Cronulla rower Marcus Britt leads University of Sydney to 2019 Australian Boat Race title

A shire rower has continued a family tradition to lead the University of Sydney to the 2019 Australian Boat Race title in Melbourne.

Marcus Britt, from Cronulla, captained the University of Sydney Boat Club to victory over the University of Melbourne in their battle on the Yarra River in Melbourne on Saturday.

The 21-year-old, in his second year as captain, led Sydney to victory for the second year in a row. It was the third consecutive year that Sydney have won the men's and women's races at the event.

Britt, a civil engineering student, saw his team edge out their Melbourne counterparts over the 4.1-kilometre trip from Burnley to the heart of the city.

Britt continued a family tradition his father, Rob, started when he captained the University of Sydney Boat Club in 1983.

"My father introduced me to rowing when I was 11-years-old and he has been supportive of me ever since. In the last 10 years of my rowing career, I think he has been to just about every race," Britt said.

Rob Britt has been involved with the university boat club for almost four decades.

"We are extremely proud of Marcus and his achievements in rowing from being captain of boats at St Joseph's College in Hunters Hill to representing Australia at the under-23 World Rowing Championships," Mr Britt said.

"Marcus is now a third generation of rowers in our family. We just think it is a great sport. Otherwise, who would get out of bed at 4:30 in the morning to flog yourself for hours before breakfast.

"I moved to Sydney University because I wanted to be a part of the great culture that the boat club has built. The exceptional standard of the coaches as well as the opportunities for racing provided by the club has produced many world-class athletes.

"I've always loved the atmosphere around rowing. Working in a team every day and improving as a unit is something that is fun no matter what level I've been at in the sport."

The Sydney and Melbourne university rowing clubs first met informally on the Yarra River in 1860. A decade later the competition had become a regular feature of university life, in the spirit of the famous boat race between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

The tradition was revitalised in 2009, heralding a new chapter in the 150-year-old rivalry between Australia's two oldest universities.

The universities will celebrate the 150th anniversary of intervarsity sport in Australia next year.