On Friday night, Kim, Alex, Dennis and Nick drove up to Bendigo with the boat trailer and arrived at Lakeside Motel on a balmy warm evening. Then up early to discover quite a different Bendigo with howling winds and lashing rain.
Richmond Rowing Club had a pretty good showing at Bendigo with over 26 members plus friends and partners competing in 18 races.
For the novices it was quite new so we met up early and once boats were rigged and checked, we stood around shivering in the cold under the RRC tent. The first Male Novice Coxed Four race was at 11.24am and the crew was Lachlan Stewart, Weijie Weng, Amir Mahdavia, Nick Mercer and coxed by Ally Dejaegher. In the row up to the start we did a couple of wobbly race starts and before we knew it we were under race start orders. Knowing the distance was only 480m we knew we had to start well but given our lack of experience we decided to keep the rating a bit lower and find our boat balance. We were up against the local club novice crew from Bendigo but we rowed home winners by 4 seconds.
The second novice race was the Male Novice Coxed Quad Scull and saw us drop out Amir and bring in Red Skelton with our cox being Michelle Joy. In this race we were up against Dimboola and the ‘fancied’ Melbourne Argonauts. Again, we practiced a couple of race starts and got ourselves ready for the start. This time due to the cross winds the starter held us a bit longer and you could feel a few nerves in the boat. But under the skilled guidance of Michelle we took off with a nice start and flew past Dimboola but in the middle of the race the Argonauts came level. Upping the rating we managed to get our bows level and finished together. Though to be honest we thought we’d blown it but we’d snuck in the win by 0.46 seconds.
The senior teams all performed pretty well and in all, RRC walked away winning six races; The Female D coxed quad scull won their final in a time of 1.40:99 comprised of Sara Houghton, Dana Hill, Karen Doggett, Ally Dejaegher. Coxed by Stef Dudczig and coached by Matt & Derek. In the Male D grade coxed four final, Richmond 1 had the better of Richmond 2 and took out their final in 1.29:80. The winning crew comprised of Jon Roberts, Allan Randall, John Carey, Andrew Yuile, coxed by Shern Timmins and coached by Matt and Derek.
In the Male D grade pair final, Jon Roberts and Allan Randall won their race quite easily. And then we had the final race which saw the fastest time recorded that day by a Richmond crew. The mixed coxed eight looked fantastic on the course and romped home in 1.23:07. This crew comprised of Sara Houghton, Dana Hill, Jon Roberts, Allan Randall, John Carey, Andrew Yuile, Karen Doggett and Michelle Joy. Coxed beautifully by Stef Dudczig and coached by Matt and Derek.
The visit to Bendigo was also quite memorable for a couple of other reasons. Firstly, the committee who had already bought a new tent must have known about the howling winds in Bendigo as during the day a huge gust literally blew away our old tent which may not be repairable? And finally, an un-official protest has been lodged by Red Skelton and Mikey G who complained the sound of the finishing bell was way below their audible hearing, necessitating a most spectacular stop into the bank. Gladly there were no injuries to crew or boat.
All in all, despite the poor weather a great day was had by many and RRC won on a number of levels coming away with a total of twenty-six rather nice local pottery mugs, five coxs medals and a better rowing score for many.
The pinnacle of the racing season arrived after weeks of on water training, ergos and circuits. The Victorian State Championships were held on March 3-4 this year on the ever-unpredictable waters of Lake Wendouree.
Squad training for the men’s and women’s crews started early this season, kicking off in earnest in December 2017 with a demanding training program overseen by Richmond’s Head Coach, Basil Amin.
Solid preparation paid dividends for all rowers who competed at the State Championships this year, with impressive individual and crew performances seen on both days of the competition.
The first day of racing saw Michelle Joy secure a convincing win in the D Final of the Open Single Scull event.
The women’s quad scull (Michelle Joy, Karen Doggett, Kate Dyball, Zoe Maxwell, coxed by Derek Begg) finished off their States campaign on a high. Keen to push the boundaries this year, the crew began their weekend of racing with a strong performance in the Open Coxless Quad Scull event. (The post race debrief with Basil about human stretching techniques to match the heights of the 6 ft. plus competition being (mostly) in jest).
The crew went on to secure a gold medal in the C Grade Coxed Quad Scull and silver in both the A Grade and B Grade Coxed Quad Scull events.
The men’s four (Allan Randall, Jon Roberts, Charlie Burke, John Carey coxed by Ally Dejaegher) added more silverware to the Richmond medal tally, with a nail biting performance in the D Grade Coxed Four. In a race which made for great viewing at the finishing line, the men finished less a canvass behind the winning Melbourne crew to claim a silver medal. The men went on to put in a good performance in the C Grade Coxed Four event later in the day.
