Class of 1995

Success requires sacrifice. Olympic success requires so much more as Stuart Reside one of the most respected Australian rowers will tell you. He came to Aquinas College in Year 8, in awe of the physical beauty of the school as his mum drove him up the drive for his first interview. He was an all-rounder, and a prefect but is modest about his achievements. He was in club rowing outside school but took it up in Year 12 and let it shape his life. One race he won’t forget is beating Trinity in Head of the River in his last year.

After Aquinas, Stuart made the Junior World Championships in 1995 and was set to row in the double scull in Poland but tragically contracted acute Salmonella food poisoning. He lost half his body weight, worse was yet to come. Stuart returned to Australia to train in Bunbury in a state rowing camp only to be bitten by a mosquito carrying Ross River fever. His joints totally seized up with arthritis, barely able to move and took months to recover. But recover he did from that and glandular fever. Nothing came easy during this period, but equally, nothing held him back. He went on to train like there was no tomorrow and won the World Junior Rowing Championships the next year, 1996. The first and only Australian to do so. The following year he rowed at international level in the quad scull for the Senior World’s competing in Europe, having trained at high altitude in St Moritz but only managed a 12th. Never mind. A win at the under World Rowing Under 23 Championships in 1998, a fifth at the senior World Championships in Germany the same year, and being a member of the winning team in the King’s Cup which was a first for West Australia in 26 years was a terrific run. But it was all a lead-up to the Sydney Olympics in 2000 where the Men’s Quads team came fourth. “Still a great result and an incredible experience”.

Knowing rowing would not pay the bills Stuart took eighteen months off to finish his Bachelor of Commerce at Curtin University and picked up oars again to row in pairs and eights. He made the Australian team in 2002 but didn’t put his hand up. Then in 2003 was selected for the Men’s Eight and came fifth before fantastically winning bronze in the Athens Olympics of 2004. He reminisces that but for a back strain, it might have been gold, but any Olympic medal is an almighty achievement.

Throughout his career, he was coached by fellow Aquinian Nick Garratt, excepting 1997. Stuart lives in Cottesloe with his wife Vanessa and three children. He has a very successful career in property development which certainly pays better than rowing. One of his swimming coaches remembers: “When he thinks he’s at his limit then he’ll go a bit further and extend himself. And if he reaches that, he’ll try to go further”.