Category Archives: Feature

Victorian State Championships 2020

The majority of the club headed to Ballarat on Sunday for the Victorian State Championships. This was the culmination of many months of training and expectations were high as crews arrived early for the start of racing.

Dario had been competing on Saturday in the Lightweight Men’s Single, Lightweight Men’s Double and the Open Four. We heard about the great conditions and the unfortunate duck that got in the way of Dario’s oar as we rigged our boats. Unfortunately the conditions had deteriorated over the night with a strong cross wind causing issues from the start of racing.

Ally and Kirstie were first up for Richmond on Sunday in the C Grade double, rowing well and finishing 4th in their heat despite the conditions. They were quickly followed by Lily in the D Grade single, in the fastest of all the heats Lily finished third to just miss out on the final where the 2 rowers who finished before her in the heat took out the first two places in the final.

Allan and I made it through our heat in the C Grade pair, finishing 2nd to progress to the final. Keith started his D Grade Single heat well, but with the wind picking up through the second half of the race he was unable to progress to the final.

The women’s D grade 4+ of Amy, Chelsea, Pauline and Imogen, coxed by Pippa took to the course and finished 6th in their final as conditions continue to worsen, with gusts of up to 40km/hr recorded. Allan and I then raced our C grade pair final, finishing 6th while the commentator was heard to rowers surviving on the course.

The Men’s D grade 4+ of  Jack, Lachie, Richie and Pavel, coxed by Derek showed us how it’s done, powering through the conditions to pick up silver, our first medal for the day.

Michelle and Kate were next up in the Women’s A Grade Double, trying to retain their championship from 2019. In a very tight race impacted by the wind, they stormed home over the last 100 meters to push into first place and take out the win by 0.59 seconds.

Quickly following was Dario in the men’s B Grade single, leading for the majority of the race he was pushed hard over the closing stages but pushed on to win the gold by 1.7 seconds.

With conditions continuing to worsen, with white caps on the lake making getting to the start, racing and landing boats a real challenge for all crews RV called a one hour delay to the regatta. Unfortunately, with conditions set to deteriorate (winds of 50km/hr were recorded in the afternoon), the regatta was cancelled. Quick calls were made to the men’s 8+ who had yet to arrive to head back to Melbourne.

This was obviously disappointing for all competitors given the hard work training for the State Championships. Richmond picked up 2 gold medals and 1 silver on Sunday in 8 races before the regatta was cancelled. With many more medal chances in the afternoon this was looking to be a significant improvement on results from previous State Championships, but it wasn’t to be. Hopefully this will spur all the crews on to the remaining regatta’s for this season and start plans for next.

Those crews who didn’t get to race on the day were:

Female C Grade Quad – Michelle, Susanna, Dana, Sarah Houghton

Female D Grade Doubles – Ally and Kirsty, Shern and Sarah Hardy, Pippa and Kat, Lily and Gypsy

Male C Grade 4+ – Dennis, Dario, Allan and Jon, coxed by Derek

Male D Grade 8+ – Campbell, Alex Reid, Alex Pupko, Matt, Nathan, Hamish, Chen and Kim, coxed by Estelle

Female B Grade Double – Michelle and Kate

Female D Grade Pair – Amy and Chelsea

Female D Grade Quad – Pauline, Imogen, Sarah Hardy and Shern, Coxed by Stef

Female D Grade Quad – Ally, Kirsty, Gypsy and Lily, Coxed by Pippa

Male D grade Pair – Allan and Jon

Male C Grade Single – Keith

Male D Grade Quad – Jack, Lachie, Richie and Pavel, Coxed by Derek

Male A Grade Single – Dario

Congratulations all on a great season!!!

Jon Roberts

Rutherglen Regatta 2020

Following Christmas and a wild New Year’s celebration at RRC, it was the first regatta of the decade. Having joined the club just that week, I was excited for the rowers of Richmond to show me how it’s done.

Two fully laden trailers were towed to Rutherglen and once settled in at The Lydoun Motel, final race preparations included consuming a few vinos of Coach Dario’s selection.

Racing kicked off mid-morning with entries in a multitude of events – I’ve been told this is the Richmond Way!

The 800m course was proving difficult to some steers across the clubs, with it’s sparsely buoyed lanes and bend. Despite at least one capsize on the way to the start line, a few detours across the course and many clipped buoys, everyone came off the water smiling.

