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For most rowers the season finishes with the Head of the River regatta, but for a growing group of students the final races of the season in Australia are the National Rowing Championships (Nationals, March 28 – April 3) in pursuit of podium performances.

This year as a result of the standard continuing to improve, the senior squad were given permission to take the 1st VIII and 2nd VIII to Nationals. Both our VIIIs had proven in the local regatta season to be the two fastest school boy crews, a testament to our student athletes and our coaches’ commitment to the ‘bottom up effect’.

After navigating another COVID-19 impacted season the sport of Rowing was also impacted by the severe floods on the east coast resulting in the Sydney International Regatta Centre deemed unsafe.

An alternate venue was put out to tender with Nagambie in Victoria the chosen venue. After a frantic few days the SPSC Nationals campaign was re-organised and three mini buses made the trip across to Nagambie.

On arrival we settled into our accommodation at Rusty Springs (highly recommended), erected camp at the regatta centre and began training in the different boat classes we had entered, all the while preparing for the Schoolboy Championship race at the end of the week.

All boat classes entered performed well and to see our 2nd VIII in the U19 Men’s VIII perform strongly beating many other first VIII crews from around the country including PAC’s first VIII once again, was a real indication of the depth; the fact that most members of the 2nd VIII are Year 11 students bodes well for the 2022/23 season).

As the week progressed towards finals the SPSC 1st VIII split into combination crews with rowers from other schools to create composite crews. First to race was Albert Howard (Year 11) in the U17 Men’s coxed quad with three other rowers from Sydney; their bronze medal was a great result for Albert and a wonderful experience.

Jake Nesbitt (Year 12) has been training all season in an Adelaide composite U19 Men’s Coxless Four including a boy from Scotch and two boys from PAC. The training in the lead up to the competition paid off with a convincing win and a Nationals gold medal for Jake.

As per previous National campaigns we entered a Saints U19 Men’s VIII with Scotch College Adelaide’s top rower Adam Holland and the crew progressing through the early round strongly before securing a silver medal in the final – a great result.

The 1st VIII arrived at Nationals as defending Schoolboy VIII National Champions and begun their campaign well in their heat progressing straight through to the A Final on Sunday 3 April. The crew were in a good position coming into nationals, and it was good to see the standard of the other schoolboy crews was high. Unfortunately, the wind in Nagambie meant the course was unfair due to a persistent cross wind causing the officials to reseed the lane draw. This meant every crew after the 1st seed was moved in order out into lanes that became more impacted by the cross wind. In an outdoor sport this is part of the game, but it did make the final race challenging, upsetting the early favourites who had achieved a higher seeding through their efforts in earlier races.

The SPSC crew started well but after some early pushes from other crews on their right, they found themselves in fourth place. They held this position for the remainder of the race with the margins tightening following a great push to the line from our boys.

Coming off the win last season and recording a very respectful fourth place is a credit to all involved. Although disappointed with the outcome, the boys kept their performance in perspective, proving the standard of the SPSC boat club is now a podium finish at the National Rowing Championships, is a good place to be!

Thank you to all the coaches, parents and student athletes for making the Nationals such an enjoyable trip, because we ticked the most important box and had fun.

Tim Hennessy
Director of Rowing