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australian rowers profiles and history

Nick Inglis

Mercantile Rowing Club, then Power House Rowing Club, then Yarra Yarra Rowing Club (VIC)

This long and distinguished rowing career started modestly with a winning fourth eight at Scotch College Melbourne. This success and his schoolboy sculling, were enough to excite Nick to do more, much more. In fact, 37 years of rowing to the date of this profile, and 33 years as a coach. Further and more importantly, Nick has at least that amount of rowing yet to come. He recounts how he enjoyed speaking with the Ancient Mariners crew and how it inspired to be rowing at the same age.

Nick clearly loves his on water rowing and passing on this joy to the crews he has coached. He has also put back into the sport as an administrator both at club and State levels - currently President of Yarra Yarra Rowing Club and has served on the board of Rowing Victoria Inc.

It is difficult trying to sum up Nick's approach to the sport in a small number of words. He is an enthusiast, who is full of energy and positivity. But he is also astute and a planner. As with all rowers, he understands the benefits of delayed satisfaction of success and so the need for the long term view to achieve it. This is also exhibited in his development of fellow rowers at his club to form crews in which he can compete and also in his start up business which is now on the verge of booming.

His positive approach and determination leads him to view barriers and better credentialed crews as just challenges to be overcome. As a result, he does not derive pleasure from winning easily - defeating a better competitor or winning from behind is where he gains most satisfaction. 

As you would expect of the founder of a start up business, he is entrepreneurial. At the same time, he is always interested in others and praises their work. He has plenty of time to talk about his coaches who have taken the time to teach him about the sport and also those who have joined him on a rowing journey.

But if only one word could be used to capture him, it would be passion. This is amply demonstrated in his rowing, his start up business, and his family.

The following summary provides a summary of his rowing career.

International racing

National racing

Rowing Victoria

Notable Victorian wins

Victorian Amateur Sculling Association regattas

Scotch College (Hawthorn) 1987-1990, 1998-1999

St Catherines (Toorak)1996-1998

Queens College Boat Club 1991- 2010

Melbourne University

Mercantile 1991-1992

Power House Rowing Club 1995 - 2019

Yarra Yarra Rowing Club 2022 - present

However in discussion with Nick, a little more flavour is obtained. 

School rowing

On his school coaches - Peter Watkin taught me how to race plan, Graeme Boykett taught me how to row and Paul McGann taught me how to row hard.

As an aside, Nick attempted to teach Drew Ginn how to row a single, but … unfortunately I tipped him in on the landing. His subsequent success has nothing to do with my attempt. It is lucky he came back for a second paddle.

Perhaps the most formative part of his schoolboy rowing was a love of sculling derives from the ability as a boarder to go out by himself on the weekends on long rows to develop his boat moving skills. He won a Victorian Winter Sculling Association award coming from no where to win. His sculling prowess was kept well under the radar.

In his first few years out of school at Mercantile Rowing Club, Nick rowed in the lightweight squad and also raced in the Queen's College crews. His Queen's College association initially as a rower, and then as a coach from 1995, was to last well over 20 years. He also raced at his first National Championships in 1992 in a Mercantile Under 23 scull. Given the Mercs emphasis on sweep rowing, there was no surprise that he raced in the only wooden boat in the field.

His time at Mercantile was not entirely successful as he returned to the family farm each summer for three months.

After racing with Andrew Holman at Queen's, Nick and Andrew joined Power House in 1995. This was to be Nick's club for nearly 25 years at which he raced throughout and coached for some 20 years. His work was recognised with being awarded honorary life membership. 

There are too many Power House races and coached crews to mention here. But during discussion with him, some stories and races filtered through. 

In 1996, he and Andrew Holman raced in the senior A pair at the Nationals and finished as semi-finalist in 14th place, some 30 seconds behind future Olympic silver medalists Rob Scott and David Weightman. Being club lightweights, they were pleased with their performance which placed them mid-field amongst well credentialled crews. In 2024, David Weightman returned to racing at the Australian Masters Championships and the Holman/Inglis combination had a second chance. Now only a mere 0.03 second now separated these rowers over 1000m. The second loss appeared to hurt Nick more than the first!

