Saltwater Challenge 2018

After a great weekend in Nagambie for our annual RRC camp, on Saturday we tried to put the good work into practice at the Saltwater Challenge in Essendon. We weren’t able to attend this event last year, so it was great to get back to this gorgeous part of Melbourne and go for a little paddle on the Maribyrnong. Even the weather gods were on our side, with glorious sunshine throughout the day!

The first crew competing for Richmond were Michelle, Karen, Kate and Zoe, in the Female Masters Coxed Quad event. They were coxed by none other than Derek, who was 1st Runner-up for the 2018 RV Coxswain of the Year award earlier this year. Despite being held up by other crews on some of the course bends, they still managed an impressive 3rd place and were looking very strong on their finish sprint.

The same crew raced again in the B Grade Coxed Quad event and somehow managed to better their previous time, clocking in at 18.58s for the 4,500m course. Rowing over 18km in one day, with half of it at full tilt must have been absolutely exhausting, well done ladies!

The next rowers out were Charlotte, Lucia, Dana and myself, expertly coxed by Stef. Throughout the race she provided a huge amount of motivation and gave us all the right pointers to keep it together and stay composed. She even managed to overtake a crew just in the nick of time before the big bend!

For the four of us rowing, this was the first time doing Salty and we really enjoyed the experience. Charlotte did a fantastic job in her first race in Stroke position and maintained a steady and easy to follow pace throughout. Needless to say, we were surprised and delighted to see that we came 5th out of 14 in the D Grade Coxed Quad event!

After a very brief interlude, Richmond was back on water again. Stef and I switched coxing duties and joined Jodie, Shern and Lou for the final race of the day, the Women’s C Grade coxed Quad. It was very busy at the start line again, with all boats in the C bracket going upriver at the same time to wait for the start, but eventually our turn came up and we were off. Despite Lou still fighting off a virus, the whole crew performed really well and maintained a perfectly balanced boat throughout the race. Their strength and consistency meant we could hold off some of the boats who were trying to overtake us, and achieved a very good race time.

All in all it was a lovely day and made even better by the supporters who came out to encourage us. Big shout out to Allan for helping with boats, oars, and hanging on to 5 wallets while we were on water! Thanks also to Amy and Shane for the photos and videos, to LaTrobe Uni RC for towing the trailer, and to everyone shouting encouragement from the footbridge!

Hopefully we can do this event again next year

Ally Dejaegher

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