THERE was sheer elation in the Ballarat Grammar rowing sheds having captured Boat Race glory amid a clean sweep of the top three open divisions yesterday.
Plus back-to-back titles Girls’ Heads of the Lake and a three-peat in the Boys’ Head of the Lake.
For just the second time in 10 years, crews rowed back to their own sheds on Lake Wendouree after fighting for the Ballarat Associated Schools’ rowing glory.
Boat Race returned to its Lake Wendouree home after a decade hunting water in Nagambie Lakes and Geelong’s Barwon River.
The chance to row back to their sheds, after winning or losing, was something still special and rare for this generation’s school rowers.
Grammar senior crews took a few moments to celebrate together, jumping into the water and embracing, carrying their boats back into the sheds proudly like heroes returned from battle.
Then they trekked to Loreto College as a squad for presentations.
BAS chairman of rowing and Ballarat High School principal Gary Palmer has overseen the past two Head of the Lake regattas.
While last year’s centenary celebrations for the regatta on the lake were huge, Mr Palmer said it was great to have Boat Race firmly back in Ballarat again.
“There’s a good tone and culture to have it on our lake,” Mr Palmer said.
“It’s been a fantastic day for all school communities to come together for such a positive event like rowing.
“Students are always in good voice and good spirit.”
Spit crews and supporters were notably smaller this year, compared to last year’s centenary festivities but that did not stop students, alumni and families from being in full voice.
Mr Palmer said the weather made a massive difference, with a fair morning making for good rowing and viewing.
For Ballarat Grammar rowing director Luke Pougnault, the morning was hard at work in the sheds where he was just so proud and so pleased for his rowers.
“Honestly, it’s more of a relief that anything, winning both Heads of the Lake,” Mr Pougnault said.
“There was a good spread of wins across the board and hopefully the kids see their potential.
“I think it’s hard not to be proud of them - you spend so much time with them.”
On behalf of BAS, Mr Palmer thanked the City of Ballarat, Rowing Victoria officials, first aid staff, volunteers and BAS executive officer Sharyn Canny for their hard work in pulling the regatta together.
Ballarat Grammar will host the next two Head of the Lake regattas under the BAS rotation policy.