Essendon Sprint Regatta and the Tigers on song

Sophie, Karen, Susie and Rochelle showing off their bling

Essendon, the watery turf of the Bombers was overwhelmed on the weekend. 350 meter sprint races here we come!
The sprints didn’t just start on the water. The sprint for most of the Richmond crews contesting the morning bracket commenced trying to get boats launched in time. The landing was over run by Kowora school girls, who must have had three trailers bringing their boats. Around ten quads in the first 5 events…ouch.
So now we know how it feels to miss a start. But we were ready to make a better impression on the starters for our B Grade race, arriving so early we were in the way of everyone.  We came a satisfactory 2nd to Melbourne in our heat.
The D4+ with Karen Doggett, Rochelle Stokes, Susie Ballantyne and stroke Sophie Robinson were out to kill. Nicole equipped us with a light-weight cox from Kowora and we blitz our heat. Nicole then equipped us with another light weight cox from Powerhouse and we fought hard to take out the sprint honors. Although we were described as ‘cruising’ the first half, our cox remembers the call sign ‘hammer’ and hammer we did, flying past Essendon and Hamilton to win the bling.
Making their sprint debut were our new rowing recruits and as you do…they received their first taste of being blasted by Vic rowing officals at the start line and held it together making a very credible first up appearance in the Richmond colours.
Well done to Helen Rayner, Meredith Walker, Melinda Brenker and stroked by the experienced Christine Kaissidis cox and coach Nick Kaissidis, who made it to the C Final for the D4+ after being unceremoniously cut off at the start and also Katie Kandelaars, Lynette May, Sue Powell and Kathryn Macrow (coached by Justin Thomas) who made the B Final in the D4+. How awesome to make the B Final…..must have been Nicole’s tips prior to their race. When we leaned in to see if we can steal some essential coaching tips from Nicole, we we’re given coaching wisdom which should be written into rowing scripture 1. Hammer 2.Spew 3. Win. Susie certainly didn’t let us down with the 2nd.
Martin – Hammered on in the first and final A grade scull. Close in the end but not close enough….second. Martin ticked all the boxes – fast, fast, fast – no vomiting witnessed. Martin also teamed up with Dennis Beck, Matt Lane and Mike O’Neil in the B Quad scull to finish….second.
The C grade four consisting of Dave Micallef, Barry Campbell, Jonathon Downie and Jim Cooper unleashed the animal in them after a bit of banter was thrown their way at the start line by rivals Powerhouse about the age of their wooden boat (and the stroke). The crew almost pulled off a big upset going down by a mere 6 inches or 15 centimeters for those who don’t remember wooden boats.
The men’s D4+ also did a sterling job. Barry just couldn’t get enough of the sweep rowing on the weekend as he jumped in with Riofrio, Charlie and Gareth to tear up the 350 course.
Where’s Barry ?– there he was again in the  D grade tub single – a respectable row being the only competitor not in a racing shell and kindly not making the final so we could pack up early, rig and be home by a very reasonable time that evening.
If I’ve missed anyone’s races I cannot be blamed…Yering station had wine tasting and many $$’s and sips later, the races seemed to blend.
Thanks to the awesome Charlie and Barry our trailer brothers, Martin and Nicole for being our Regatta Bro’s and coordinators, Simon for dropping in with kids hanging from his front and back to cheer us on and all the tigers who competed.
Rochelle Stokes

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