Bairnsdale Rowing Club’s eighth annual Head of the Mitchell River Irish League Regatta boasts a record number of entries of 16 eights drawn for tomorrow’s race.
There are more than 200 rowers entered to compete for the second year in a row in a field of all boat classes ranging from your traditional eights, fours, quads, doubles and singles.
The main staging area, based on the riverbank at Howitt Park, will once again provide a vantage point to view the head and sprint races as rowers cross the finish line.
There will be 17 schools and clubs represented, one making its first appearance on the highly regarded waterway. Genazzano will compete with a squad of four eights crews under new director of rowing, Peter Campbell, who is no stranger to the area having previously been in charge of the Gippsland Grammar rowing program over a three-year period. Campbell is keen to support and compete in this event once again.
Gippsland Grammar’ s director of rowing, Nick Bartlett, now in his second year at the helm, has entered 20 crews and has already tasted success this season at last month’s season opening regatta, the Saltwater Classic.
Among the school’ s entries are two eights which will contain two Bairnsdale Rowing Club junior rowers, Kate Holzapfel and Sam Dent. The composite schoolgirl and schoolboy eights crew are using this regatta as a stepping stone to next month’s Head of the Yarra Regatta, which they are entered to compete in and serves as great initiative between Gippsland Grammar and Bairnsdale Rowing Club to make rowing inclusive.
Another school that has embraced the event and the region since first coming last year with a high number of rowers is Caulfield Grammar.
“Some of the rowers will have frequented the district in consecutive weeks as they had a training camp on the Nicholson River last week,” Bairnsdale Rowing Club’s Tim Hamilton said.
“Last year’s format of two head races was well received and has been strongly supported by good entries again.
“The first head race will commence at 9am, 5km downstream from the finish line situated on the river roughly directly opposite the Old Butter Factory. The first race is primarily a bracket of smaller boats, singles and doubles to give rowers the opportunity to better time trial individually and then team crew in larger boats in the second head race commencing at 11am.
“The time taken for boats to row the 5km distance varies from 18 minutes to approximately 28 minutes.”
The Irish League 500m sprint races, which comprise up to four boats in the field, will start around 1pm, culminating with the “A” final at around 1.45pm.
“The seeding for the Irish League is determined by the order of the fastest to slowest head race times, irrespective of boat class, which ultimately gives the sprint races a sense of Irishness to the field of seeded races,” Tim said.
There will be eight Bairnsdale Rowing Club crews entered. The club will be catering for the event with an array of food and drinks on offer during the regatta competition period.
An information stand will be on display for any interested people wishing to find out more about giving rowing a go.
PICTURED: Bairnsdale Rowing Club members are eager to hit the water for the eighth Mitchell River Irish League Regatta.