The big day: Crossing the line first at the Head of the Lake regatta is the ultimate dream for many of Ballarat’s passionate young rowers. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

Quad sculls make Head of the Lake history

February 18, 2021 BY

THE Ballarat Associated Schools Head of the Lake regatta will bring the Lake Wendouree rowing course to youthful life this Friday.

Damascus College, Phoenix College, St Patrick’s College, Loreto College, Ballarat High School, Ballarat Clarendon College and Ballarat Grammar students will compete.

Traditionally the HOTL carnival has showcased mainly racing of coxed fours, but this year BAS chair of rowing and Ballarat Grammar headmaster Adam Heath said things are a little different.

“2021 will be the first time we introduce, for the year 9 first and second crews, the quad scull events, as is common across Victoria for that age group,” he said.

“We’re trialling that… based on the greater breadth of competition across other schools who predominantly row in that craft, and it’s also terrific for young people’s rowing development.

“Physiologically, particularly for our youngest rowers, it may be better for our youngest rowers to learn using both sides of their body, rather than sweep-oar rowing which tends to put more focus on one side of the body.”

Ballarat’s school rowers have had a “seamless” 2021 so far, with athletes enjoying multiple regattas at home and on the Barwon River, but crossing the line first on HOTL day is their holy grail.

“They are obviously looking forward to Head of the Lake, but there is great uncertainty about what that might look like due to this week’s lockdown,” Mr Heath said.

“With regards to planning the regatta, we have had to take into account the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services guidelines, and the requirements of Rowing Victoria and City of Ballarat.

“We’ve come up with a plan that we think could lead to a really positive regatta, but we also appreciate the Premier may change many of those guidelines, and that we may need to replan, and possibly reschedule the regatta.”

Mr Heath added that BAS is “in awe” of the rowers’ positivity and optimism this year.

He said the schools collaborate seamlessly, and any decisions BAS make will have student and wider community safety and wellbeing at the fore.