Footscray and Essendon Regattas 2019

Some of us started the day of Footscray thinking, ‘What on earth have I gotten myself into, this is my first regatta with Richmond I definitely can’t make a fool of myself,’ and desperately hoped that the piece of toast I was slowing working my way through contained enough energy to help the team cross the finish line at least.

When I arrived, it was comforting to hear that the other members of the team were also nervous, so at least we were all in the same boat- pun intended. We were on the water, having a warm up as the heavens opened and we were faced with the fact that the first few races of the day were going to be in the rain. Even with the questionable conditions, all squads managed to complete their first heats successfully, with many going through to the finals.

The day was an overall success with 3 third places taken out by Charlotte North-Coombes, Imogen Aitken, Kirsty Fergie, Louise Roberts-Bailey with Christine Sullivan as Cox (Female D Grade Coxed Quad Scull), Jon Roberts, Allan Randall, John Carey and Dennis Beck Coxed by Ainsley Raggatt (Male Open Coxed Four) and finally Charlotte North-Coombes in the Female D Grade Single Scull.

5 second places went to Alexander Pupko, Oliver Paterson, Cristian Udovicich and Lachlan Stewart Coxed by Ainsley Raggatt (Male D Grade Coxed Four), Sarah Houghton and Geraldine Goss (Female Open Double Scull), Charlie Burke, Michael Gehling, Kim Begelhole, Richard Healy, Allan Randall, Jon Roberts, John Carey and Dennis Beck Coxed by Christine Sullivan (Male C Grade Eight), Allan Randall, Jon Roberts, John Carey and Dennis Beck Coxed by Christine Sullivan (Male C Grade Coxed Four), and finally to Shern Timmins, Imogen Aitken, Kirsty Fergie and Louise Roberts-Bailey Coxed by Christine Sullivan (Female D Grade Coxed Four).

Sarah Houghton came away with a win in the female D grade Single Scull.

Alexander Pupko, Oliver Paterson, Cristian Udovicich, Lachlan Stewart, Diana Vernon, Sarah Hardy, Saloni Dikshit and Alysia Draper with Christine Sullivan as cox celebrated a row over in the Mixed Coxed Eight.

The crews I was a part of started and finished strong, coming second in the ladies D Coxed Quad Scull heat and winning the Mixed Coxed Eight, which was a fantastic achievement for our first race together as a team. I was pleasantly surprised in my abilities as I hadn’t competed in over three years and was very happy to find such a lovely and supportive group of teammates.

The weather cleared up and we joined the rest of the club at the tent to watch Richmond start their next race. We cheered for the black and yellow crews all the way through to the finish line for the rest of the afternoon. Even if I had only been in the club for a short while, I was very grateful for the opportunity of being a part of the team.

The final race of the day was soon upon us as we carried the coxed eight down to the water. Another successful race completed as we finished first in our category, and we hoped to bring the good luck into the next day further up the river at Essendon.

Another early start, but this time it was filled with a bit more confidence that I wasn’t going to catch a crab and that wearing the club Zootie actually looked quite cool.

I had two more races to compete in, one in a Female D Grade Coxed Quad Scull and one in the Female D Grade Coxed Four. It took us a bit to get used to coxed Four but after a few strokes our boat was well into the race. Even if we didn’t finish first in our final race of the day, there was a big sense of achievement at the end of the weekend regattas.

A second place went to Diana Vernon, Dianna Angus, Anthea Amos, Christine Sullivan, Charlie Burke, Philip Munson, Guy Ayres and Leigh Sullivan Coxed by Ainsley Raggatt in the Mixed Coxed Eight.

The crew that came away with a winner’s medal on the day was the Female Masters Coxed Four with a crew of Diana Vernon, Dianna Angus, Anthea Amos and Christine Sullivan Coxed by Charlotte North-Coombes.

Another brilliant day concluded with having a few beers after the boat unloading. I have made a lot of happy memories by being a part Richmond Rowing Club, and it has made my placement experience even more special. I hope that I can enter another regatta with the team in the future when I eventually travel back down to Melbourne.

Alysia Draper

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