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David Scott (Media Unit): T: 8344 0561 M: 0409 024 230 E:
Diane Squires (Media Unit): T: 8344 6937 M: 0432 754 232
Pat Freeland-Small, Media Manager - Head of the Yarra: M: 0418 63 1862

The University of Sydney has challenged the University of Melbourne’s crown at this year’s Head of the Yarra in a university showdown at the nation’s rowing classic being held this year on Saturday 28 November.

The Melbourne University Boat Club has won five of the past eight Head of the Yarra races, while the Sydney University Boat Club is the 2009 NSW State Rowing Champion.

This year the University of Sydney will send two men’s and a women’s team to Victoria to take part in the Open section of the event. The challenge will see some of the country’s leading rowers go head to head at the popular event exclusively for eight oared crews. In total, more than 2000 rowers from all over the country, New Zealand and China will be vying for the fastest times over the grueling 8.6km Yarra River course, with the largest group ever of 204 boats competing in the event.

Beijing Olympic Silver Medalists’ Cameron McKenzie-McHarg and James Marburg will row with the Melbourne University Boat Club, while Matt Ryan will row with the Sydney University Boat Club’s first team.

In the women’s teams Dual world Champion in the Lightweight Division, Alice MacNamara and Beijing Olympic rowers Kim Crow, Sarah Heard and Lizzy Patrick will row for MUBC, while Liz Kell, who as well as rowing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics was the Australian Women’s Double Scull world champion in 2006 will row with the SUBC.

The universities are Australia’s first two universities and have just been announced as among the nation’s top world ranked academic performers in the Shanghai Jiao Tong World University rankings.

Established in 1859 (MUBC) and 1860 (SUBC), the two clubs are the oldest rowing clubs in Australia and are home to many Olympians and national representatives. 

The rivalry is set to become an annual event in the tradition of Oxford and Cambridge Universities, which have raced against each other every year since 1829 on the River Thames.

The rivalry builds on a history of rowing rivalry among Australia’s universities. In the early 1900s the annual intervarsity boat race for eight oared crews between Australian universities (the original competing universities in those days were Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide) was a major event on the national rowing calendar alongside the various interstate races. 

The Women's crews for MUBC and SUBC will start at 2.35pm, arriving at the finish line in Hawthorn just after 3pm.
The Men's crews for MUBC and SUBC will start at 2.47pm, arriving at the finish line in Hawthorn about 3.15pm.