Free and easy win
ROWING legend Duncan Free took another major step in his comeback from injury by turning it on in the 2011 Queensland State Championship Regatta at Bucca.
A Beijing Olympics gold medallist, the veteran of four Olympic Games and 10 world championships, had his quest for the London Olympics set back when injured in a nasty bike accident.
But representing the University of Queensland (UQ) club, the 38-year-old powered away from a class field to win his 11th state men's single scull crown - a record which may never be beaten -in the blue riband event in a time of 7:01.66 for the 2000m in what was probably his Queensland title swansong. Ben Morley, of Grammarians, finished second in 7:04.88, with Pine Rivers' Chris Anderson third in 7:11.63.
Bundaberg's Chris Bigg, who has stepped up from lightweight to the open division this year, did well to qualify for the final, where he finished sixth.
Free also joined forces with Bigg, clubmate Hardy Cubasch and Sydney University's Brodie Buckland to take out the men's four (coxless) in a time of 6:05.95.
Bundaberg product Nick Silcox, who represented Australia at the 2011 under-23 world titles, was part of the crew which took the silver, just .97sec behind, together with his Toowong clubmates Jack Price and Tim McDonnell and Adam Kachyckyi (Commercial).
Silcox had early beaten McDonnell and Kachyckyi into the minor placings in winning the men's lightweight single scull in a very creditable 7:10.06.
Silcox, Bigg, McDonnell and Kachyckyi also teamed to grab third behind UQ's Anders Backeus, Cubasch and Tom Amies, and Morley in the men's quad scull.
Silcox picked up another bronze with Kachyckyi in the men's pair, which was won in style by the impressive Buckland and Cubasch.
The 22-year-old rounded off the meet with gold in the men's eight, in the boat with Price, McDonnell and two more clubmates, Khaney Lakaev and Mike Smith, and Pine Rivers' trio of Tom Coates, Anderson and Will Lindores.
Bigg added silver in the same event with Morley and Commercial's Kachyckyi, Brendan Fisher, Gabriel Cryle, Lachlan Smith, Ben Walsh and Aaron Haringcaspel.
Bundaberg's former world junior championships silver medallist, Emma McCarthy, was among the medals for her new club Pine Rivers.
She was part of the victorious women's eight, clinched silver with Olivia Brusasco, Peta Eddington and Sonya Graham in the four, and took third in the double scull with Eddington.
Seventeen other locals scored medals - Mitchell Eichmann, Teressa Tibbey, Demi and Emma Pressler-McHugh, Alex and Thomas Hellmuth, William and James Brosnan, Tristan Pagliano, Mitchell Styles, Brodie Fox, Julian Ebert, Michael Latter, Daniel Brame, Jacob Reid, Rick Bennett and Nic Wilkinson.