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history of australian rowing at world university games and the universiades

1987: 14th Summer Universiade, Zagreb, Yugoslavia


These Championships were conducted in Zagreb, Yugoslavia from 8th -19th July 1987.

The team manager Phil Manglesdorf noted in his report that the Universiade '87 was the first to hold rowing as a sport in its competition. 

He also described the disrupted selection and preparation. 

There were problems with the composition of the team because of a lack of information from the Rowing organisers in Zagreb as it was not clear whether the individuals in the team would be able to row in more than one event. Many hours and expensive phone calls and other communications eventually got the details of tht: exact race programme and rules which is vital to know, preferably before team. selections are made. 

The rowing team as selected was: 

Richard Powell, Qld. Senior A Men's single scull. 

Philip Ruben Bettle, Canberra. Lightweight Men's single scull. 

Justin Negri, Monash, Senior A Men's coxed four. Andrew Cohen, Monash, Senior A Men's coxed four. Paul Thonpson, Canberra, Senior A Men's coxed four and Coxless Pair. 

Glenn Myler, Canberra, Senior A Men's coxed four and coxless Pair. 

Bill Webster, LaTrobe, Senior A Men's coxed four as the coxswain. 

Coach and Manager : Phillip Mangelsdorf from S.A. 

Unfortunately Bettle withdrew from the team and Powell was unable to get leave from the Australian Senior A World Championship Team where he was also selected in the Double scull. 

Finally the regatta times and race programme details showed that Thompson and Myler could not race in both boats. They had been training in a pair at the A.LS. in Canberra whilst Negri and Cohen trained in Melbourne. The plan had been to get the four rowing together at the pre-departure camp at the A.LS. in late June. 

Instead it was decided to bring in two new rowers and create an independent coxed four. So added to the team were: 

Geoff Barden, R.M.I.T., Senior A Men's coxed four. 

Mark Mcinerney, S.A.C.A.E., Senior A Men's coxed four. 


Prior to competition in Zagreb, the crews raced in Luzern at the International Rotsee 87 Regatta. Given the expense of Switzerland, they moved to Zagreb after racing. Given that canoeing was held in the first week of the Universiade, training on the course was awkward and difficult.

The standard of racing was high with good depth in all fields.

Team manager Phil Mangelsdorf described the racing as follows.

The coxless pair of Paul Thompson (bow) and Glen Myler (stroke) were 4th in their heat in a faster time than they did at Luzern in similar conditions, so they were doing what we hoped for, but in rougher water and into a head wind they were eliminated in the repechage. So they did not make the top 12 or compete in the semifinals.

The coxed four raced with Geoff Barden (bow), Andy Cohen (2), Justine Negri (3), Mark McInerney (stroke) and Bill Webster (cox). They came 5th in their heat in a time that was almost l0 seconds faster than thcir best in Luzern in sirnilar conditions. Another 5th in their repechage saw them race in the small final for places 7 to 12 where they had their most competitive race finishing 4th (l0th overall) but only about 3 boat lengths and less than 9 seconds behind the second placed crew in that race.

Australian Team

Men's Coxless Pair - eliminated in repechage 

Bow: Paul Thompson (CAE - ACT)
Str: Glen Myler (CAE - ACT)
Coach in Australia: Paul McGann (AIS)

Men's Coxed Four - Tenth

Bow: Geoff Barden (RMIT -VIC)
2: Andrew Cohen (Monash - VIC)
3: Justin Negri (Monash - VIC) 
Str: Mark McInerney (CAE - SA)
Cox: William Webster (La Trobe - VIC)
Coach in Australia: Neil Myers (VIC)

Team Manager: Phil Mangelsdorf (SA) 

Manager's Report

After thanking those who had assisted the team, Phil Mangelsdorf concluded his report with a plea that the teams be selected earlier to enable crews to be better prepared. The rush and disruptions of the 1987 team should not be repeated. He added that: I believe that Australia was represented by the best crews available for this competition and that they performed close to the best of their ability and potential.


  • 1987 Australian Team handbook provided by Bill Webster 
  • 1987 Australian team managers report provided by Bill Webster

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