Rowing glory up for grabs – Ballarat Times


THE most anticipated day on the Lake Wendouree competition calendar is approaching, with Ballarat Associated Schools’ Head of the Lake set for the morning of Sunday 25 February.

Junior and senior rowers and coxswains from year 9 to 12 will compete over one and two kilometre courses representing Ballarat High School, Ballarat Grammar, and Ballarat Clarendon, Damascus, Loreto, St Patrick’s, and Phoenix colleges.

Damascus is the regatta’s BAS host school for 2024, and the school’s rowing director Paul Blanchfield said it’s a welcome opportunity to coordinate the action during the boat club’s 10th year on the water.

“We’re excited to get to host Head of the Lake because it’s a massive event on the Ballarat rowing calendar, not just for the schools, but across the whole community, and it’s coincided really well with our celebrations at Damascus,” he said.

“In both the girls and boys, a win could be had by anyone; it’s been a very competitive season with close racing.

“Some schools have more numbers, but others have less and are more competitive. We’re excited to see what they can do.

“We always have so many people coming out to watch, spectate, and support, whether they’re there for the morning, or just out to see the division ones.”

School rowing in Ballarat has traditionally had a focus on coxed sweep fours, but sculling has become a staple of junior and intermediate programs at sheds around the lake in recent years.

Blanchfield said the 2024 HOTL program will reflect that.

“All of the year 9 and 10 races are quad sculls, and then we have five senior divisions in the sweep fours,” he said.

“We also have two exhibition events of single sculling and double sculling, and it’s up to each school who they put in for those.

“At Damasus, for example, we have a year 10 boy in the single sculls event.”

The increase in sculling, and small boat training and racing over recent years, is something Blanchfield said is beneficial to students, particularly if they want to pursue rowing when they finish high school.

“Your ability to be a competent rower in a small boat is very sought after at club level, because if you can row a small boat well, you can generally slip into any big boat as well,” he said.

Organisers have been working with City of Ballarat officers to plan event logistics, including road closures and the regatta will also be livestreamed on YouTube.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *