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australian rowers profiles and history

Derek E Norwood

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Corio Bay Rowing Club (VIC) then Mercantile Rowing Club (VIC)

Derek was an accomplished and successful rower from Geelong who won two Heads of the River, two King's Cups, a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games and represented Australia at the first World Championships.

It was a great rowing career.

Derek commenced his rowing career at Geelong College along with some other greats of the sport including David Ramage and David Caithness. He raced in the five seat of the school's winning crews in 1955 and 1956. 

The coach was Albert Bell who continued to coach this talented group after these school days. When asked who was his most influential coach, Albert Bell was naturally the emphatic reply. However, he quickly added that he appreciated being coached by other people in Victorian crews and at Mercantile to add another perspective to his rowing.

After developing their rowing through the junior ranks, the Albert Bell four of David John, David Ramage, David Caithness and Derek entered senior rowing at 1958  at the Victorian Championships with Keith Van Den Belt coxing. Mercantile took the honours on this occasion by a canvas but their presence was noticed. They raced every Victorian Championship four through to 1963 and also the eight in 1961 and 1962. The crew also raced at NSW Championships and won, thought to be in 1962.

Victorian King's Cup crew selection was one of the rewards for effort. Derek was selected into both the 1961 and 1963 King's Cup crews which both won. Why not in 1962? In that year, the Corio Bay four decided to focus on their four for the Commonwealth Games and so did not nominated for the Sate crew. He was also selected into the 1964 squad but had to withdraw after the death of his father in Tasmania where he lived. In the end two wins from two starts, a great result.

Clearly his Corio four was a key part of his career. But he remembers clearly the 1961 Victorian crew which clicked together as some crews do. "It was magic".

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