We had a great base set up located perfectly to spot the yellow and black zooties (still a new word for me) in time to jump and cheer. The atmosphere was relaxed, but with excitement to go smash it and bring home a medal or two – or 5 if you’re Dario Sportelli.

It was difficult to keep up with the rate at which people were going on and off the water, sharing boats and swapping coxes. Admittedly, I was impressed it always worked out when people were making these decisions within an hour of racing!

The first medals of the weekend went to Dennis Beck, Jon Roberts, Allan Randall and Michael Gehling, coxed by Pippa Trevella in the male masters quad. Next was Dario, commencing his collection with the C grade single scull.

Jon and Allan took the win in the C grade pair, with Dennis and John also coming second in the final.

The first women’s medal was won by Lily Innes-Irons in the D grade single scull. Gypsy Shepherd and Dario Sportelli came first in the mixed double scull.

Coxed by Will Golding, the womens D grade quad was won by Gypsy Shepherd, Ally Dejaegher, Kirsty Fergie and Mel Perkins.

A tense final was had in the women’s D grade double scull, with the two Richmond crews closely missing the win. Second place came Kirsty and Ally, followed by Lily and Susanna.

After a successful first day’s racing in the sun, the pool at the motel was enjoyed by a few before dinner.

The ladies put together a great barbecue and spread to cater for everyone. Especially big thanks to Lily, Susanna, Ally and everyone else who contributed. We had a few drinks and I enjoyed getting to know people from across the squads a bit better. Thanks also to the those who helped cook the BBQ on the night Shern, Kim, Allan and Mim (Lily’s dad).

Sunday came with a new challenge of deteriorating air quality. Sadly, we were reminded of the current crisis with visible smoke across Lake Moodemere and the surrounding area. We had regular updates on the conditions and racing continued, with a course distance of 500m this time.

Winning the male masters quad again was Dennis, Jon, Allan and Michael, coxed by Pippa.

The weight hanging around Dario’s neck increased with another win in the C grade single scull. He and Gypsy then again took first place in the mixed double scull!

The winning 4 ladies from Saturday took their second medal as a crew, this time in the D grade four coxed by Dario.

Aside from the wins, Richmond had many other notable races and close finals. I believe there was a split prize for the masters ladies in their double scull, Diana Vernon and Christine Sullivan who chose the medal over the wine!

Alex Huang took to the water for her single’s race coming a strong second, having learnt to row in August. The men’s D grade quad won their heat and came second in the final on Sunday with Lachlan Stewart, Kim Begelhole, Richard Healy and John Hellerstedt.

Development squad men Campbell, Igor and Hamish had their first regatta experience, racing in multiple events including quad, four and eight. And whilst I heard they were slightly traumatised by the eight as they’d never been in one before, I’m sure they’ll be back for more with the reassurance and wisdom of their ex-London rower and guru Will Golding.

After packing up, loading the trailer and a quick dip in the lake for some, it was time to go home and relax following a fantastic weekend of racing.

A few personal highlights of mine include Dario’s interview with the commentator over the tannoy, the raspberry muffins baked by Lily and her Dad, and of course winning my first sculling medal and first regatta in Australia!

There are many thanks to be given to those who organise entries, trailering, accommodation, coaching and all the other contributions big or small that make it such a success doing the sport we all love. When’s the next one?!

Mel Perkins

End of Year Regatta Recap and New Boats Named

It’s been a busy few months of regattas culminating with Melbourne Head, Head of the Yarra and Carrum Regatta just last weekend.

Congratulations to the 4 crews who represented Richmond at Head of the Yarra, a mixed masters crew, one female D grade crew and two male D grade crews. There were good performances by all following a large amount of training in the run up.

We made the trip to Carrum, for the Carrum regatta last Saturday for the final regatta of the year. Richmond was well represented at the regatta which saw a large amount of elite and school crews competing. A strong contingent competed in every category from Open to D Grade with crews in all boat classes except eights.

