing regattas given that the manual way took far too long and provided insufficient information. He started writing code for a regatta management system. It would have been a great time to be at the AIS as the men's program produced Australia's first gold medal in the men's eight at a World Championship.

He even trialed his timing system at the 1986 Australian Championships using stop watches to record time, and adding them to his timing system for results and draws. 1989 was the first Australian Championship at which the system was fully utilised with split times appearing for the first time. By 1991, the timing system was electronic and it has continuously evolved thereafter. By the mid 1990s, portable computers became common and reasonably priced and Chris started using HP iPacks for timing, taking over from his button pushing system. 

Contemporaneously, Chris also became a noted coach and administrator at club, then State then national levels.

Coach Chris with his winning 1990 Queens's Cup crew - the first and only time Queensland had won this event

His attachment with the Brisbane Schoolgirls Regatta Association and Somerville House goes back to the inaugural BSRA regatta. Chris coached the Somerville House first eight from the inaugural regatta in 1990 through to 2002 with two gaps, one where he coached the Brisbane State High School crew to a win. In total he coached five winning crews in this period. To reinforce this strong connection, the Grummitt family donated the BSRA trophy for first eights at this regatta.

Due to his commitment to coaching at the school level and other rowing commitments, Chris did not pursue his coaching career to highest levels. However he does hold the record of coaching Queensland's only win in the Queen's Cup and is only one of two people to cox and coach a King's Cup crew.

On the administrative side, Chris went from Captain of Toowong to Rowing Queensland management committee to Chairman of Rowing Queensland and their Councillor to Rowing Australia. Chris was particularly proud of the two Australian Championships conducted at Wivenhoe Dam during his chairmanship of Rowing Queensland. It is a course with very limited infrastructure and to produce two excellent regattas was a great achievement by the organising committee lead by Chris. Reflecting on this time, Chris mentioned that he was of course pleased when Queensland won the Rowing Australia Cup for the highest ranked state at the Interstate Championships in 2004. But more so he was pleased with the development work undertaken at that time and pushing Rowing Australia into the development area.

Back to regatta management.

In the late 1990's, Stephen Croot commenced the development of a regatta management system for NSW. This enabled Chris to focus on his timing system. Eventually Stephen's RP7 would become the national standard for regatta management and Chris' timing system integrated into RP7.

As the requirements of the Australian Championships grew, so did the need to have greater professionalism in the operation of the events. By about 2005, Chris was on the Rowing Australia Regatta Committee. RA regatta manager Matt Draper then set standards for Australian Championships which host states had to meet. These included use of Chris' timing system or one of similar standard. The author in the preface to the 2007 program, highlighted the co-operation of the Australian rowing community in putting on that event. Specifically it was noted that such regattas needed the best people from all states to make such an event operate at the standards expected. Chris obviously was given particular praise. Soon enough, a national team of experts would attend every national regatta to ensure the same high standards could be applied. Rowing Australia took over the regatta secretarial responsibilities and programming using national systems and people. 

What most people do not realise is that the technology for these Championships takes about a week to set up and a few days to take down at the other end. And during the regatta, there are many people and systems to manage in a dawn to dusk day, and usually longer.

In 2023, Chris was elected a life member of Rowing Australia, a well deserved recognition of his work.

In 2017 at SIRC

In 2019 at SIRC in a typical pose, probably late afternoon with his lunch still waiting for a spare moment

Highlights? "The progressive development of timing and the integration of regatta management and other specialist areas of responsibilities into an excellent sports presentation package. The growth has been impressive."

What has kept you in it for so long and being such an arduous task? "Pushing the boundaries and progressive improvements. And as with all rowing activities, the camaraderie of those involved in this development also plays a significant part in making it enjoyable."

In his spare time, Chris is the managing director of Grummitt Consulting Pty Ltd, a consulting engineering firm providing engineering services to the international construction industry. And during his voluminous rowing activities, he was also awarded a PhD in engineering, with the thesis combining engineering and computing.

