Newcastle Rowing Club (NSW) and Sydney Rowing Club (NSW)
Hugh started rowing in 1993 following his father, John (who was Newcastle Rowing Club President) and his brother Stuart into the sport. Coached by his father, a win in the single sculls at the 2003 NSWCHS Championship followed by a very credible second in the B Final of the School Boy single sculls at the Australian Championships gave impetus to a blossoming career.
He went on to dominate CORA Single Sculls Championships winning on a record four successive years, 2003-06. Over the same period he was also part of several championship doubles and quad crews.
In 2004 he came fourth in the Mens Elite Lightweight single sculls at the NSW Championships. He won the Men's Lightweight single sculls at the Pacific and Age Medals Regatta and joined another rower to win the Men's Lightweight double sculls. After an arduous process Hugh was selected in the NSW team to contest the Australian/NZ Youth Cup. This was an under 21 competition between teams (each of ten men and ten women) from the Australian states as well as one from the ACT and one each from the north and south islands of New Zealand. Hugh gained second places in the Men's Lightweight single sculls and Men's Mixed Lightweight double sculls.
2006 World Under 23 Championships - Hugh right hand side
In 2005 he earned an excellent second in the Men's Elite Lightweight single sculls at the NSW Championships followed by a fifth in the final of the U23 Men's Lightweight single sculls at the Australian Championships. In the same year he came fourth with an Adelaide rower in the Men's Open Lightweight double sculls at the Australian Championships.
After the usual series of exhaustive trials, Hugh was selected as a member of the men's lightweight quad in the Australian U23 team. Training was carried out at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra prior to continued training with the full Australian squad leading up to the 2005 World Cup Regatta on the magnificent natural Rotsee course in Lucerne, Switzerland. The World Cup is an open aged regatta that involves current world and Olympic champions so was used by the age team as a trial leading into the U23 Championships. Nonetheless the crew rowed strongly in the highest company to get through the heats.
Fifty nations entered the World U23 Championships on the Bosbaan course in Amsterdam. Hugh's crew came fifth in the final, one of the best performed of the Australian crews.
The same year he was nominated for the NSW Institute of Sport Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of his success whilst continuing to train and compete with his Newcastle club. It is widely acknowledged that achieving elite level in any sport is significantly more difficult away from the support and competition available to athletes in Sydney or other major cities.
Hugh was again selected in the lightweight quad crew as a member of the 27- person Australian team to compete in the 2006 World U23 Championships in Hazewinkel, Belgium. Following another lengthy selection process the team spent two months training in Tasmania (in the middle of winter would you believe) prior to departure for final preparations in northern Italy (much nicer but more distractions) prior to the event. Coming fifth at the 1500 metre mark behind Germany, USA, Russia and Italy and in front of France - a formidable list of rowing nations - the Australians came third for a Bronze medal. Since they were less than a quarter of a second behind second place (USA) and just 0.27 seconds behind the winner Germany, it would be reasonable to call it a close finish.
In 2007 Hugh won a silver medal in the Mens Elite Lightweight single sculls at the State Championships and another silver in the U23 lightweight single sculls at the Australian Championships. Subsequently, he was selected in the NSW Penrith Cup crew for the Interstate Men's Lightweight coxless four. This was the first time a state representative was selected direct from the CORA. His continued good form resulted in selection for the third successive year in the 2007 World U23 Rowing Championships in at Strathclyde in Scotland where the crew came fourth. He was also selected in the 2008 Olympic shadow squad.
Hugh relocated to Sydney at the start of the 2007-08 season to pursue better employment opportunities. Transferring to Sydney Rowing Club gave him the opportunity to train and compete at a higher level than is possible in Newcastle. As a member of SRC he won silver in the Mens Open Lightweight quad sculls and bronze in the Mens Open Lightweight double sculls at the 2008 Australian Championships. The following year he won silver in the Mens Open Lightweight coxless pair at the State Championships followed by two bronze medals at the Australian Championships, one in the Mens Open Lightweight single sculls and the other in the Mens Open Lightweight coxed eight.
2003 - National Men's Schoolboy Scull Championship, Second
2004 - National Men's Lightweight Under 23 Scull - Fifteenth
2005 - National Men's Lightweight Double Scull Championship - Fourth
2005 - National Men's Under 23 Lightweight Scull Championship - Fourth
2006 - National Men's Under 23 Lightweight Scull Championship - Fifth
2006 - National Men's Under 23 Lightweight Double Scull Championship, Third
2006 - National Men's Lightweight Quad Scull Championship, stroke - First
2006 - World Under 23 Championships, Men's Lightweight quad scull, Third (first four crews finished within 0.5 second)
2007 - National Men's Under 23 Lightweight Scull Championship - Fifth
2007 - National Men's Under 23 Lightweight Double Scull Championship, Fifth
2007 - World Under 23 Championships, Men's Lightweight quad scull, Fourth
2008 - Nationals Men's Lightweight Double Scull Championship, stroke - Third
2008 - National Men's Lightweight Quad Scull Championship, stroke -Second
2009 - Nationals Men's Lightweight Scull Championship, stroke - Third
2009 - Nationals Men's Lightweight Double Scull Championship - Fifth
2009 - National Men's Lightweight Eight Championship - Third
2010 - National Men's Lightweight Scull Championship - Eighth
Colin Charters (and some additions from Andrew Guerin)
Extracted from his book Just Add Water - The times and tides of Newcastle Rowing Club published by Seaview Press 2009.
2013 - National Men's Lightweight Double Scull Championship - Fourth
2013 - National Men's Lightweight Quad Scull Championship - First
2014 - National Men's Lightweight Scull Championship - Thirteenth
2014 - National Men's Lightweight Quad Scull Championship - First
2015 - National Men's Lightweight Quad Scull Championship - Seventh