Competitive performances on the day saw wins for:

  • Dario Sportelli in the C-Single,
  • Lachlan Stewart, Richard Healy, Tom Brooks, Pavel Oborin coxed by Ainsley Raggatt in the D Grade Four
  • Kirstie Fergy in the D-Single
  • Amy Catlin and Lily Innes-Irons in the C-Pair
  • Dario and Ainsley in a composite mixed double
  • Thomas Brooks, Richard Healy, Lachlan Stewart, Pavel Oborin in the D Grade Quad
  • Kirsty Fergie, Aline Dejaegher, Jon Roberts, Allan Randall coxed by Rosie Dickson-Hoyle in the mixed quad

A day after Carrum we held our final club races for the year. Three eights took to the water to fight it out. Clearly the starter was not loud enough for one crew, with “attention” being the new “go”. Congratulations to the crew of Derek Begg (cox), Michael Gehling, Kim Begelhole, Jingyi (Alex) Huang, William Golding, Kathryn Spinnler-Jenkins, Lily Innes-Irons, Emily James and Red Skelton who took out the win.

We then gathered to name our three newest boats. Firstly, a double named Morpheus by Ally Dejaegher as part of our recent raffle to name a boat at Melbourne head.

Then Yass Queen, a new mid weight single named by Dana Hill, also as part of our recent naming raffle.

And finally the Riverboat Jasper, a single kindly donated by captain Barry Campbell.

Following the smashing of bottles we retreated to the club for our annual Christmas lunch to celebrate the year gone. We also wished Kathy Macrow a happy 60th birthday on the day!!!

Happy Christmas and don’t forget your New Years Eve party tickets!!!

Dimboola Regatta and Head of the Wimmera

With regatta season gathering momentum Richmond Rowing Club saw themselves heading out to Dimboola for a Saturday of sprint racing followed by a Sunday of head races. Most made the 3.5 hour journey on Friday evening, rooms had been booked in Horsham for the majority and a few of us chose to brave camping near by in Dimboola. The campers had dinner in the Dimboola pub and I have to say it was the most ‘English Pub’ I have been to in Australia which was a great start to the weekend! We survived a night under canvas with the wildlife (kangaroos and emus a plenty and no, there weren’t any monkeys, they were kookaburras but plenty of other interesting noises.)

Anyway – Saturday morning was time for the 132nd Dimboola regatta. And we were ready! A few of us walked up the river to see the start and check the course. 3 lanes, not buoyed but well marked with a couple of bends (probably insignificant to anyone not steering), 750m.

The Female Masters 4x+ started the day by example winning their race, well done to the ladies of Richmond for getting the first medal of the day Christine Sullivan, Diana Vernon, Susanna Mullner, Anthea Amos, Cox: Aline Dejaegher. We hoped it was a sign of things to come. Unfortunately the Male Masters 4x+, Denis Henry, Philip Munson, Guy Ayres, Leigh Sullivan, Cox: Christine Sullivan didn’t follow the lead coming second in their race to Powerhouse.

Next up were the Mens Open 4+ with a crew of Jon Roberts, John Carey, Dennis Beck, Michael Gehling, Cox: Michael Calvert the boys didn’t quite manage to bring it home coming second to Melbourne RC in their final.

Shern Timmins was next up for the girls in the Masters 1x placing third.

The following round was the C Grade Male 1x and Dario Sportelli and Keith Wong were representing Richmond in 2 different draws. They both came through their heats first qualifying for the final and finished both their finals off in style (or did the final finish Keith off…) with a gold medal each. Well done boys!

The Female D Grade girls 1x were next with Lillian Van Oosterhout and Kirsty Fergie in 2 different heats. Both girls came through first in their heats to face each other in the final. It was a fun race for the girls managing to get a Richmond 1,2 with Kirsty just coming in front of Lilian.

Ally Dejaegher and Susanna Mullner were in the masters 2x placing third followed by Amy Catlin and Lily Innes-Irons coming third in their first race in a 2-.

Richard Verheyen, Steven Sheppard, Michael Calvert, Tim Evans, Cox: John Carey of the Male D Grade 4+ came down the course in third place in their heat followed by Denis Henry, Philip Munson, Leigh Sullivan, Guy Ayres, Cox: Christine Sullivan Male Masters 4+ also finishing third.