Rowing record

Coxing

1981 - Commenced coxing at Brisbane Boys College

1983 - GPS Head of the River, BBC first crew, cox - no race declared

1985 - Queensland Champion Junior Eight, cox - First

1986 - AIS scholarship holder

1986 - National Championship Men's Coxed Four, cox - Fourth

1986 - National Championships Men's Under 23 Four, cox - First

1986 - Trans Tasman Series - Australian under 23 men's eight, cox

1987 - Queensland Championships, Men's Lightweight Eight, cox - First

1987 - National Championship Men's Coxed Four, cox - Fifth

1987 - Interstate Championships, Men's Eight, cox - Third

1988 - Queensland Championships, Men's Lightweight Eight, cox - First

1988 - National Championships, Men's Under 23 Coxed Four, cox - First

1988 - Interstate Championships, Men's Eight, cox - Fourth

1989 - Interstate Championships, Men's Eight, cox and coach - Race not conducted due to cyclone

Coaching

1989 - National Championships, Toowong under 23 men's four, cox & coach

1989 - Interstate Championships, Men's Eight, cox and coach - Race not conducted due to cyclone

1990 - BSRA Head of the River, Somerville House first eight coach - First

1990 - National Championships, Toowong Women's coach incl. Women's Pair and Four, Women's Under 19 scullers and Women's Under 19 Double Scull, co-coach- Third

1990 - Interstate Championships, Women's Four, coach - First

1991 - BSRA Head of the River, Somerville House first eight coach - First

1991 - Queensland Championships, Women's Junior Four, coach - First

1991 - Queensland Championships, Women's Junior Double Scull, coach - First

1991 - Queensland Championships, Women's Youth Four, coach - First

1991 - National Championships, Women's Under 23 Pair, coach - Second

1991 - Interstate Championships, Women's Youth Four, coach - Fourth

1992 - Queensland Championships Women's under 23 four, co-coach - First

1992 - Queensland Championships Women's under 19 four, coach - First

1992 - Queensland Championships Women's under 19 double scull, coach - First

1992 - Queensland Championships Women's under19 pair, coach - First

1992 - Queensland Championships Women's youth eight, coach - First

1992 - Queensland Championships Women's under 19 lightweight pair, coach - First

1992 - BSRA Head of the River, Brisbane State High School first eight co-coach - First

1992 - National Championships, Women's Junior Four, coach - Fourth 

1993 - Queensland Championships, Women's junior double scull, coach - First

1993 - National Championships, Women's Under 19 scull, coach - Fifth

1993 - National Championships, Women's Under 19 Double Scull, coach - Fourth

1993 - National Championships, Women's Under 19 Four, coach - Fourth

1994 - Queensland Championships, Women's Under 23 pair, coach - First

1994 - Queensland Championships, Women's Junior Double Scull, coach - First

1994 - BSRA Head of the River, Somerville House first eight coach - First

1995 - Queensland Championships, Women's Under 23 lightweight four, coach - First

1995 - Queensland Championships, Women's Under 23 lightweight pair, coach - First

1995 - Queensland Championships, Women's Under 19 double scull, co-coach - First

1995 - BSRA Head of the River, Somerville House first eight coach - First

1995 - National Championships, Women's Under 17 Four, coach - Third

1995 - National Championships, Schoolgirl Four, coach - Third

1995 - National Championships, Schoolgirl Eight, coach - First

1996 - BSRA Head of the River, Somerville House first eight coach - Second

1996 - National Championship, Women's Under 17 Four, coach - Third

1996 - National Championship, Women's Under 23 Lightweight Pair, coach - Third

1996 - Interstate Championships, Women's Youth Eight, coach - Fifth

1997 - BSRA Head of the River, Somerville House first eight coach - Third

1997 - National Championships, Women's Under 23 Lightweight Pair, coach - First

1997 - National Championships, Women's Under 19 Double Scull, coach - Fourth

1998 - National Championships, Women's Under 23 Lightweight Pair, coach - Third and Sixth

1998 - BSRA Head of the River, Somerville House first eight coach - Third

1999 - BSRA Head of the River, Somerville House first eight coach - Second

2000 - BSRA Head of the River, Somerville House first eight coach - Fourth

2000 - National Championships, Schoolgirl eight, coach - Seventh

2001 - BSRA Head of the River, Somerville House first eight coach 

2002 - BSRA Head of the River, Somerville House first eight coach 


Administration

Early 1990s - Club Captain, Toowong Rowing Club

1992-2003 - Rowing Queensland Management Committee

1993 - Australian Championships Organising Committee - RQ Chairman

1998-2003 - Rowing Queensland Chairman

1998-2003 - Rowing Australia - Rowing Queensland Councillor

2001 - Australian Championships Organising Committee - RQ Chairman


Technology and Regatta Management

1989 - National Championships, first use of the Grummitt timing system

1989 - today- Australian Championships - timing

2005 - today - Rowing Australia Regatta Committee

2012 - Rowing Australia - Technology Manager

Attended every Australian Championships since 1985.

2023 - Elected a life member of Rowing Australia.


Andrew Guerin
March 2023 (updated June 2023)

Website by Hope Stewart—Website Design & Management