February 2024 NEWS

Provided by your faithful correspondent Trident.

Past News can be found via the drop down menus under News.

The season gets underway with Dom Frederico working hard through the second 500m at Ballarat

News covered this month:

  • Henley entries
  • Nagambie entries
  • Day 3 NSW Championships
  • Day 2 NSW Championships
  • Day 1 NSW Championships
  • Wendouree Ballarat Regatta in review
  • Vale Garth Manton
  • Rosemary Richardson donates an eight and oars to the Club
  • Princes Bridge renovation works
  • Drink wine to help the Club, now that is an idea
  • Member profiles

Henley entries

Published 21st February 2024

A good entry for Henley, particularly from our Clubbie and Club rowing groups.

Event Athletes
MB8+ Max Neave, Riley Hazard, Nickolas Kronenburg, Benjamin Worth, Michael Kelly, Jason Nevins, Samuel Jobson, Benjamin Coull, Rebecca Barrows(c)
FB8+ Carmel Loch, Lytske van Wijngaarden, Alexandra Oliver, Samantha Morrison, Sophie Bolmat, Avery Romano, Roisin Rea, Zoe Fettig-Winn, Alexandra Legge(c)
MO2X Seth Swinney, Alex Tomanovits
MO2X Archie Critchell, James Goldrick
FO2X Sophie Reinehr, Catherine Khan
MO8+ Barry Connolly, Jasper Gleeson, Andrew Curry, Julian Thomas, Jake Polkinghorne, Harry Amad, Harry Cathcart, Oliver Scalzo, Arabella Hall(c)
MO8+ Jackson Morrish, Oscar Tyrrell, Joshua Murphy, Hamish Nicol, Benjamin van den Berg, Samuel Oostendorp, Charlie Clarke, Jack Ivers, Isabel Finch(c)
FB4X+ Amritha Sidhu, Nalini Blacker, Megan Carr, Claire McKew, Alexandra Legge(c)
FB4X+ Piyumi De Zoysa, Samantha Antonios, Carmel Loch, Alexandra Oliver, Joanna Walker(c)
MB4+ Nickolas Kronenburg, Michael Kelly, Samuel Jobson, Benjamin Coull, Rebecca Barrows(c)
MB4+ Conor O'Callaghan,Max Neave,Benjamin Worth,Jason Nevins,Joanna Walker(c)
FB4+ Lytske van Wijngaarden, Roisin Rea, Samantha Morrison, Zoe Fettig-Winn, Alexandra Legge(c)
MClub8+ Jackson Morrish, Oscar Tyrrell, Joshua Murphy, Hamish Nicol, Benjamin van den Berg, Samuel Oostendorp, Charlie Clarke, Jack Ivers, Jamie Hoopmann(c)
MClub8+ Barry Connolly, Jasper Gleeson, Andrew Curry, Julian Thomas, Jake Polkinghorne, Harry Amad, Harry Cathcart, Oliver Scalzo, Isabel Finch(c)
FClub8+ Roisin Rea, Avery Romano, Sophie Bolmat, Robyn Selby Smith, Louisa Stocks, Freya Axten, Addison Luce, Louise Carr, Arabella Hall(c)
MO1X Jordan Roberts
MO1X Jackson Morrish

Nagambie entries

Published 14th February 2024

A big two day regatta at Nagambie with prize money attracting NTC athletes down from Canberra. Our Treasurer Duncan MacKinnon will again be in charge of the event as President of the Jury and he will be supported by jury members Graeme Boykett and Andrew Guerin.

The first day is the 2000m races and we get to see some members of our NTC members racing, specifically Fergus Hamilton, Angus Widdicombe and Paige Barr. Also our club crews get another outing to test their preparedness for the Nationals. And of course, Cate McNeil races again in the school scull.

Event Athletes
FClub2- Freya Axten, Louisa Stocks
FClub1x Louise Carr
FClub8+ Roisin Rea, Avery Romano, Sophie Bolmat, Alexandra Watson, Louisa Stocks, Freya Axten, Addison Luce, Louise Carr, Jess Rawolle(c)
MO2- Alexander Hill, Fergus Hamilton
MO2- Benjamin Canham, Angus Widdicombe
FO2- Paige Barr, Bronwyn Cox
FClub4- Freya Axten, Louisa Stocks, Addison Luce, Louise Carr
FSCH1XO1 Cate McNeil

And on Sunday, we have the clubbies over 1000m. The battle for the men's A eight continues with the Mercantile v Richmond battle become legendary. Our successful girls will lead the way again with our women's under 21 coach Zoe Fettig-Winn racing and Clubbies women coach Nick Reynish also jumping into the boat.