Male Open 4x+ Jon Roberts, Michael Calvert, John Carey, Michael Gehling, Cox: Aline Dejaegher finished third in their heat. It was now time for the Mixed 8+ to take to the river consisting of Christine Sullivan, Diana Vernon, Denis Henry, Philip Munson, Guy Ayres, Leigh Sullivan, Susanna Mullner, Anthea Amos, Cox: Imogen Smith. Finishing 2nd in the straight final but missing out on the win.

Keith and Dario were back in a boat together hoping to mirror their C Grade 1x success however the energy spent in the earlier 1x races took its toll and they came in second place.

Ally and Kirsty took to the river again for their D Grade 2x. Having won their heat they managed to narrowly push past Horsham City in the final later in the day to claim the win and another medal. Unfortunately they didn’t get out of the heat in the C Grade 2x, coming a respectable second.

The winning streak continued with the Female D Grade 4+ Shern Timmins, Amy Catlin, Lily Innes-Irons, Lilian Van Oosterhout, plus cox Keith Wong seeing off their competition to win another gold medal – well done girls!

With races coming in thick and fast boats continued to get on and off the water,

Richard Verheyen, Steven Sheppard, Dennis Beck, Tim Evans, Cox: Shern Timmins represented in the D Grade 4x+ managing a second place in their heat.

This was followed by Mike Gehling and Dario Sportelli back in a single for the Open. In different draws Mike came second in his heat followed by Dario coming first in his heat he then powered through to win the final.

The afternoon of racing was drawing to a close with Keith Wong, Michael Calvert, Jon Roberts, John Carey, Cox: Christine Sullivan in the Male C grade 4x+ coming second in their heat followed by Shern Timmins, Lilian Van Oosterhout, Lily Innes-Irons, Susanna Mullner, Cox: Denis Henry in the Female D Grade 4x+ winning their heat but being pipped to the medals in the final.

The masters mixed 4x+ were up for the penultimate race of the day (exc finals) with Christine Sullivan, Guy Ayres, Leigh Sullivan, Diana Vernon, Cox: Denis Henry Despite their handicap they came through strongly to take the win, seeing off E grade crews Wentworth and Warrnambool and another medal was theirs.

Finally was the mixed 4x+ Anthea Amos, Amy Catlin, Richard Verheyen, Dennis Beck, Cox: Aline Dejaegher who finished off the day coming third in their heat.

Overall it was a great day for Richmond with too many athletes to count taking part in 24 events.

Whilst people weren’t racing there was an awesome cheer squad at the tent with really good viewing. When we weren’t on the water it was equally fun watching other crews battle it out on the water and obviously prepare our vocal chords for when a Richmond boat was passing.

After the conclusion of the day the happy campers went back to the campsite for some fire cooked food (I tried a new Aussie delicacy of bananas stuffed with chocolate cooked on the fire in foil – YUM) and the other Richmond-ers headed back to the motel for some more civilised thai food.

And then it was Sunday and we were ready for the Head of the Wimmera. A 6.2km course finishing in the same place as the regatta. Special thanks to the coxes, some of whom I am sure would have preferred to row but enabled other crews to do so, it is always appreciated.

The Richmond crews were:

Male Open 4x+

Jon Roberts, John Carey, Dario Sportelli, Michael Gehling, Cox: Ka Ki Wong, Coach: Derek Begg

Female D Grade 4x+

Shern Timmins, Lilian Van Oosterhout, Kirsty Fergie, Aline Dejaegher, Cox: Dennis Beck, Coach: Dario Sportelli

 Mixed 4x+

Richard Verheyen, Steven Sheppard, Amy Catlin, Lily Innes-Irons, Cox: Michael Calvert, Coaches: Dario Sportelli, Ainsley Raggatt

Mixed Masters 8+

Christine Sullivan, Diana Vernon, Philip Munson, Tim Evens, Guy Ayres, Leigh Sullivan, Susanna Mullner, Anthea Amos, plus Denis Henry.

The row up the river was a great warm up however I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking, ‘I’m going to have to come back down here at race pace!’ With a couple of tricky bends on unfamiliar rivers the coxes all did a great job.

Congratulations to the Female D Grade 4x+ and Mixed Masters 8+ crews who both rounded off the weekend coming first in their categories and bringing back more bling.

With boats packed and the trailer loaded we then made a weary journey back to Melbourne, and for many a winning feeling inside!

