The Australian Masters Championships which end the season were this year held in the beautiful albeit somewhat cold and windy state of Tasmania. A small contingent of Richmond rowers made the trip across Bass Strait to take on the best masters rowers from around the country at Lake Barrington from the 10th-13th May.
The first morning brought with it plenty of rain but going forward the sun would shine and we would be treated to a stunning location and a memorable few days to experience the great spirit and competitive nature of a national masters championship. Thanks to Barry, our Tasmanian captain, pulling in a few favours we were able to borrow boats from some local clubs and RRC was represented in more than 20 different events.
There was coxing success for Dennis Henry on Day 1 picking up a gold with the Mixed Masters E4+ and Ray Dennis started his medal haul with a win in the Mens Masters I4-. Over the four day event Ray Dennis would go on to collect a total of 7 gold medals in a variety of eights, fours, pairs and one little double. With his highlight being a grudge match in the J-L pair (average age of crew >80) in which he and Derrick Wilson from Banks came out of victorious.
The Women’s Masters A four and quad were desperately disappointed to have lost their resident Tasmanian Zoe Maxwell from the crew a few weeks out from the championships to pneumonia but were delighted to welcome Sarah Houghton into the crew and with the experience of masters states and a couple of weeks of training behind them there was no stopping them! Victory in the heat helped grow confidence and an awesome race leading from start to finish in the final rewarded Michelle Joy, Karen Doggett, Kate Dyball and Sarah Houghton with a gold medal and the extra bonus of the fastest club crew with the majority of our competitors being made up of composite crews formed from members across multiple clubs. Despite headwinds that threatened to prevent anyone rowing down the course on Saturday they backed up the quad win with a victory in the coxed four as well again picking up the club crew medal joined by cox Christine Sullivan.
Christine continued the Richmond medal success combining with Leigh Sullivan, Lindsey Brown and Michael Heaton-Harris (Corio Bay) to pick up a bronze medal in the Mixed Masters C Quad. Further doubles, fours and eights would compete across the weekend in some great races many of which making finals but unfortunately missing out on more medals.
With just 9 RRC rowers taking part we punched well above our weight scoring 68 points in the club championship placing us 24th out of 88 clubs for the whole competition, but even putting the rowing aside the food and the wine on offer in Tasmania made the trip a huge success. Thanks to everyone who helped out by organising entries and boats, coxing and coaching through training sessions and generally being an awesome support crew through the power of social media. The RRC Masters Tigers had a great end to the season.