The women’s quad (Edwina Griffiths, Shern Timmins, Jodie Naisbitt, Yash Vegi, coxed by Derek Begg) put in an impressive performance in the highly competitive D Grade Coxed Quad Scull event, finishing a close second in their heat and boat lengths ahead of nearest rivals, Footscray City and Hamilton & Alexandra.
Lindsey Brown and Morgan Chandler capped off a successful season at States, with strong performances in both the B Grade and C Grade Pair.
Sarah Houghton rounded out a successful racing season with second place in her heat of the C Grade Single Scull event – finishing a mere 0.7 seconds behind the winning boat. Sarah went through to the C Final and also raced the B Grade event.
With only a few practice rows under their belts in the weeks leading up to States, Rochelle Stokes and Edwina Griffiths and Andrew Yuile and Dennis Beck put in good performances in the D Grade Double Scull and the C Grade Pair, respectively.
It has been said that success is a journey, not a destination, and the 2018 season is a testament to the truism.
The rowers who represented Richmond at the State Championships achieved gains over the season as individual athletes and as crews. With many wins and close finishes in regattas in the weeks leading up to States and crews across the board stepping up to compete in divisions they had previously not thought possible – this season was a comprehensive success for Richmond Rowing Club.
For all this our thanks must go to those who worked tirelessly to make Richmond’s States campaign success a reality – especially our Head of Rowing, Tim Evans, Head Coach, Basil and Captain, Barry Campbell.
Thanks must also go to expert coxen’s Derek and Ally, who dedication and motivation each helped give their crews the winning edge this season.
After a great weekend at training camp on the Yarra on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd January, rowers, coaches and coxes were ready to test their skills at sprint races.
On alternating weekends from the camp weekend the RRC trailer has been making hauls up highways to get boat to regattas.
The first sprint regatta was endured at Lake Wendouree, Ballarat on Sunday 5th February. Now Ballarat is a regional centre with lots of attractions to bring visitors. The very picturesque lake is bang in the middle of town. So any reasonable person could be enticed into wandering around its perimeter to take in the sights and sounds of a lake. But rowers have a much stronger sense of foreboding when entering the environs of the lake for a regatta. And so we encountered another day of violent winds tearing hats from heads, tipping tents over and generally threatening un-tethered boats with some airborne adventures.
Once crews got on the water and up to the starting line, they quickly realised they weren’t in rowing races, but in surf boat races! A hearty cheer to the coxes, who handled the inclement weather, and got their crew on the start line, and then over the finish line.
The wind was not all that was to be endured. A persistent rain storm descended and made the last few races a visual mystery as the mist of rain completely obliterated any view of boats after they left the floating pontoons.
Despite all that Ballarat threw at us, some crews took home some medals.
Wins for RRC crews
The next regatta was at Nagambie, a lake created by a very determined politician (with a strong involvement in rowing!) to ensure ongoing business for a small country town. So the lake is very serviceable for rowers, but even successful politicians can’t guarantee the weather conditions to suit rowing.
On our visit on Sunday 19th February the weather was not best suited to our needs. But rowers are trained to tackle the situation they find themselves in. The start line umpires had good technique in getting all crews in a race up to the line together for quick starts.
Once again the skies opened in the latter part of the day and delivered a good amount of water. But just as quickly it all moved away and the sun shone down on us again.
A great day of racing was run with RRC having many crews in many races ranging from D to B grade. Some improvement in times for crews not getting over the line first and great times for other crews showing a real pick up in performance. A few medals made their way back down the Hume in RRC bags.
Wins for RRC crews
The RRC rowers are very grateful to the people who organise their attendance at regattas from entering the crews in Rowing Manager, creating the boatloading plan, ensuring all crews are allocated the best boat available and have the right equipment. Not forgetting our BROs (boat race officials – Barry at Ballarat and Allan at Nagambie) volunteers that are required at all regattas we attend as a club. To the rowers, their attendance at boat loading and unloading, are pivotal activities to ensure the continuation of regatta attendance.
Well done everyone!!
By Anthea and Piyada
Up for my first regatta in quite a while at Footscray some nerves creeping in on the drive in, also not knowing how to get there in traffic not helping.
The weather looks overcast with a chance of rain in the morning which is nearly over as I’m not racing until 12.40 so arriving at 11.00 finding the Richmond boat trailer and fellow crew members. As we walked along the river it was easy to find the Richmond tent and oarspersons with black and yellow everywhere well setup and nice shelter from the cold.