Event Athletes
MA8+ Alexander Clarke,Jasper Lawrence,Conor O'Callaghan,Nick Reynish,Nickolas Kronenburg,Jason Nevins,Michael Kelly,Benjamin Coull,Rebecca Barrows(c)
FB4+ Alexandra Oliver,Avery Romano,Sophie Bolmat,Lytske van Wijngaarden,Eyrin McCarthy(c)
FU171X Cate McNeil
FC2X Piyumi De Zoysa,Claire McKew
X4+ Zoe Fettig-Winn,Lytske van Wijngaarden,Nickolas Kronenburg,Benjamin Coull,Rebecca Barrows(c)
FB8+ Alexandra Oliver,Carmel Loch,Cate McNeil,Lytske van Wijngaarden,Sophie Bolmat,Avery Romano,Roisin Rea,Zoe Fettig-Winn,Eyrin McCarthy(c)
MB4+ Nickolas Kronenburg, Nick Reynish, Michael Kelly, Benjamin Coull, Rebecca Barrows(c)
X8+ Sophie Bolmat,Carmel Loch,Roisin Rea,Avery Romano,Conor O'Callaghan,Alexander Clarke,Nickolas Kronenburg,Jason Nevins,Eyrin McCarthy(c)
FB4X+ Claire McKew,Carmel Loch,Alexandra Oliver,Sophie Bolmat,Alexandra Legge(c)
FC4+ Piyumi De Zoysa,Claire McKew,Carinna Rodriguez,Avery Romano,Joanna Walker(c)
FA1X Cate McNeil
MB8+ Alexander Clarke,Peter Van Nes,Conor O'Callaghan,Nick Reynish,Nickolas Kronenburg,Jason Nevins,Michael Kelly,Benjamin Coull,Rebecca Barrows(c)
FB2X Lytske van Wijngaarden,Zoe Fettig-Winn
FB2X Carmel Loch,Alexandra Oliver
FA4+ Cate McNeil,Lytske van Wijngaarden,Roisin Rea,Zoe Fettig-Winn,Rebecca Barrows(c)
X2X Sophie Bolmat,Jasper Lawrence

Go Mercs

Day 3 NSW Championships

Published 11th February 2024

Nick Bartlett again set the day off to a good start taking out the PR3 pair with a win with Goffsassen of UQBC. Sadly there was no competition for our PR3 pair of Alex Vuillermin and Alex Viney but the record will show a win.

Oscar Tyrell, Alex Tomanovits, Jordan Roberts and Jessica Rawolle were in the winning lightweight eight.

Whilst no medal in the men's eight, it was a great opportunity for our younger athletes to race with the likes of Widdicombe and Hamilton. They finished fourth and we can only wonder what might have been had Jack Robertson had not been injured.

Ditto for the girls. A superb opportunity for the young girls to race behind the likes of Morrison, Barr and Werry. The senior girls fondly remember the opportunities they had when young.

The men's lightweights again showed their skill in a tight tussle with UTS for gold in the lightweight quad scull. A good race showing promise from our crew of Seth Swinney, Oscar Tyrrell, Alex Tomanovits and Jordan Roberts.

Then in the dying moments of the regatta, Dom Frederico won in a determined and tough race in the under 23 double scull with his Adelaide University partner Blackman. It was a superb race showing good racing abilities. The margin to second was 6 seconds with a tight race for the minor placings in their wake.

Also of note yet again, was Cate McNeil. This time finishing 3rd in the Schoolgirl double for Hailebury. Great work from these year 10 rowers.

Regatta Point Score

The major Sydney clubs led the table with Mercs being the best of the interstate clubs finishing in fourth place. Well done.

Day 2 of NSW Championships

Published 11th February 2024

Some superb results on Day 2 with plenty of great results.

Nick Bartlett led the day with a bronze in the PR3 single.

It was sensational to see the women's pair race in which Jess Morrison was in the winning crew, Kat Werry in the silver medal boat and Paige Barr stroking the third placed crew. There was less than 0.1 second seperating first and second.

In the women's four race, Jess Morrison and Kat Werry joined in the winning crew with Paige Barr stroking the silver placed four.

Fergus Hamilton teamed up with Alex Hill to finish second in the men's pair narrowly behind the combination of Hardgreaves and O'Brien.

The men's four, Angus Widdicombe stroked the silver medal winning crew and Fergus Hamilton raced in the bronze medal winning crew.

Anna Morrison narrowly missed out of the podium in the under 23 pair finishing fourth.

Austin Reinehr won gold in the corresponding under 23 men's pair.

In a small field in the men's lightweight pair, Jordan Roberts won with Oscar Tyrell and Alex Tomanovits finishing in third place.

