YWCA Rowing Club (VIC) and Melbourne University Ladies Rowing Club (VIC)
Sally Withers (nee Harding)
1975 – Interstate Women’s Four Championship bow – First
1975 – World Championships – Women’s Coxed Four bow – Eighth
1976 – Interstate Women’s Four Championship stroke – Disqualified
1977 – Interstate Women’s Four Championship stroke - First
1977 – World Championships – Women’s Coxed Four stroke - Fifth
1978 – Interstate Women’s Four Championship stroke – First
1979 –Interstate Women’s Four Championship two seat - First
1979 – World Championships – Women’s Coxed Four stroke - Fifth
1980 –Interstate Women’s Four Championship stroke - First
1980 – Olympic Games – Women’s Coxed Four stroke – Fifth
2018 inducted into the Victorian Rowing Hall of Fame.
1980 Olympic Rowing Team - Sally seated second from the left
Sally recalled some of the tales of her rowing in these terms.
"After the disappointment, for me personally, of not being selected for the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, despite having attained the agreed Australian standard selection criteria, it was especially rewarding to be selected for the 1980 Moscow Olympics in the women's coxed four.
Controversy once again intervened, when Russia invaded Afghanistan prior to the Games, which prompted the boycott by the USA team and a few others.
Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser announced that each Olympic sporting body in Australia could hold their own vote on whether or not to attend the Moscow Olympics. The AOC still had the final say as to whether to allow the Australian Olympic team to actually participate. As a crew, we decided to take our chances and fly to Europe to compete in the lead-up regattas to establish our position in the world rankings.
While we on the plane flying to Europe, the Captain announced that the AOC had voted 6 to 5 ........... (long pause!!) The vote was in favour. We were on our way!!
Much celebrating followed, including a visit from Andrew Peacock, the then foreign minister who was on board the plane, to congratulate our team.
A huge highlight for our coxed four crew, apart from being the first Australian women's crew to compete in any Olympics, was the christening of our boat, the "Dawn Fraser", in Moscow by Dawn herself. We got into the final and came fifth behind Russia, East Germany, Bulgaria and Romania -- We were of course "The best of the West"!!"
Dawn Fraser Christening the 1980 women's four named in her honour - Sally fourth from right
- 2018 Victorian Rowing Hall of Fame
- Andrew Guerin