Our first podium Gold and Silver came with the male D grade coxed four a bit of a battle between coxswains there. The male master’s quad scull was a eye opener for me as we gave the Powerhouse crew a 4 second start and was not able to catch them, not sure how that works as the crew looked pretty polished. Continue reading
Many of RRC’s states crews took the opportunity this Saturday in the last weekend before the Victorian State Championships to get some race practice at Australian Henley with 800m match racing.
With only masters and C grade club racing or above available the competition was fierce but we had strong representation across the mens and womens events. With 25 entries in the mens C quad and only two lanes to race on the Yarra, Andy, Michael, Andrew and Leigh coxed by Christine had a tough job but completing the course as a time trial they finished sixth qualifying for the C final.
Both the womens C grade and masters quad had 8 entries with Richmond representing a crew in each. The unstoppable combination of Sophie, Michelle, Ainsley and Gerry coxed by Mike Numa went from strength to strength through the heat, semi and final improving with every row to finish victorious and with beaming smiles collect their well deserved medals.
Ballaz. B.Rat. The Rat (see https://www.danmurphys.com.au/product/DM_355034/the-rat-bitter-ale ). My old stomping ground but never before my “rowing ground”, thanks to Lake Wendouree’s evaporated state the entire five years that I lived two minutes down the road from it. To its credit, however, the lake did provide much entertainment for the locals in other ways during that period, whether it was revealing cold case criminal evidence in the form of dumped firearms, luring school kids into a false sense of security with an apparently firm and study surface but quicksand-like layer underneath, or, and most excitingly, encouraging the continuing and desperate search for the legendary lost 1956 Olympic Rowing gold medal (even though apparently it was found shortly after and was in fact silver).
The epicentre for excitement, Lake Wendouree, the heart and soul of Ballarat (right up there with Sovereign Hill) did not disappoint on this 2016 regatta event either – even when filled with water! Her glorious breadth and mirror-like reflection of the heavens allowed us all a pleasant day relaxing on the soft and grassy bank whilst enjoying the sight of swans and boats gliding across glass; a picture quite the contrary to the expectations and warnings continually tossed about by pessimistic/realistic club members (come on guys, give B.Rat a break).
It’s Sunday, pre 5:30am, and an alarm is rudely squawking in my ear. It must be sprint season!
Sure enough, on the final day of January the intrepid Tigers headed south-west around the bay to show their stuff at the Barwon regatta.
It certainly wasn’t a glorious start though. With a grim forecast spinning tales of afternoon lighting storms and epic black clouds already towering on the horizon there was a very real chance the afternoon races would be a wash out. My mind flashed back to the previous year, sitting cold and damp in a tent. At least Geelong was consistent!
No time for dreaming about warm beds though because we soon arrived at the river and it was straight down to the serious business of rigging and racing….just as soon as I’d located a coffee and a bacon and egg roll, obviously.
For those veteran RRC members Easter weekend has always meant just one thing – Mildura road trip!
Well it’s been many years since RRC made the long trip up the Calder freeway to partake in the Mildura and Wentworth regattas but this year we did. Both the Murray and Darling rivers provided beautiful surrounds and calm waters for rowing (and swimming, as Erin can vouch for completing her swim test at the conclusion of day 1). The rest of us settled for a swim in the motel pool or dip in the spa before a refreshing beverage at the Mildura brewery.
We may have been few in numbers for the trip but I think we all agreed that the weekend was a great success. The rowing was of a great standard and once that toggle was released at the start there was no letup despite the almost 90 degree turn in the Henley on the Murray course or the bridge crossing the River Darling on Sunday. All those training sessions on the Yarra have taught us well that a bridge is just a marker to push off no matter what river you find yourself on.
Bec roared on the mixed eight and some quads while the Lucy Crunden (boat not person) went up and down the river countless times with all combinations of doubles crews pushing for the line.
The highlight for many had to be Michael Gehling’s Jesus moment though when preparing to race the single. Unfortunately for Michael but to the amusement of onlookers it turns out he can not walk on water 😉
The RV officials joined in the fun spirit of the weekend and coordinated a new event for the conclusion of each days racing – the pot luck eight. The aim of the event was to get everyone who wanted another row to put their name forward and get representatives from every club out on the water in real eclectic crews covering both sexes and all ages. The races pitched RRC vs RRC aswell as Mildura, Wentworth, Essendon, Nagambie, Rutherglen and Corio Bay. It really was a great fun event with fast and furious eights sprinting down the course in the afternoon sun. There was also some bling to be collected at the end for the lucky ones like Shern Timmins from RRC who claimed victory on both days.
Thanks to everyone who made the weekend possible especially Kathy Macrow and Barry Campbell for organising and to all those involved at the two regatta venues who showed great hospitality and in my humble opinion served the best egg and bacon sandwich I’ve ever had at a regatta. What more could one ask for?