Like so many other rowers, the Head of the Yarra arises in their memories. In Nick's case, his first win was in a very fast mixed eight stroked by Rachael Taylor which finished 10th overall. As mentioned above, he has had six wins as a rower and three wins as a coach.

A disagreement with the approach of the Power House Rowing Club committee on the cost of learn to row at the club, led Nick to join Yarra Yarra Rowing Club in 2019. He found the club welcoming and also found some masters rowers with whom he could row. This group has developed greatly with Nick's involvement and encouragement.

His scull. In 1998 he purchased a Sykes lightweight scull which he has raced in ever since - some 25 years. In a surprise move to your author, Nick advised that he was buying a new scull, an Empacher.

The highlight of Nick's open racing must be his 2010 Nationals Championships with gold in the lightweight double scull with Scott Penning, bronze in the lightweight quad with Scott Penning, Glenn Fischmann and Will Day, and a silver in the first ever club four event with Andrew Holman, Shane O’Connor Smith and Conrad Tulloch. Power House then sent a crew to Henley Royal Regatta to raced in the Britannia Challenge Cup (coxed four) and were semi-finalists. It must be remembered that Nick was well past the usual age for racing open and had already raced masters for at least four years beforehand. 

Not done with open racing, Nick and his Power House crew raced the Club Eights at the 2016 National Championships and won bronze. Nick recounts that it was the most over celebrated bronze medal in history. A crew ranging in age from 50 to 25 rowed through the field to win a bronze in the first club eight race to be held. “See those old men, they are walking away with your medals” Coach of Toowong crew. Finally, Nick raced in the Sprint Quad at 2022 Australian Championships, his last attempt in the Open Championships.

Memorable masters races? He loved the World Masters Men's A Eight race in 2009 when the Power House crew defeated the crews from Russia and America in a very tight race. It was the only time that I have heard a thousand people yelling for Powerhouse to win. It was a win against the odds and so memorable. Also memorable were his many Interstate Masters victories and some Australian Masters Championships where he won a large number of races.

On coaching? Nick is always thankful those who have coached him and readily credits them with what he learned. He is a big fan of volunteer coaching and other than for one early paid coaching role, he has insisted on volunteering his time for others. In terms of memorable coaching roles, he enjoyed the challenge of coaching school girls as they absorb and query so much. Their youthful intelligence and desire to learn required a large amount of planning and skill to achieve good results and maintain their youthful curiosity. He says that he learned more about coaching from coaching schoolgirls than any other groups. 

The Yarra Yarra Rowing Club newsletter 'Yarra Yabbie' no 52, 19 September 2020 recorded:

Meet Nick Inglis

Nick Inglis’ main rowing ambition is to be racing as an eighty year old. And to keep developing as a coach. And to compete his continent clean-sweep by rowing in North and South America. Oh, and to give more back to the sport he so loved since school.

When he arrives at boarding school in Melbourne he was strong from farm-work, but zero sporting skills. At that time, the most promising students were directed into tennis, swimming or cricket. “They threw a ball at me, I managed to dodge and fumble it, and my rowing career was under way,” he said. “I won my first medal in the 10th 8+, then spent that winter learning to scull.”

Nick is very proud of his coaching career as well. “More than 100 people, mostly volunteers, have coached me during the years,’ he said. My commitment now is to repay them by passing skills and knowledge on to new generations. I get as much thrill watching a novice crew win their first medal as an experienced crew take on Henley!

“I have been inspired by the ancient mariners racing squad, by novice rowers who are keen to learn and who have new insights, by the great oarsmen and women who row the Yarra, and by some of the best coaches in Australia,” Nick said, he fondly remembers Keith Bilney (24 March 1913- 24 September 1994), who advised rowers to relax while setting an escalating series of drills and exercises, all of which seemed to make the boat go faster*. However, when Nick tried applying these lessons in his own coaching practice, he realised how much knowledge and experience went into tailoring each exercise to correct a specific error, or to strengthen good practice.

Nick is as proud of coaching Queens College Boat Club for 20 years as of all his racing. “The best thing about coaching university kids is that they are ready to take on knowledge quickly, and then how willing they are to come back the following season to row or coach themselves. Watching two decades of non-rowers become athletes, and then to become up-and-coming coaches. That’s gratifying.”

