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.