Record return for North Esk at Australian Masters Rowing Championships

Four score: North Esk's 60-64 women's four crew of Jill Thompson, Beth Mulligan, Jill Fraser, Suzi Wilkes and coxswain Vicky Knight won their final.
Four score: North Esk's 60-64 women's four crew of Jill Thompson, Beth Mulligan, Jill Fraser, Suzi Wilkes and coxswain Vicky Knight won their final.

North Esk Rowing Club achieved its biggest medal haul at the national masters championships at Lake Barrington.

The Launceston club was represented by 30 rowers in singles, pairs, doubles, quads, fours and eights in a total of 54 events, with 15 women entering D8+, E8+, F8+, G8+ races (a feat matched by no other Tasmanian club).

Most made their finals and North Esk secured four gold medals, eight silver and three bronze to finish 12th of the 95 competing clubs with UTas the only Tasmanian rival above them.

John Bugg, who has spent 55 years rowing with North Esk, said the four-day event, which involved 888 rowers in 333 races, was an overwhelming success.

Coach Kerry Dawkins and June Mezger who won a silver medal in the women’s 70+ category.

Coach Kerry Dawkins and June Mezger who won a silver medal in the women’s 70+ category.

“It was a wonderful regatta. We were a bit worried about the weather but in the end it turned out perfectly and everyone was very pleased,” said the 74-year-old father-of-four and grandfather-of-four who finished with a gold and two silver medals.

A retired Launceston firefighter, Bugg teamed up with clubmate John Campbell-Smith to secure a silver medal in the double sculls in which Tamar’s Alan Kitto and Richard Norton won bronze.

Bugg also stroked the coxed four crew, including Kitto and two rowers from Banks in Victoria, to a gold medal on Thursday and added another silver, again with Kitto, in the quad.

Hot competition: A total of 888 rowers took part in 333 races at Lake Barrington this week. Picture: Phillip Biggs.

Hot competition: A total of 888 rowers took part in 333 races at Lake Barrington this week. Picture: Phillip Biggs.

“Our women rowers went very well and won quite a few medals and the club was really pleased overall.”