Rowing moments to select just one, but he laughed when he remembered his first row with Powerhouse Rowing Club. “We headed upstream in the club’s beautiful timber coxed four, and came face to face with a MUBC eight traveling downstream. Their bow rigger shaved off the top five centimetres of our boat, from the bow ball to the bowman. Their stroke called ‘save yourselves’ and dived; we carried our boat the 2 kms home.

He had a better introduction to Yarra Yarra Rowing Club, for whom his first race was during the 2018 Saltwater Challenge. His crew won the male open 4x/-, registering the fastest time on the day.

His other ambition? “They don’t call me Bingy by accident. I’m trying to keep the major collisions down to one a decade,”

*Bruce Ricketts has an alternative take on the Bilney coaching question: Square blades + wide grip + feet out + legs only = swimming lesson.

In summary, a remarkable rowing career so far and a fascinating person to boot. Your correspondent looks forward to following Nick's rowing and business careers with great interest.

(For those who like the details, the timeline used to produce this profile is reproduced at the foot of this page. 

Andrew Guerin with contributions from Jim Skidmore
June 2024


Timeline compiled in the process of putting together this profile:

1987-88 - Sculling under coach David Boykett

1989 - APS Junior regatta, Scotch 10th eight

1990 - APS Head of the River, 4th eight - First

1990 - Victorian Sculling Association, Brady Cup  - First

1991 - Joined Mercantile lightweight squad 

1991 - Victorian Sculling Association, Around the island - Eighth

1991 - Intercollegiate rowing, Queens College 2nd eight

1991 - Australian University Championships, Men's Scull

1992 - Mercantile lightweight squad 

1992 - Queens College Boat Club (QCBC) 1st eight

1992 - National Championships, Under 23 Scull

1993 - Intercollegiate rowing - QCBC 1st eight

1994 - Intercollegiate rowing - QCBC 1st eight

1995 - Victorian Championships, Intermediate Four - First (Power House Rowing Club)

1995 - Intercollegiate rowing, QCBC men's second eight, coach (first of 20 years coaching this club)

1996 - National Championships, Men's Pair - semi-finalist

1996 - Intercollegiate rowing - QCBC mens seconds, coach

1996 - Head of the Schoolgirls, St Catherines School, coach 

1997 - National Championships, Men's lightweight pair, unplaced

1997 - Head of the Yarra, Mixed eight - First

1997 - National Championships, Men's Lightweight Pair, unplaced

1997 - Intercollegiate rowing, QCBC men's seconds, coach

1997 - Head of the Schoolgirls, St Catherine's School, coach

1998 - National Championships, Men's Lightweight Scull, unplaced

1998 - Intercollegiate rowing, QCBC men' s seconds, coach

1998 - APS Junior Regatta, Scotch college 6th eight, coach - undefeated season

1998 - Power House Rowing Club, coach

1999 - National Championships, men's Lightweight Scull, unplaced

1999 - Intercollegiate rowing, QCBC men' s seconds, coach

1999 - Power House Rowing Club, coach

2000 - National Selection regatta, Men's lightweight scull, eighth

2000 - Intercollegiate rowing, QCBC Women’s Firsts, coach

2001 - Intercollegiate rowing, QCBC Men’s Firsts, coach

2001 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2002 - Intercollegiate rowing, QCBC Men’s Firsts, coach

2002 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2003 - Intercollegiate rowing, QCBC Men’s Firsts, coach - First

2003 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2004 - Intercollegiate rowing, QCBC Men’s Firsts, coach - First

2004 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2005 - Dimboola Regatta, Sprint Four - First

2005 - NSW Championships, men’s coxed 4, second

2005 - Intercollegiate rowing, QCBC Men’s Firsts, coach - First

2005 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2006 - National Championships, Men's lightweight double - Fourth

2006 - Intercollegiate rowing, QCBC Men’s Firsts, coach - First

2006 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2006 - Rowing Victoria A Grade Rower of the Year

2006 - Australian Masters Championships, Gold MA4+, MB2x, MB8, Silver MA1x, MA4x, MA8, Bronze MA2x

