Rowing Programs

Mercantile Rowing Club has been consistently the most successful rowing program in Australia. Our program structure is evolutionary, adapted to suit the current and future needs of the squads who represent the club. We provide ongoing and extensive development opportunities for all of our members from the junior and youth level all the way through to senior elite level.

High Performance Squad

The high performance squad is made up of the Youth Program, the Under 23 Program, and the Senior A Program. There is a graded and periodised training programme for all squads and it is monitored with consistent and detailed sports science support and data analysis. This squad is for our members with national team aspirations, and membership brings with it an expectation of work ethic and commitment to performance and progression.

In addition, there are designated coaches for each squad meaning athletes are guaranteed consistent and highly experienced coaching.

Simon Gadsden is the Head Coach and will rotate through all programmes but places special interest in both Youth Programmes, looking to develop the next generation of Mercantile athletes.

David ‘Chipper’ Colvin is the Coach of the Women’s Senior Squad and the Women’s Lightweight Squad. He has coached the Victorian Queen’s Cup for many years, in 2014 seeing them to their record 12th victory in a row!

David Pincus is the Under 23 and Senior Men’s Squad Coach. He has had extensive experience coaching and managing high performance crews, including services to the Victorian rowing team as a coach and administrator dating back more than 20 years.

John Saunders is the Youth Program Coordinator. John has previously coached on the Junior and Youth Victorian teams for both genders, and is currently engaged with the Junior Australian Rowing Team coaching the Junior Women’s Eight.


Club Squad

Our Club Squad is aimed for athletes of any rowing level to train as much as he or she wishes. Athletes can do the same training as the High Performance Squad or as little as they like. There is no expectation on training levels, but all the options of training camps and races are available.



Our Mercantile Masters, who are recognised as the core of the club, have a program that caters for both new members and, of course, our finest athletes who have called it a day on their elite rowing. It is still very competitive and aims to row at all levels with the added bonus of being able to fully enjoy the après row!


Junior Membership

Junior Membership at Mercantile consists of access to our conditioning facilities at the club (Weights room, Ergos and stationary bikes) and conditioning programs for these activities. We run on-water rowing sessions for our junior members during the school holiday periods in concert with school based programs. We accept applications for Junior members with at least two years rowing experience.


Kayak Club

The Mercantile Kayak Club is the home of Victoria’s elite sprint kayakers. Since 2003, a strong squad has trained from the Mercantile’s Yarra-side boatshed and facilities.

While the club’s primary focus is sprint kayaking and the training of international athletes, our members also compete in surf lifesaving, wild water racing and marathon contests.

Sprint kayakers prepare for the Olympic Games in K1, K2 and K4 events over 200m and 1000m for men, and 200m and 500m for women.

Since the club’s inception, a number of athletes have represented Mercantile Kayak Club internationally on the national sprint, wild water and marathon teams.

For more information, contact Mathew French at