Head of the Lake: St Pat's crew hopes experience counts

THE FIRSTS

THE 2013 St Patrick’s College crew brings experience to the water and hopes that will show during the Head of the Lake regatta on Sunday. 

For three of the boys, Jaykeb Lench, Tom Young and Caleb McGrath, this is their third year rowing together in the same crew and second year altogether in the senior firsts.

“This race means everything to us; it’s what we’ve worked for our whole rowing career, and to be able to do it with these boys that I’ve worked with for so long is even greater,” Jaykeb Lench said. 

“We were there together last year, where unfortunately we lost, and for us to come back together and have another crack at Head of the Lake is great.”

Caleb McGrath, captain of boats, said through years of rowing together, they had all formed a very tight bond. 

Tom Mooney, a year 11 student rowing for the first time in a senior crew, said having an experienced crew around him who had competed in the main event at Head of the Lake was an advantage for the crew.

“These guys have been there and seen what it takes to win,” Mooney said.

“They trained hard last year and weren’t able to win, so we’ve worked even harder this year, knowing what it takes to get up there on the day.” 

THE RIVALS

IT’S been a couple of years since St Pat’s has been able to take top spot over Ballarat Grammar, with St Pat’s last taking the title in 2010. McGrath said although there had been change in the field, they were trying to be as competitive as possible, working hard and giving themselves a solid chance. 

“Other schools have lifted the bar over the past few years, but we’re right there behind them,” McGrath said. Lench said there was expectation from the public that Grammar would win again after winning the past couple of years, but they haven’t let that opinion distract them from their main goal. “Our main priority is focusing our ourselves, so we can give ourselves the best chance we can,” he said. 

THE TRAINING

EVEN though boat race is just around the corner, the St Pat’s boys haven’t stopped training and perfecting their processes. 

“We’re still fixing our technique now,” Mooney said. McGrath said the crew was continuing to rely on coaches to show the crew the way to go. “We’re still working to improve now,” McGrath said. “We’ve been tracking our own progress and we’re constantly getting better.” But for these boys, the training is all leading up to the big race on Sunday. “We’ve just got to stay focussed now; I can’t wait to experience that feeling of boat race again,” Lench said.

THE FLEET 

McGRATH said it wasn’t just the firsts crew that had been working hard. “We’ve got a really strong side this year,” he said. Mooney drew particular attention to their seconds crew, that performed very strongly at recent regattas. Lench said the entire program had made sure no crew was forgotten. “The program has made sure that there has been improvement in every crew,” he said. 

THE SUPPORTERS

LENCH said it doesn’t matter what sport was going on, St Pat’s always had a lot of supporters and people cheering them on. “Boat race will be no different. There’ll be lots of guys down there cheering us and all the crews on,” Lench said. 

The school began its support for boat race during the week, with everyone getting pumped for the big event. As far as specific celebrations for the 2013 crews, rowers have been kept in the dark as to what’s going on. “I’m sure the rest of the students will have something up their sleeves,” McGrath said.

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