2007 - Intercollegiate rowing, QCBC Men’s Firsts, coach - First

2007 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2007 - Australian Masters Championships, Gold MixA8, Silver MA1x, MA4x, MA8, MB8, Bronze MA4+, MB2x, MC4+

2008 - Australian Masters Championships, Gold MA8, MB8, MA4x-, MB4+, MB2-, MB2x, Silver MixAB8, MA4+, Bronze MA1x, MC8

2008 - Intercollegiate rowing, QCBC Men’s Firsts, coach - First

2008 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2009 - Australian Masters Championships, Gold MB8, MA8, MD8, MA4x-, MB4+, Silver MixAB4+, MA4+, MixAB8, Bronze MixC2x

2009 - Intercollegiate rowing, QCBC Men’s Firsts, coach

2009 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2009 - World Masters Games, Gold: MA8, MB8, Silver MixA2X, Bronze MA1x, MA4x

2009 - Power House Rowing Club coach 

2010 - National Championships, Men's Lightweight Double - Gold, Men's Lightweight Quad - Bronze, Men's Club Four - Silver

2010 - Australian Masters Championships,  4th in Champion of champions, Gold MA4x, MA4+, MB1x, Silver MB8, Bronze MA1x, MA8, MB4-

2010 - Royal Henley Regatta, Britannia Challeneg Cup (coxed four) - Semi finalist in

2010 - Intercollegiate rowing, QCBC Men’s Firsts, coach

2010 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2011 - National Championships, Men's Lightweight Double - Silver, Men's Lightweight Quad -  Silver

2011 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2012 - Australian Masters Championships - Gold MC4x-, bronze MC4+, MB2x

2012 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2013 - Australian Masters Championships, Interstate Quad - First, Gold MIS4x-, MC8, MC4x-, MB2x, Bronze MB1x

2013 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2014 - Australian Masters Championships, Interstate Quad - First, Gold MD4x, MD2-, MD4-, Silver MC8+, Bronze MB1x

2014 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2015 - National Championships, Men's Club double scull - Silver

2015 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2015 - Australian Masters Championships, Interstate quad - First, Gold MC2-, MC4-, MD2-, MD4-, Silver MC1x(0.06)

2016 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2016 - National Championship, Men's Club eight - Bronze

2016 - Australian Masters Championships, Interstate Quad - First, Gold ISM4x, M2x (A Goldstien), MC2- (A Holman), MC4-, Silver MC1x (0.09), MB2-, Bronze MB8, MD4-, Mclub8

2017 Australian Masters Championship, Chairman of organising committee, Interstate Quad - First, Gold ISM4x-, MC1x, MC2-, MC4-, Silver MB4-, MD4-, 5th : champion of champions

2017 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2018 - Australian Masters Championships. Interstate Quad - First, Gold ISM4x-,  MB4x, MC2-, MC4-, Bronze MC1x, MC8+

2018 - Power House Rowing Club, coach 

2019  - Head of the Yarra, MMD8+ (YYRC) - First and Intermediate Eight (coach) - First

2019 - Australian Masters Championships, Interstate Quad - First, Gold MIS4x- MC2-, MD2x, Silver MC4-, ME2x, ME4x,

2019 - Yarra Yarra Rowing Club, coach 

2020 - COVID year and regattas cancelled

2021 - Australian Masters Championships, Interstate Quad - Third, Silver MA2-, MB8+, MC2-, MD2x, ME4x,  Bronze MIS4x-, MD8+, MD4x-

2021 - Yarra Yarra Rowing Club, coach 

2022 - National Championships, Sprint Quad - unplaced

2022 - Australian MastersChampionships - Interstate Quad - First, Gold MIS1x, MD1x, MD2x, Silver MB4x-, MB2-, Bronze MD2-

2022 - Yarra Yarra Rowing Club, coach 

2023 - Australian Masters Championships, Interstate Quad - unplaced, Silver MD1x, MD2x, MD2-, MD4+, 

2023 - Yarra Yarra Rowing Club, coach 

2024 - Australian Masters Championships, Interstate Quad - Third, Silver MD1x, MD2x, MD2-, Bronze E2x

2024 - Yarra Yarra Rowing Club, coach 

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