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Girls win back-to-back Head of the River Regattas

The Girls First VIII celebrate another historic win

Our girls have done it again! Following a drought-breaking win in 2021, the Girls First VIII Rowing crew has once again won the Head of the River Regatta at Lake Nagambie.

This is only the third time in APS rowing history that we have won this prestigious event. A huge congratulations to our rowers, four of whom were part of last year’s winning crew: Lauren Keneally, Caitlin Woods, Maddie Marquet-Walker, Lauren Mayhood, Kessem Shahak, Thea Coull, Lucy Thomson, Saskia Blackburn, Fiona Dow and their dedicated coach, David Webster.

Wesley’s Head of Rowing, Matt Ryan, summed up the incredible result: ‘It was such an amazing row by the crew and a great reward for all their hours of sacrifice and dedication. They have been a fantastic group to work with. We are incredibly proud of what they have achieved and grateful for all they have done for the program.’

Results like this don’t just happen. The girls started training online at the start of Term 3 last year when Melbourne was still in lockdown. They were given a rowing machine to use at home and completed six sessions a week on the rowers as well as body weight circuits.

When Term 4 started and they were able to get back on the water, they completed nine training sessions a week, clocking up somewhere close to 18 hours in total. Training ran from October through to the running of the Head of the River in late March.

‘The feeling a rower receives when they cross that finish line is indescribable, but the feeling of crossing the Head of River finish line tops it all,’ said an elated Lucy Thomson. ‘All the hours of training, blood, sweat and tears flashes before your eyes. The best part is that eight others did it right beside you.’

‘The strength that we showed throughout the race was a tribute to our hard work and perseverance over the season,’ added Fiona Dow. ‘I couldn’t be prouder of our crew and the result we achieved, as well as the legacy we have worked to create.’

While the summer season has come to a close, we are excited for the year ahead with four returning crew members vowing to give it everything they’ve got again next year. Could they go back-to-back-to-back? We can only dare to dream!

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