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australian rowers profiles and history

Kim Mackney

Mosman/Sydney/UTS Haberfield/Drummoyne/Glebe Rowing Clubs (NSW)

The record which stood out for the author in undertaking this profile was not Kim's Olympic selection, but that Kim has raced every year over the past 63 years. He has competed every season during that time from beginner to successful master. This is an achievement which, in the writers knowledge, is as yet unbeaten. Well done Kim.

Kim, son of 1936 Olympian Walter, commenced rowing at an early age when his father took him down to Mosman Rowing Club at Mosman Bay. He wasn't yet a teenager and "went out in an eight that was like rubber, bending through the waves". He did not know that his father was a famous sportsman at that stage of his life.

His first organised rowing was at Newington College in 1961 where he rowed from the age of thirteen. He has vivid memories of two memorable races during his Newington time, winning the third four in 1964 and the Head of the River in 1966. "Both are like they were raced yesterday." It is interesting that he regarded the Nepean River as a key part of his life having raced on it for a lot of his life.

Mosman Rowing Club was not to be his long term home. A disagreement with his Mosman coach on his prospects, led him to go to Sydney, shortly after he left school.

At Sydney, there was to be no going through the ranks, he want straight into the senior squad and making the Australian Trans Tasman team by October 1967. The Sydney senior four was the dominant Sydney Four of 1967-68 and was selected for the Trans Tasman without change. The Sydney Rowing Club annual report acknowledged that "[a]lthough not having a great deal of success in New Zealand, partly because of equipment problems and constant travelling, this crew gained a great deal of experience. The 'experiment' of rowing Alf Duval in the stroke seat proved very successful throughout the remainder of the season." This 'experiment' paid off with Alf stroking the 1968 Olympic eight.

1967 Australian Trans Tasman Four with Kim in the two seat

He won both the NSW Champion Coxed Four and Eight in this first season. "I thought top rowing was a piece of cake and it was only afterwards that I realised how hard it was to make the top crews." A measure of his success that season was being runner up in the Sydney Rowing Club highest point scorer in the NSWRA season.

The following season (1968-69) was equally successful with two more senior NSW Championships and a seat in the NSW King's Cup crew. Following the 1968 Olympic Games with many senior retirements, Kim raced in Sydney's only Championship crew that season (1969-70) - the coxless pair. He raced successfully and won the Club's point score trophy jointly with Guy Horsley. He also was selected into the State Eight.

The 1970-71 was a mirror of the past season without the State selection, with success continuing in the pair with Guy Horsley.

The following season (1971-72) saw NSW select composite crews to best prepare for Olympic selection. The NSW strategy was successful but Kim again missed State selection. His pair oared performances held him in good stead for the Olympic pair selections with numerous combinations trialled. Clearly the selectors were after bigger bodies than Mackney and his pair partner Guy Horsley could provide. However Mackney could not be raced out of his seat and ended up pairing up with Chris Stevens. Kim laments the fact that Guy wasn't selected as whilst "he was a small man, he was strong and built like brick shithouse".

The following season (1972-73) saw Kim try sculling recording wins in novice, maiden and junior sculls. He also won some senior eight and coxless four races which left him in good stead for an emergency position for the State eight. An Interstate Men's Coxless Pair Championships was conducted for the first time with two entries from each State permitted. Kim teamed up with Austin Curtin to win easily. Kim regretted that others were not allowed to participate to make it a more interesting race.

After a couple of seasons of lack of progression, Kim joined Haberfield in 1978 to race with the good scullers. This did not last and the lure of a good club soon drew him to Drummoyne which was doing very well at that time.

In 1980 he teamed up with Terry Davies to finish fifth in the National Championship Coxless Pair. This was a relationship which was to reappear many years later as a master with great success. In 1981, he had his last race at a NSW Championship regatta  in the coxed four. This was to be the end of his youthful rowing career and the start of a stellar masters career.

Highlight of his masters career? Ringing up his old pair partner Terry Davis after 25 years and enticing him down for a row. The pair worked well and the magic of years past was still there. Over two seasons, Terry lost 26 kilograms and they won many races both here in Australia and overseas. Their masters record included some 10 World Masters titles.

Great races? After lamenting that he had too many second places and "was bridesmaid more than I wanted", Kim selected his two school wins in 1964 and 1966 which very big for him at that time, and also the 1971 NSW Champion eights race. In the latter race, he recalled that the Sydney Rowing Club crew were the under dogs and the crew came from behind in a very exciting race. He recalls Michael Morgan falling back collapsing into his legs after the race exhausted but exhilarated by how great the race was for the crews.

What do you like about rowing? Like most rowers, it is the rhythm, run and effort combined, or "the physics of it" as Kim called it. The mesmerising therapeutic effect of having reasonable balance and run and being out with mates - "it is an art form".

Some details

1964 - GPS Head of the River, Newington Third Four, bow - First

1966 - GPS Head of the River, Newington First Eight, six seat - First

1967 - Trans Tasman Series - Men’s Four, two seat

1968 - NSW Championship Men's Coxed Four, two seat - First

1968 - NSW Championship Men's Eight, three seat - First

1968 – Interstate Championships, Men’s Eight, reserve

1968 - Interstate Championships, Men's Coxless Pair

1969 - NSW Championship Men's Coxless Four, two seat - First

1969 - NSW Championships Men's Eight, four seat- First

1969 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship bow – Second

1970 - NSW Championship Men's Coxless Pair, bow - First

1970 - NSW Championship Men's Eight, six seat - Second

1970 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship six seat - Fourth

1971 - NSW Championship Men's Coxless Pair, bow - First

1971 - NSW Championship Men's Eight, six seat - Second

1972 - National Championships Men's Coxless Four, three seat - First (row over)

1972 – Olympic Games – Men’s Coxless Pair stroke – eliminated in repechage

1973 – Interstate Men’s Eight Championship emergency

1973 – Interstate Men’s Pair Championship bow - First

1974 - National Championships, Men's Double Scull, stroke - Fourth

1974 - National Championships, Men's Coxless Four, two seat - Second

1976 - National Championships, Men's Quad Scull, bow - Second

1977 - National Championships, Men's Quad Scull, two seat - Second

1977 – Interstate Women’s Sculling Championship coach – Eliminated in repechage

1978 - National Championship Men's Coxless Pair, bow - Third

1980 - National Championships, Men's Coxless Pair, stroke - Fifth

Too many NSW, Australian and World Masters Championships to record.

Andrew Guerin
January 2022

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