The Australian men’s quad scull has defied the odds to win the silver medal at the 2009 FISA World Rowing Championships in Poznan, Poland.
A tail wind swept down the course for the second day of finals action which created fast pace racing from all boat classes and especially in the men’s quad.
Dan Noonan (NSW), David Crawshay (VIC), Jared Bidwell (QLD) and Nick Hudson (NSW) had the task set before them against the world and Olympic champions from Poland but took it to the raging favourites over the first 1000m, leading them by a canvas through the halfway point.
Poland managed to put half a length on the Australian crew over the next quarter but stroked by the dogged Dan Noonan, Australia clung to the Polish and was able to hold off the challenge from Germany on the line to win the silver medal.
Poland crossed the line in 5:38.33, only two seconds shy of the world best time, with Australia just over a second behind in 5:39.66. They held off Germany by 19 hundredths of a second.
“We knew we had to get out to a really fast start,” Noonan said. “We found ourselves right up there at the 1000 and it just all came together.
“We had a few rough strokes towards the end there but we are ecstatic with the medal. The Germans are a really strong and we could see them coming at us but we had enough to hold them off.”
Noonan, Crawshay, Bidwell and Hudson was one of Australia’s form crews throughout the Australian winter and consistently recorded the best prognostic times during training.
Noonan stroked the men’s quad scull at the Beijing Olympic Games when it set a world record in the heat, before missing out on a medal by only one third of a second in the final.
Crawshay won the gold medal in the men’s double scull in Beijing last year with Scott Brennan (TAS), but with Brennan taking a year off, Crawshay focused his attention on the larger boat.
They were joined in the crew by world championship debutants Bidwell and Hudson and they grew in confidence throughout the week of racing, in what proved to be one of the tightest boat classes.
The Australian crew remained low profile while Poland and Croatia played mind games across the regatta.
The young Croatian crew announced at the beginning of the week that they wanted to win every world championships and Olympic Games until 2016, while Poland, the current Olympic and world champions claimed Australia only qualified for the final due to a favourable lane in the semi-final.
Noonan said the Australian crew ignored the hype.
“We are the only non European nation in the final and after we finished fourth in the heat maybe were ignored. It shows a lot of courage to pull it off in the final.”
Alice McNamara (VIC) and Bronwen Watson (NSW) finished fifth in the final of the women’s lightweight double scull.
The Australian crew could not recover from a slightly slow start as Greece took the lead through 750 metres and finished clear of the field by five seconds in a time of 6:51.46. Poland was second and Great Britain third, while Australia crossed the line in 7:01.32.
McNamara and Watson are dual world champions in the lightweight women’s quad scull having won the title in 2007 and 2008.
They came together in 2009 in the priority lightweight women’s sculling boat and will aim to build upon this result in the coming three years before the 2012 London Olympic Games.
In the final race of the regatta Germany won the blue riband men’s eight by a boat length over Canada and Netherlands in 5:24.13.