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Posted by on Mar 28, 2018

2018 Head of the Schoolgirl & Australian National Rowing Championships

Hi Team,

Our Senior & Year 10 rowing squads competed in the Head of the Schoolgirls Rowing Regatta on Friday 16 – Sunday 18 March.  There was much excitement and nerves experienced by the girls as they departed Armadale early Friday morning.

Upon arriving in Geelong, our senior crews immediately commenced preparation for their heat races.  Our Yr 10 squad settled into their rooms and prepared their voices for support of the senior crews.  All senior crews raced in true Lauriston spirit and finished with competitive race times confirming we were peaking at the right time!

Our Yr 10 crews raced their heats early Friday afternoon and they surprised not only themselves but their coaches and opposition.  The determination and resilience shown against crews with more experience was terrific and all crews finished ahead of crews they’d failed to beat in earlier regattas.  The most rewarding experience was watching the broad smiles and excited reactions after racing.  There is a saying that comes out of Howqua “be comfortable being uncomfortable” and the Yr 10 girls showed exactly that.  Both senior & Yr 10 crews were now even more determined to give it their all against their opposition over the next 2 days.


Saturday commenced with senior & Yr 10 repechages.  Again, all crews raced superbly and all senior crews progressed through to semi-finals. Our senior 2nd & 3rd IVs raced their way into the A final and 1st senior IV landed in the B final.  Our Yr 10 squad faced tough opposition all weekend and 3 crews made their way into B finals which was the season goal for them.  Our Yr 10 3rd & 4th quads ended up finishing midfield in their respective divisions.

Senior 1st IV L-R Nikita Bulach (cox), Charlotte Menzie-King, Clara Conheady, Josie Wapole-Walsh & Isobel Honan

Year 10 1st Quad L-R  Dom Da Silva, Georgie Luxton, Charlie Taylor, Olivia Longley & Thilde Batagol

We woke to a very different Sunday morning with winds gusting up to 50klm and racing was delayed.  When racing did resume for a brief time the weather worsened and the regatta was cancelled. There was disappointment throughout the entire HOSG rowing community due to no finals races being completed and ALL rowers felt a lack of closure on their season.

We are immensely proud of our crews and the way they handled this disappointment.  The camaraderie shown amongst the Lauriston girls in support of each other highlighted how well both squads had come together through their rowing journey.


Nationals 2018:

One more regatta loomed for 10 of our senior rowers – the Australian National Championships in Penrith, Sydney.


1st IV

Charlotte Menzie-King

Clara Conheady

Josie Walpole-Walsh

Isobel Honan

Nikita Bulach (cox)


Combined 2nd & 3rd IV

Carmen Umbers

Alana Hayes-Chen

Zoe Jelbart

Freddie Donnelly

Phoebe Barratt (cox)


The girls arrived in Sydney last Wednesday 21st March keen to race on Australia’s premier rowing course, the Sydney International Rowing Centre.  This course was the location for the Sydney 2000 Olympic rowing regatta.  The distance raced is an additional 500m than HOSGs and both crews showed their ability to adapt their race craft to suit the additional length with solid performances in their heat race.


Both crews progressed to the repechage and our senior 1st IV were able to outgun their opposition and reach the A final.  Our 2nd IV put up a gallant effort and rowed into the B final.  Both crews raced their respective finals with pride for Lauriston and Michael Naughton (2nd IV coach) and I are very proud of our crews.  The spirit in which these 2 crews raced for Lauriston and the pride shown afterwards was a wonderful time for Michael Nuaghtion (2nd IV coach) & I to relish.

Combined 2nd & 3rd IV Nationals  L-R Phoebe Barratt (cox), Carmen Umbers, Freddie Donnelly, Zoe Jelbart & Alana Hayes-Chen

We combined both crews to race the 500m sprint race.  The girls both surprised and amazed our competitors to finish with the 3rd fastest time in the heats beating all Melbourne crews.  Once again due to mother nature we were unable to race the final due to torrential rain and lightning over the course just before the A final and racing was abandoned for the day.

Lauriston VIII getting ready for the 500m Sprint Racing!


I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms Just and the school admin team for their support of the rowing program.  We have seen the numbers double this season and we are excited for the future of our sport.  To the LRA who have supported the rowing program non-stop, we thank you for supporting our decisions, the fundraising, support at regattas and especially at HOSG regatta.  To the parents who travel to and from regattas (never in Melbourne), the support for our girls and coaches and program as a whole – thank you.

I would personally like to thank the coaches and Lisa Howden (Teacher in Charge) for the support they have given the program and the girls.  We are heading in the right direction and this would not be possible without their input.

Lastly, to our girls.  I am extremely proud of the way they have handled themselves this season.  To have the wonderful growth coupled with the great outcomes both on and off the water, the Lauriston rowing journey is one of reward and satisfaction.


Well done ladies.



Rob Manning

Head Coach – Rowing





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