In the men's lightweight double, Jordan Roberts raced in the winning crew and our other lightweights finishing fourth and fifth in the heavily contested under 23 lightweight double.

In the men's coxed four, Jake Polkinghorne, Harry Amad, Harry Cathcart, Oscar Scalzo, and Cox: Isabel Finch won silver.

Day 1 NSW Championships

Published 9th February 2024

Whilst we prepare for hot weather here in Melbourne, hot rowing is underway in Sydney at the NSW Championships.

On day one, there were many highlights including Cate McNeil teaming up with Clodagh McCarthy of Nagambie to take bronze in the under 19 pair. The crew was co-coached by Andrew McNeil and Sue Andrews. This is a great result when one considers that Cate is only 15 years old with her best in front of her. Well done Cate.

Cate McNeil on the podium

In other races, Austin Reinehr won his heat in the un der 23 pair when he teamed up with Pender of UTS.

In the women's pair, Jess Morrison teamed up again with Annabelle McIntyre to win her heat as did Kat Werry and Lucy Stephan in their heat. Paige Barr teamed up with Cox of UWARC to finish second. This augers well for Mercantile'e podium aspirations in that event.

In the men's pair, Fergus Hamilton paired with Alex Hill of SA to win their heat and Angus Widdicombe finished third in his heat.

Alex Tomanovits and Ben Whitmee raced the B final of the lightweight under 23 single, as Sophie Reinehr in the elite single. Jake Polkinghorne and Oscar Scalzo, and Charlie Clarke and Hamish Nicol also raced in the B final of the under 21 pair.

More tomorrow.

Wendouree Ballarat Regatta in review

Published 5th February 2024

A weekend of great racing for the Club on the weekend with our performance group racing on Saturday and the Clubbies on Sunday. Two packed days of competition run under the control of President of the Jury Bill Webster assisted by jury member Andrew Guerin.

Saturday racing

Twelve victories were recorded on Saturday showing that the Club has some quality under 21, lightweight and club rowers. In the winners circle were: the following rowers.

First up was Archie Critchell winning the under 21 scull and Alex Tomanovits the lightweight scull.

Archie Critchell

Alex Tomanovits

In one of many wins for Abigail Cox and Jess Hawker, these rowers in the pair and looking strong.

Louise Carr also won multiple races, below in the Club scull.

Jackson Morrish won the men's Club single

The under 21 four was won by Jess Hawker, Abigail Cox, Grace Ivers combining with Lucy Richardson from Wendouree Ballarat Rowing Club.

The Club eight was a first and second for Mercs with Andrew Curry, Jasper Gleeson, Barry Connolly, Harry Amad, Jake Polkinghorne, Julian Thomas, Harry Cathcart, Oscar Scalzo, Cox: Isabel Finch taking the honours. 

Moving into the start

The club four won after playing to the camera in the starting area - Louisa Stocks, Freya Axten, Addison Luce, Louise Carr

Our victorious youth eight entering the start.

... and at the other end.

And Cate McNeil is forever on the podium. Above in an eight and below off the start in the Schoolgirl scull

Thank goodness the Club four won after playing up to the camera so much at the start!

Sunday racing

The Sunday regatta was conducted under very hot and blustery conditions, quite the opposite to the warm and calm conditions of Saturday. Thanks to Nick Reynish and Jordan King, fortunately our team were thoroughly prepared with a double tent and a fan with a water spray to keep cool.  They were not rewarded with as many victories as normal but a great day all the same.

The tent with the lot - sandwich bar, drinks, computers, fans with water spray, tables, chairs (including full lie down variety) etc, etc

First crew away in the morning light

Nick and Jordan relax after the first crews hit the water

Cate McNeil again did well winning the under 17 scull and A four for Mercantile, as well as the A Pair and B Pair for Haileybury. Belwo are some images of the A Four with Cate in the bow seat.

Women's A Four of Cate McNeil, Avery Romano, Samantha Morrison, Zoe Fettig-Winn, Cox: Emma McCarthy

After the finish

And with coach Nick.

B eight powering to victory

Not the traditional way of loading this trailer, but when the metal is too hot to handle, maybe a good idea!

Vale Garth Manton

Published 2nd February 2024

It is with deep saddness that we advise members of the loss of another great member of Mercs, namely Garth Manton, who died on 1st February.

Garth was one of the great characters of Mercantile at a time when he had much competition for that mantle. His friendship, good humour and wit, and support of rowing will all be missed.

Garth commenced his rowing at Geelong Grammar and raced in their first crew with club member John Rowe in 1948. When he returned to rowing in 1951 after two years in Sydney, he was immediately successful, and by 1954, had won his first King's Cup. Continued success in the five seat of the Club's senior eight and the Victorian Eight followed through to the 1956 Olympic Games where he also raced in the five seat of the Olympic Eight which won bronze.

