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New race set to feature at Head of the School Girls Regatta in Victoria

Every year in Victoria, the Head of the Schoolgirls Regatta is held on the Barwon River in Geelong. The event draws over 2000 female students from across Victoria to compete in a competition that began in 1985, an event that is open to all schoolgirls, both with the GSV and APS schools along with smaller rowing programs from across the state.

This year’s regatta, which runs from 4-6 March, has an exciting addition to it, one that helps to further broaden the diverse group of female athletes that compete at the event, this addition is the inclusion of a school girl adaptive (para-rowing) single scull event. The rules surrounding the special event has been adapted to allow a schoolgirl rower from Shelford Girls’ Grammar to compete on a shorter 500 metre course.

Lucy Dick from Shelford Girls Grammar said: “This season, we found there was a need to encourage students to participate that wouldn’t necessarily be given an opportunity within a school program, but rather, only within a club setting that supported adaptive and para rowing. In doing this, all students are supported by their peers and friends and are actively a member of our rowing squad.

“We have adapted techniques, applied 1:1 coaching in training sculls and discovered alternative methods of teaching individuals that give students greater confidence in executing the rowing stroke and competing at school-based regattas. We recognised an adaptive event would be a fantastic way to extend on student’s training and what they have been learning over the progression of the season.”

Ms Dick added: “With a great deal of support and interest from Rowing Victoria and the HOSG committee, it’s exciting and timely that this adaptive (para-rowing) race has been added to this season’s calendar and hopefully it will open up further opportunities for athletes to compete at para/adaptive events at the Head of the Schoolgirls regatta into the future.”

The young schoolgirl set to compete this weekend on the Barwon River also had the opportunity to row at the Firbank Regatta in Geelong last month, with the Shelford Girls’ Grammar pupil rowing over 500m alongside some of her friends in a single sculls race to help prepare her for her first race.

“Rowing is a sport that is encouraged to be available to everyone, so we felt having the chance of this race and inclusion highlighted an opportunity to engage all student athletes regardless of ability to compete alongside their peers in an environment that promotes positive participation in a truly exciting atmosphere alongside the banks of the Barwon River,” added Ms Dick.

The hope is that with this first exhibition race being included in the HOSG Regatta this year will open up opportunities for more para-rowing events in the schools regatta calendar in the future.

More information on Shelford Girls Grammar.

More information on the HOSG Regatta, Victora.

More information on Rowing Victoria.