Australian Rowing Legend Sarah Tait: A Remembrance from Mike Nicholson

Sarah Tait racing in the women's pair (Screen capture from 'School for Sculling')

We received this memorial piece in honor of Sarah Tait from Australian rower and filmmaker Mike Nicholson, whose work has frequently been featured here on RR.

From Mike:

Sarah Tait was swift and decisive in her illustrious rowing career. She was considered one of the best technical rowers in the various Australian crews she competed in, and was the perfect 'team member,' so it was wasn’t surprising she ended up Captain of the Australian Team for many years. I made many films that she appeared in and we begin with her happiest year in 2012 when Sarah and Kate Hornsey won the silver medal at the London Olympics (we see her at the 10-second mark and then the 1:09 mark).

The next film is the 2011 World Rowing Championships at Lake Bled, Slovenia. I was busily filming away from the highest point overlooking the course where the historic castle was located and Sarah and Kate happened to be there having a coffee so l interviewed them. Sarah, always the optimist, had plans for competing at Rio (we see her at the 5:12 mark to 6:07).

The third film is of the Australian eight training and competing at the Beijing Olympics. Sarah rowed in the seven seat. Three years earlier, Sarah rowed in the eight that won the world championships in Gifu, Japan. This was the last women’s eight to defeat the USA women’s eight ‘machine’ that have been so successful ever since.

After this excellent win Sarah married the coach of the eight, Bill Tait, and they had their first baby girl, Leila.

Sarah grew up in Perth, but moved to Melbourne joining Mercantile Rowing Club. She could have easily rowed in the endlessly successful Victorian women’s eight since she lived in Melbourne but not Sarah—she was happy to represent West Australia in the Queen’s Cup for many years. Ever true to her roots and her family, Sarah got Rowing Australia to change their rules so Australian Rowing Team members could have access to their families at Olympics, world championships, and training camps.

It is little wonder that everyone admired and loved Sarah so much in the rowing community, and she will be sadly missed.


Thanks very much to Mike Nicholson for this fond remembrance of a true rowing legend, and our condolences to the whole Rowing Australia family. You can read more about 3x Olympian Tait's illustrious career here.


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