1956 Olympic eight with Garth in the five seat

Garth was both a proud five man and eight oared rower. He was rarely seen in any other boat class or seat. When introduced to a group of school rowers in later life, his first bold and humorous comment was that he wanted to speak with the five men.

Retirement from rowing beckoned with work and family commitments taking over. However, Garth maintained a strong interest in the sport and Mercantile at many levels and also remained a great supporter of rowing at Geelong Grammar.

As great raconteur he was a keenly sought speaker at rowing functions. As a man with a big personality and great wit, his company was always welcomed. Even when a stroke hit him later in life, he could still command a dinner table, if not a boatshed anymore.

His work for the Angelsea Recreation and Sports Club and their annual regatta in century old fixed seat gigs was legendary, especially his commentary. There was quite a bit of flexibility with the truth  but an enormous amount of humour. Comments such as "Rating 43 on stroke side 39 bow side," "Mind the water hen in the middle of the river - no decapitations allowed," " Flying up the course like a Siberian trotting duck," and  "I am very fond of things I like." There were very few limits.

His full rowing profile can be found at: Manton, Garth - Australian Rowing History (

Our sincere condolences to his wife Sue and their four children.

Rosemary Richardson donates an eight and oars to the Club

Published 2nd February 2024

The Club is pleased to announce that Club member Rosemary Richardson has kindly offered to donate to the Club a new men's eight and oars in memory of her husband, the Late Ron (Thrasher) Richardson who raced so successfully for Mercantile and her father, the Late Ron March, who was a long standing and highly successful Victorian selector. The boat has been ordered through Empacher and will be delivered later this year.

Rosemary became the driving force behind the reinvigoration of the Henley of Yarra regatta in 1982 when the regatta was ailing. She first used her skills in developing the important social side of the event with the Thursday night cocktail function. This function then grew into a dinner in the ANZ Pavilion at the Arts Centre. When the dinner outgrew the ANZ Pavilion, it moved to the Great Hall and when that was too small, then to the Hilton Hotel. The regatta also grew, as did the sponsors and the raffle.

By 1990, the regatta had sufficient clout and financial strength to invite five international crews to race at it and take on a bid for the first World Cup in the southern hemisphere. This bid was successful and in 1993, the first ever World Sculling Cup was held. The regatta was a five day event with 500 people attending a luncheon on the course daily. This event captured the imagination of sports loving people of Melbourne and brought great fame to the sport. It brought back the sport of rowing to the Yarra River and the television coverage of rowing. It was a great achievement for Rosemary and her skilled and enthusiastic 1993 team that made it happen.

Rosemary and Ron with President Sir John and Lady Young at 1992 Australian Henley

Thank you Rosemary for this extremely generous donation which is greatly appreciated.

Princes Bridge Renovation works

Published 16th September 2023

Disruptions over the next 12 months - follow this link for details.

The Princes Bridge restoration works include:

  • replacing weathered bluestone blocks
  • realigning and cleaning bluestone blocks
  • repairing and repainting iron facades
  • rewiring public lighting.

These works will be delivered in sections, starting with Section 1 at the south end of the bridge between piers 7 and 10 (please refer to the linked map). This section is anticipated to start in October 2023 and be complete by mid to late next year.

Drink wine to help the Club, now that is an idea

Republished December 2023

Wild Fire Wines is a premium wine producer located near Warburton in the Upper Yarra Valley. One of the owners, and the chief winemaker, is  John Harry, a club member. John competed at senior level in the 60s and 70s and was Captain of the Club; he is also a major supporter and Trustee of the Mercs Foundation.

Wild Fire has agreed to provide the Club with a substantial donation for each case of wine purchased by members and their friends and family. Bill Webster and Julie Orr are co-ordinating the recruitment of Mercs athletes to help publicise the sales effort. The Committee believes this program has great potential to assist our fundraising efforts and is keen for all Mercantilians to get behind it.

The Committee has sampled John’s offerings and is confident that members will find the wines of excellent quality, and good value. Wild Fire won two medals at the 2019 Victorian Wine Show (Riesling and Cabernet) on its first try so its future looks promising.

So, how can you help the Club?

Grab some wine at and enter the code "MERCANTILE" at the discount application. This ensures any sales will be attributed to the Club.

This is an efficient and practical way for members to help the Club - we look forward to the development of the Wild Fire relationship as a solid source of funding for us for many years to come.

Member profiles

Republished December 2023

Your correspondent continues to add member profiles with now some 300 members recognised.

And this month we have added the profile of one of our World Championships team member, Fergus Hamilton.

More to follow.