Ballarat Grammar School is on target for back-to-back Head of the Lake-national championship doubles.
Grammar made it two consecutive Ballarat Associated Schools Head of the Lake division one doubles at Lake Wendouree yesterday – winning the boys’ and girls’ titles.
The crews now have an opportunity to emulate the school’s 2012 feat of going on to take out the national schoolboys’ and schoolgirls’ championships.
But for Grammar’s girls’ head of boats Jess Whiteside, who had the bow seat in yesterday’s victory, right now she cannot image anything matching the excitement of taking out the Head of the Lake.
“I’m so proud,” she said.
“This is the race which stops Ballarat.”
“It’s been a phenomenal day.”
Whiteside said the crew had worked extremely hard under the guidance of coach Bill Gribble.
“We gave it everything.
Cox Clara Toohey was the only member of the crew to have been part of last year’s Head of the Lake win.
Stroke Emma Hills stepped up from open division four, while Marley Downe, Maddie Meek and Whiteside were promoted from the division two boat.
Gribble said everything had gone to plan.
He said while confident going into the event, there had been some nerves and it had not been until the boat crossed the line that the job had been done.
Gribble said it had always been the intention to go out hard, take control, hold an advantage and then step up the pressure in the closing stages.
This was exactly how the 2000 metres panned out in close to perfect conditions on a flat Lake Wendouree.
Grammar led by a length after 500m and by the halfway mark had doubled this advantage, leaving Ballarat Clarendon College alone in second, and Loreto College and Ballarat High School to fight out third.
And this was the way it stayed to the line.
Gribble said while there would be a little time for celebration, there was plenty more work to do.
His crew will get next weekend off before contesting the Head of the Schoolgirls’ regatta on the Barwon River at Geelong on March 16-17 as a final hit-out before the nationals at Penrith in NSW on March 18-24.