skip to Main Content

Sue Chapman-Popa

Olympic Oarswoman & Medalist

Since 1978 Sue has been involved in the sport of rowing at many different levels. From competing to coaching, to representing Victoria several times at the Elite level. Sue also represented Australia at the World Rowing Championships, winning medals at both the Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games.

Sue’s experience and qualifications include:


  • Owner operator, Head Senior Coach Rowing School Victoria – since 2007
  • Qualified Nationally Accredited Rowing Coach
  • Fully qualified Fitness Instructor & Personal Trainer, fully insured
  • 2010 Rowing Victoria Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Olympic Games Medallist – Women’s Four (Bronze)
  • Commonwealth Games Medallist  (Women’s Eight – Gold, Women’s Four – Silver)
  • 2014 Coach – Winners Victorian Interstate Masters Women’s Eight
  • 2014 Coach – Winners Head of the Charles Regatta, Boston, MA, USA Female Masters Four (MUBC)
  • 2014 Coach – Silver Medal, National Championships: Club Women’s Coxless Four (Rowing)
  • 2015 Coach – Gold Medal, National Championships: Club Women’s Coxless Four (Rowing)
  • 2014, 2015 & 2016 Coach Mentor – Richmond Rowing Club


  • Victorian Senior State Selector
  • Head Rowing Coach
    – Melbourne University, Intervarsity Women’s Team
    – Melbourne Girls Grammar School
    – Lauriston Girls’ School

McVilley – Pearce Pin #342*

McVilley-Pearce Pin # 331*

Ion Popa

Olympic Oarsman & Medalist: (ROM) & (AUS)

Romanian born oarsman Ion Popa married Sue Chapman – Popa and they have 2 children, Ted and Rosie. Having represented Romania as a Junior and Senior athlete during the communism era, Ion then defected to Mannheim, West Germany in 1978 at a regatta. Upon gaining citizenship of Australia, Ion went onto represent Victoria from 1981 and Australia from 1983.

Ion competed at the World Rowing Championships, Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games (twice) winning medals at all of these events, including Gold at the 1986 World Championships in the seven seat of the Championship Men’s Eight – the first Australian crew to do so in this blue ribbon event at the international level.

Ion’s experience and qualifications include:


  • 2010 Rowing Victoria Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Head Coach of Yarra Yarra Rowing Club
  • Senior Coach at Rowing School Victoria


  • World Rowing Championships representative
  • Commonwealth Games representative
  • Olympic Games (twice) representative

Rosie Popa

Olympic Oarswoman: (USA) & (AUS)

As a dual citizen, Rosie is eligible to race for the United States of America (USA) and Australia (AUS), having done so since 2011 (USA) and since 2015 (AUS), representing the USA at the Under 23 level in 2011 & 2012 in the W4X & W2- respectively and again at World Cup 1, 2014 (Sydney, NSW, Australia), in the W2- as USA2, winning the B Final.


  • 2021 Toyko Olympic Games Medallist – Women’s Four (Gold)
  • 2019 Silver Medal, World Rowing Championships: Women’s Coxed Eight
  • 2018 Bronze Medal, World Rowing Championships: Women’s Coxed Eight
  • Proud member of Banks Rowing Club / HPWNTC
  • Senior Coach at Rowing School Victoria


  • 2015 World Rowing Championships in the Australian Senior Team (Women’s Coxed Eight)
  • Alumni of the University of California
  • Berkeley University of California – Class of 2014 – degree in Sociology
  • Represented Cal in Women’s Crew under Coach Dave O’Neil each of the four years of her NCAA eligibility

McVilley-Pearce Pin # 825*

Rowing School Victoria is proud to have been the initial point of contact to rowing for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 World Champion Gavin Bellis and the 2015 Under 17 National Single Sculling Champion.

*McVilly-Pearce Pin

On Friday 23 October 2015, Rowing Australia launched the McVilly-Pearce pin, named after Cecil McVilly, the first rower to represent Australia at an Olympic Games and Bobby Pearce, the first Australian rower to win an Olympic gold medal.

Every rower who has represented Australia at Senior level at either a World Rowing Championships, Commonwealth Games, Olympic or Paralympic Games will receive a specially numbered pin to commemorate the first time they were selected to be part of an elite group of men and women who have represented Australia on a world stage.

About the Pin

The McVilly-Pearce pin is an embodiment of the great traditions and values of those who have represented and continue to represent Australia on the water. Every athlete has been delegated a number from the first time they were selected and raced for the Senior Australian Rowing Team.

The McVilly-Pearce Pin is a two-piece pin, 18mm in diameter and made of bronze and copper with an Antique Patina centre piece.

Each pin has an individual number and is presented in an individual case to those rowers who have represented Australia dating back to 1912 through to the present day.

Back To Top