A big thank you to Barry and Anthea for towing the trailer. Steve Sheppard for BRO’ing and to Shern for organising the accommodation and dinners. Not forgetting the coaches who constantly do a dedicated, fantastic job as well as all of those who work hard behind the scenes to make regattas happen. We all greatly appreciate it.

Kirsty Fergie

Head of Goulburn 2019

Following the great day we had at Bendigo last week, on Saturday Richmond Rowing Club was back on the racing scene for Head of the Goulburn, the best regatta of the year (in my completely biased opinion)! It starts from Nagambie Regatta Centre and follows down the beautiful Goulburn river for 7.2 km, meandering through gorgeous eucalypt forests populated with galahs and cockatoos, all the way to Tahbilk winery. As far as I know, it’s the only rowing race that finishes at a vineyard! Good incentive to get us there faster 🙂

Another nice thing about HOTG is that racing starts from 11am for everyone except school kids, a very gentlemanly schedule indeed, giving us plenty of time to drive up, load up on caffeine and get nervous. The forecast had announced a promising “14 degrees, 80% chance of showers, with possible hail storm and sustained 35km wind”, which turned out to be pretty much bang on, but it was the gusts that were particularly fierce. In fact while we were waiting around, an 8 and a 4 ended up going for a swim on the way to the start line.

1. Dario and Stef sheltering before the race

2. A Wentworth crew getting swamped by brutal wind and waves on the way to the start line

3. Bit too heavy to row now 🙁

 Finally the wait was over and it was time to go. First up were Susanna, Christine, Diana, Anthea, Charlie, Phil, Guy and Leigh in the mixed 8 event, coxed by Dianne. They powered down the course in a great time of 35:05.

4. The XM8+ crew coming in after the race

Next was the D grade male 8 with Rob, John Hellerstedt, Steven, Pavel, Nathan, Lachlan, Alex, and Garret, coxed by returning member Sarah Houghton who had only just returned from the USA the night before. Thanks Sarah for jumping in despite the jetlag! The lads had a great row and were so close to winning the event, only just a few seconds behind the Argonauts crew, bringing them in second place

5. The boys ready to rock!

6. MD8+ at the finish, tired but happy

After the eights came the quads, and our first was the men’s B grade quad with Jon Roberts, Allan Randall, Mike Gehling and Dennis Beck, steered by superstar cox Derek Begg. They were looking very clean and powerful throughout, and despite the gusts managed to get a brilliant time of 31:20. This brought the first win for Richmond, well done boys!

7. The MB4X+ looking strong on the finish line

8. Winners are grinners! Medals all around

We then had two mixed quads competing: The first in the Masters category consisting of Shern, Tim, Mike Calvert and Sarah Hardy, coxed by Kathy, who came third of their event with a very respectable time of 36.05.

The second mixed quad was up next with Dario, Kirsty, Keith and Ally, expertly coxed by Lilian for her first time at HOTG, well done! Despite a few windy wobbles, the row was strong and got us a win for the event. Celebrations and wine were in order!

9. Lilian getting the cox treatment 🙂

10. X4X+ between rowing and wine tasting

The final Richmond crew to head off was the Women’s D grade 4 with Amy, Imogen, Lily and Stef, coxed by the lovely Laurent Demay. They had an excellent row, but the competition was too fierce and they came in second.

After all the exertion, it was time to join the rest of the Richmond gang at the cellar door, to refuel and hydrate among all the goodies Tahbilk had on offer. We could also admire the lovely old buildings, huge wine barrels and vineyard equipment that gives this old winery all its charm and character. Even the medals reflect this heritage, featuring the famous Chinaman’s bridge and the iconic 3-tiered farm building. They’re really pretty.

11. Tahbilk winery looking sharp

12. Pretty medals

13. Time for some food, hot sauce dribbling into blisters

Well done everyone for another brilliant regatta! All in all it was great craic despite the weather, and Richmond took full advantage of it all. In fact we were the last to leave, as usual 🙂

14. Obligatory shot in the vines before leaving

Big thanks to Steve Sheppard for his duties as BRO Level 2 during the regatta.

Thank you also to Chris and Leigh for towing the trailer, and Barry for bringing the trailer from the Regatta Centre to Tahbilk.

And Finally, massive thanks to all the coxswains who made the trip up to Nagambie and allowed a crew to race: Dianne, Sarah H, Derek, Kathy, Lilian, and Laurent. You guys are legends!

