For every 2000m race run here at Lake Barrington, at the 2021 Aon Australian Rowing Championships, each boat needs a holder to ensure that the boats line up straight in their lanes and evenly across the start.
For some regattas this requires running around on event day, finding volunteers to help out. Rowing Tasmania have come up with a great solution to this, developing a relationship with the Ulverstone Scout Group who have handled this technical task for the last five years. The group are part of the Coles Rowing Volunteers at this year’s Nationals too.
Scout leader Fiona said, “We always enjoy coming here to Lake Barrington. We did the last Masters Nationals [in 2018], so now we’re here for the Open National Championships.
“The rowers here are very polite, very happy and say hello, it’s a pleasure to hold for them. The umpires are great too, they make it fun and interesting for us.”
Ulverstone is about 50 minutes’ drive from the course – but the group do not travel to and from their accommodation every night, rather, they get picked up on the bank from their campsite from the 1000m mark and transported to the start line for their duties.
“We weren’t able to camp last year because of COVID, obviously, but we usually camp up above where all the boat racks and infrastructure are, even for the weekend. To be here for the week is an interesting experience – we are looking forward to some sun!”
Molly, 13, enjoys the activity but went for an unexpected dip yesterday when distracted running away from a bug on the boat–holding “fingers”. “Trying to keep warm and dry is tough, especially when we go for unscheduled swims – we nearly lost two today!”
Xander, 16, was impressed at the calibre of athletes at the course. “Normally the events we boat hold at are just over a weekend for the school, club, or state regattas, so to be here for the week and to be around the future Olympians and Paralympians is exciting!”
When asked if the young scouts were interested in getting involved with the sport, a couple looked eager while others shook their heads. “It looks like such a long way! From the starting pontoon, all the way to the end? Nah… And they get up even earlier than we do!”
Rowing Tasmania are looking to develop an opportunity for the Scouts to come and try the sport however for the time being, we love having them around and holding our boats at the event!