Wellington East Girls’ College Rowers Beat The Boys In Season Opener

A crew of girls has beaten the boys in the first rowing regatta of the season.

On Saturday, over 80 rowers including 45 representing four Wellington schools and a composite Hutt Valley school crew, travelled over to the Ruamahanga River in the Wairarapa to contest the Bishop Owen Oar race.  Five school eights crews from Wellington East Girls’ College, Queen Margaret College, Wellington College, Scots College and from the Hutt Valley schools took part – with WEGC winning.  The WEGC, QMC, Wellington College and Scots Colleges rowers all row under the banner of the Star Boating Club.

How did the girls beat the boys? Star Boating Club coach Christie Davis explained.  “It is done by prognostics, which means that we take the world record time for the U16 girls in this event and the world record time for the U18 boys and it comes out as a

percentage of that time so they can race each other.”

It was a staggered start, 30 seconds apart.  “They are not actually racing against each other, it is based on how fast they are, “said Davis.  The crews overtake each other though if they catch up.

“Winners Wellington East were the third to set off and they were the second across the line, which means they passed the boat in front of them.”  The Ruamahanga River course was 6.5km long and the race took about 20 minutes. “We all got on the water at about 10am and it took 45 minutes to row upstream to the starting point and less than half to come back downstream.”

What was it like racing on the river?  “It’s a big, wide river but there are some shallow bits where they had to navigate and make sure they didn’t crash the boat, which was quite interesting!  “We had a few small incidents with the umpire’s boats, but mostly the coxes from the girls and boys were very good and it went smoothly.”

Of the WEGC crew that won the schools eight race, most of them are just second-year rowers.  “They are mostly U16 and to beat the U18 boys was pretty amazing, they were very much the underdogs going in,” said Davis.  After spending the winter training indoors and on the harbour where possible, the Bishop Owen Oar regatta is a traditional early season event to kick-start the rowing season. It was revived last weekend after a six-year hiatus owing to it being cancelled every year because of the conditions.  It has traditionally been on the harbour, but this year organisers were keen for it to go ahead hence the move to the Ruamahanga River.

The season starts officially in early September, with the annual Reading Shield regatta on the harbour.  The rowing season for the school rowers lasts several months, with a series of regattas locally and further afield for both club and school leading up to the Maadi Cup at the end of March. “It’s a long season, it’s pretty intense but they love it,” concluded Davis.

Queen Margaret College finished second, Wellington College third, the Hutt Valley schools boat fourth and Scots College fifth.

The winning WEGC crew was: Alex Colson-Clark, Pip Crowley, Ella Murdoch, Mia Murdoch, Lucy Coltart, Sophie Attard, Jess Riddell, Hazel Hall, Coco Boswell


Article courtesy of College Sport Media

Photos courtesy of Star Boating Club