Ally

Bendigo Sprint Regatta 2019

Last Saturday the Bendigo Sprint Regatta took place, a 480-meter race event on Lake Weeroona in Bendigo. The day started very early for some of the single scull rowers, which is the reason why some of us spend the day before in Bendigo as well. A very good Italian dinner cooked by Dario and a good night sleep made all of us ready for the next day full of races! For us, Lilian and Dieuwke, it was the second event we joined as a Richmond rower and we were proud to be part of the team. Richmond was well represented and the day was full of fun, cheering, mugs and we are happy and proud that we could be part of the Richmond rowers!

Keith and Lilian started of the day in the male open single scull and female c grade single scull fields and they both did a great job! Unfortunately, the competition was high, and they did not reach the finals, but they set the bar high for the other Richmond rowers. Dario’s first race as a Richmond rower was the next event, in the male c grade single scull in which he showed his great rowing skills and finished first in his heat and later first in the final with a time of 1:38.56: the first mug for Richmond!

Next, it was the turn for the d grade female quads and male fours. The quad with Gypsy, Ally, Dieuwke, Kirsty and Derek as a cox, finished first and therefore placed themselves in the final where they won with a time of 1:42.90! Also, the male four with Alex Pupko, Richard, Lachlan, Pavel and Derek coxing placed themselves in the final, but the opponents were very strong so unfortunately they were not able to beat them in the finals.

After this, some double scull races took place, where all the male open double scullers found their way into the finals. Also, the mixed double scull of Dario and Gypsy, the d grade double scull of Ally and Kirsty and the d grade single scull of Gypsy made it to the finals. One of the last races was the female novice quad, with Lilian, Lea, Pauline, Dieuwke and Pippa as a cox: they also made it to the finals where they won with a time of 1:43.89.

Halfway the day, more finals started. All of us were standing close to the waterfront to have a good look at the race and cheer them to the finish line. The finals of the male c grade and female d grade pairs were very exciting, with Stef and Lea finishing first: they did an amazing job! The four with Lily, Imogen, Stef, Pauline and Pippa as a cox also did an amazing job by finishing first with at time of 1:49.18. Keith and Dario, c grade double scull, took the first place in the finals as well with a time of 1:27.69. Next up were the finals of the male, female and mixed eights, which all showed great rowing skills, but unfortunately the opponents were too strong to beat them.

All in all, it was a great day for the Richmond rowers. Together with the rest of the female yellow squad, we celebrated the end of a very successful day by taking a photo with the mugs and all went back to Melbourne with a very proud feeling. Especially for us, it was a great opportunity to experience this Australian rowing race since we are exchange students leaving back to the Netherlands soon. The experience we had with the whole squad and the enthusiasm of our coach Dario, made us eager to continue rowing once we are back home! Thanks everyone for making it an amazing day!

Lilian and Dieuwke

RRC Head Season Training Camp 2019

Thoughts of a ‘never camper’

This was my first rowing camp. This was my first brush with a camping experience of any kind, period. I rocked up with a mind full of newbie questions: what’s it going to be like? ‘how remote is Nagambie if I forget something’? As a result, I packed like I was preparing for an apocalypse – gear for every weather condition and snacks for every hunger level. Also, someone please explain ‘box biting’?

Getting to Nagambie

The drive to Nagambie the one of the most beautiful experiences. I carpooled with the Hardys (Sarah and Matt) who knew the roads we were travelling so well. The conversation was lively, lolly supply generous and the drive itself was a super unwinding experience with views of endless canola fields and at one point, alpacas!

The first thing that strikes you on reaching the cabins is the spectacular view of lake.

I spent a good half hour on my cabin deck just taking it all in. The weather was surprisingly sunny and bright for most of the weekend, and a glimpse of the summer to come. That evening, we got ready for our first row, which for me was a quad. This row helped me get a feel of the lake with its many buoys and weeds.

We ended the day with a drink at the pub followed by a box-biting demonstration from the reigning champion himself, Keith, back in the cabins.

Rowing Hard

Saturday started super early with a view of a gorgeous sunrise from the cabin deck.

