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Lightweights world champions prevail in action packed finish

10 March 2012

Australia’s lightweight men’s four world champion crew has won the open men’s four national title after a collision marred the end of the race at the 2012 Australian Rowing Championships.
A day after Todd Skipworth (WA), Ben Cureton (WA), Sam Beltz (TAS) and Anthony Edwards (TAS) had won Rowing Australia’s 2011 Male Crew of the Year, they were involved in a grandstand finish to the national title.
With less than 100m remaining in the race the three leading crews came together following a steering malfunction that had hindered the crew featuring Joshua Dunkley Smith (VIC), Drew Ginn (VIC), Tom Swann (VIC) and Will Lockwood (VIC).
The Dunkley Smith crew suffered the steering failure after just 200m of the race that repeatedly pushed them towards lane 4, which was occupied by James Chapman (NSW), Bryn Coudraye (SA), Brodie Buckland (NSW) and Tom Larkins (VIC).
It had forced the Chapman crew closer to the world champion lightweight four, resulting in the collision on the run to the line as the lightweights chased victory.
The lightweight four survived the collision to cross the line in first and be awarded the national title.
Beltz said that despite the end to the race, his crew had been really happy with their performance.
“We got off to a really quick start today and managed to establish a bit of a lead early on which helped us out,” Beltz said.
“The end of the race was pretty crazy but we managed to get across the line in first place.
“We were up against the big guys so there was obviously a bit of pressure there but we had a great rhythm out there and we all feel great ahead of trials.”
They remain in strong contention to be re-named as the Australian lightweight men’s four at the 2012 National Selection Trials at the Sydney International Regatta Centre (March 23-April 1).
Daniel Noonan (NSW), Karsten Forsterling (VIC), James McRae (SA) and Chris Morgan (SA) showed why they were crowned world champions in 2011 with a fine performance.
The Noonan stroked crew powered down the course to win the final in a time 6:22.13.
“We have had two really good races here at nationals and we are looking forward to racing the quad at trials in two weeks time,” Noonan said.
“They were really challenging conditions out there but we handled them really well.”
Brooke Pratley (NSW), Kim Crow (VIC), Kerry Hore (TAS) and Sarah Cook (ACT) won the final ahead of Amy Clay (NSW), Pippa Savage (QLD), Dana Faletic (TAS) and Robyn Selby Smith (VIC) in a time of 6:57.84.

Rowing Australia

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