VALE – Cate Cooper

Cate Cooper was an enthusiastic sweep rower and single sculler in the SA women’s rowing competition who I was lucky enough to coach at times when I was in the early years of my SA coaching career of rowing and sculling. Cate was always keen, co-operative and quietly determined to be the best athlete she could be with her rowing prowess and it was a pleasure to coach her and watch her progress during her rowing and sculling racing career. Cate would always listen to advice and at the appropriate time join in with her opinion and thoughtful, helpful input with her club members and team mates, coxswains and coaches to aim for the best progress for all their sporting aims.

Cate was involved in the most challenging era for women rowers from 1976 to 1980 when the Australian Women’s Rowing Council was amalgamated with the Australian Men’s Associations to form Rowing Australia and the AIS as we know it today.

In 1978 Cate represented SA in the annual Australian Interstate regatta held in Tasmania in the women’s single scull boat class. The annual Interstate regatta was held at West Lakes for the first time in 1979. Cate Cooper was a member of the 1979 SA Women’s coxed Lightweight four oared crew which came a memorable second place, in a true State of Origin race against all the other Australian States and the ACT, a seven boat field, a most colourful, emotional, even hair raising sporting event to witness that year in the era of changes in Australian rowing.

The significance of Cate’s two SA Interstate representations may not be obvious to non-rowers but in Australian Women’s sports History, to that time, there were only three different boat class events for women in the Annual Australian Intestate rowing and sculling regatta competition. Cate represented SA in two different boats and in the two variations of the sport: sculling and sweep oar rowing, to most people and athletes they are two very similar but really are such different and challenging racing oars and boat classes to master. SA never won the Australian Interstate Women’s Lightweight coxed four title, it was first raced in 1968, the event changed to a coxless boat class in 1986. The equal best SA second place result for Cate’s 1979 crew was one of four second places by SA crews; the others were in 1975, 1978 and 1980.

Well rowed and sculled Cate! Easy all, you can rest on your oars.

Phil Mangelsdorf, mangs – RSA President