The first session of the day was a quad again but this time, we went up the Goulbourn river with Kathy coxing us (thanks a ton!). We had a shaky start to begin with, mostly because our crew hadn’t rowed together and we all brought our unique styles. But we kept at it with our cox and Michael coaching us from the ‘tinny’ through the second and third sessions that day. All the hard work was made worth it by the carrot cake at lunch (I still get dreams of it). The last row of the day was a highlight because it was my first time in a single skull. Though, the looks of trepidation on Barry and Michael’s faces while I almost tipped the boat getting in were priceless. I had a constant mental record of “hands together”, “oars feathered”, “DON’T FALL IN”!

Saturday night BBQ left me in a food coma. I unapologetically went for a second round, it was that good. Then came box biting. I would still like to know the origins of the tradition; if you know, stop and share. We had 2 rounds of everyone trying until it came down to the final round. Of course Keith won, but I think we also spotted an emerging talent in Pippa who gave him some tough competition. The general strategy seems to be picking the highest edge of the box. Until next camp, my strategy is going to be practicing Yoga to maintain develop the balance and flexibility!

All the coaching and practice from Saturday came to head on our Sunday rows. By now, a few of us from DS had been working as a consistent crew. If Saturday was shaky, Sunday was strong and sturdy. I count them as one of the best rows I’ve had. We had a moment going up the river when we held the boat still to just take in sounds of the birds and look at the giant pelicans. A far cry from the urban sounds and sights of Melbourne.

Can’t thank everyone who organised, coached and coxed for the weekend enough.

All in all, here are my somewhat helpful ‘pro tips’ for first-time campers:

  • Bring snacks, lots of them
  • Don’t skip the cake
  • Bring Beer (or your poison of choice), you’ll need it after a hard day’s row
  • Nearest good coffee is at a café called Foxhole, but be prepared for a 20-minute wait (resulting in a missed session on water!)
  • About 50% of people at boat loading/unloading are as clueless as you but acting super purposeful. You’re not alone!

Its been a few weeks since Camp now, and I can feel the change in my technique. Looking forward to next year.

Saloni Dikshit

Saltwater Challenge 2019

Richmond were out in force for the first regatta of the season, the 2019 Saltwater Challenge, with 34 rowers and coxswains involved across ten crews. The weather was against us, with cold temperatures, periods of rain and strong winds, but we still had an enjoyable day on the Maribyrnong.

The first event for Richmond was the Male Master’s quad, in which we had two crews: Jon, John Michael and Dennis, coxed by Derek, and Richie, Steve, Alex and Kim, coxed by Keith. Both crews performed strongly in a highly competitive field of 20 boats. The first of these crews was also the fastest Richmond boat of the day, with an impressive time of 17:10.

The Female D grade quad was the next event, with three Richmond crews ensuring that Dario was kept very busy as he attempted to follow all three boats on his bike. Dieuwke, Gypsy, Kirsty and Ally with cox Rosie were first out, followed by Sarah, Shern, Amy and Susanna with cox Anthea and finally Imogen, Lilian, Pauline and myself, coxed by Wendy. For many of us it was the first time competing in the Salty and it was my first race ever, so nerves were high in the marshalling area – not helped by the long wait in the cold. Once we were off, however, we warmed up quickly and the 4500m race flew by. We were happy with our placings of 4th, 9th and 5th respectively out of 12 boats and look forward to putting our training to the test at the next race!

At the conclusion of these races, many had to row back up to the start with minimal break while those of us not rowing or coxing again sought warmth and shelter from the elements inside the Essendon rowing club, a perfect place to watch the finish. The first Richmond crew in the final bracket of the day was the Male C grade quad of Keith, John, Red and Dennis, coxed by Derek, closely followed by the Mixed Master’s quad of Diana, Charlie, Michael and Anthea with cox Wendy.

Many of the women from the D grade competed again in the master’s event (Shern, Sarah, Ally and Amy with cox Kathy) and C grade quad (Kirsty, Rosie, Gypsy and Dieuwke with cox Lilian), performing valiantly at the end of a big day with 18km of rowing! Finally, the Male D grade quad of Lachlan, Amir, Duyao and Alex, coxed by Imogen, rounded out the competition with another strong performance.

While unfortunately there were no medals for Richmond, there were many excellent performances and it was a fun day, especially in hindsight after a hot shower! Many thanks to all of the coaches, coxes and supporters and everyone who worked behind the scenes to ensure the smooth running of the day.

Pippa Trevella

2019 AGM and our most recent boat naming

The Richmond Rowing Club Annual General Meeting was held at the club on Saturday 27th July 2019. Thank you to all Committee members for their significant contributions through the year. A brief summary of the year’s activities is provided below; the full Annual Report including all Committee member reports is attached RRC Annual Report 2018/19

Membership Growth – Following a 14% increase in members last year, our financial member numbers grew by a further 13% to 161 (from 142 last year).

Member number growth continues through our Learn to Row program transitioning into our Development squad. As a result we have invested in increased coaching for this group of new members to continue to increase their skill levels as they start to compete at regattas and look to progress into other squads. Whilst we will continue to focus on Learn to Row courses in the coming year we will focus them on the summer months to maximise numbers and retention so the Development Squad continues to have a critical mass.

Member Engagement – Our events continue to bring the club together socially while generating funds for clubs fleet expansion. We held 6 major events, a number or smaller events and our training camp during the year from casual BBQ’s to Quiz Night, Presentation Night, New Year’s Eve. Thank you to Christine Sullivan for leading the Fundraising role with support from many of our members, a special thank you to all of the members that have helped out during the year.

The Committee has also turned their mind to our environmental impact as a club, implementing recycling bins in the club, facilitating the use of rain water for boat washing and supporting the Yarra River keepers Association as part of their projects to tidy the Yarra.

Demonstrate Club Success on the Water – In 2018/19 we expanded the number of paid coaching resources to support our volunteer coaches and we will continue this in the coming year.

It has been great to see excellent participation and regatta results throughout the year, lots of successes and members competing in their first regattas. In particular the results at the State Championships, where we picked up three golds including Michelle Joy and Kate Dyball in the Women’s A Grade Double.

Governance and Finance – Our venue continues to generate significant income through day and evening rentals resulting in a strong financial position.

We have continued to invest in the rowing program, but we must also continue to invest in our facilities to generate this revenue. Surplus funds generated are split between fleet and facility, with funds prudently reserved for significant capital works expected on the building in coming years. During the year the club invested in re-racking the rear middle section of the shed to increase boat capacity, at the same time we renegotiated the MLC sublease to progressively take back part of the third bay for our own use as the fleet expands.

We again invested heavily in our fleet, christening three new Sykes boats, a coxless quad and men’s and women’s double/pairs, and a second hand Wintech mid-weight single. We also expanded the number of oars and added a further 4 ergos to the gym.

In the coming year we have committed to further expand the fleet, replacing the Jennifer Campbell with a 5 year old Sykes 8+, buying a second-hand Sykes double and a new mid-weight Wintech single.

A major part of the AGM is to elect a new Committee and saying farewell to any departing members from the Committee.

Stefanie Dudczig and Yash Vegi have been the 2 ordinary members as part of the Committee over the last year. Stef has provided great assistance to the Secretary with the new member process and Yash has worked closely with Tim in relation to the Learn to Row organisation. Both of them will continue to assist with these areas in non-Committee roles. Thank you to both of you for your contribution to the Committee.

The Committee for the 2019-20 season (the 157th RRC Committee) consists of:

President – Jon Roberts

Vice-President – Aline Dejaeger

Secretary – John Carey

Treasurer – Kathy Macrow

Captain of Boats – Barry Campbell

Head of Rowing – Tim Evans

Facilities Coordinator – Lucy Crunden

Fundraising Coordinator – Christine Sullivan

Two ordinary members – Kim Begelhole and Amy Katlin

Congratulations and welcome to our newest Committee members, John Carey and Amy Catlin.

At the conclusion of the AGM and as part of our fleet renewal program we proceeded downstairs to name our newest fleet addition, a Sykes Women’s Eight. We were very pleased to be able to name this boat after one of our life members who continues to row successfully today, Ray Dennis.

Ray has been a member of the club since 1957 and continues to wear the Richmond zootie, including picking three Gold medals in the 2019 Australian Masters Regatta.

We then proceeded to take to the water for some fun with club races. We ran a Head Season format, with time trials from the Island to the Club. Congratulations to all those who took part and the winning 8.

Thank you to everyone who helped with the BBQ and bar afterwards.