BALLARAT Grammar has retained the national schoolboys' coxed four rowing crown with a win in Sydney this afternoon.
Grammar's crew of Josh Clough, Thomas Creber, Arthur Armstrong, Oscar Stephan and cox Matt Haberfield powered from the outset, keeping an edge on closest rival Brighton Grammar at the Sydney International Rowing Regatta.
The Ballarat Associated Schools' Head of the Lake champion clocked a winning time of six minutes, 40.95 seconds.
Brighton was a narrow 0.57 seconds behind.
In a big weekend for Grammar rowers, the girls firsts claimed bronze in a photo finish for the schoolgirls' coxed four.
It was tight racing with Lauriston Girls, Kinross Wolaroi and Grammar locked in a tight battle for medals. But a late surge from Somerville House almost caught Grammar at the line.
Lauriston captured gold in 7:29.77 with Grammar's crew of Emma Hills, Madeline Meek, Jess Whiteside, Marley Downey and cox Clara Toohey third in 7:38.14.
Ballarat Clarendon College girls (Sarah Maher, Marion Peters, Eliza Roughead, Cassidy Ewan and cox Bess Burgess) rowed solid to finish fifth in the A-final.
In other racing today, Ballarat High School girls were fifth in the B-final of the fours with Ballarat's Loreto College seventh.
In the schoolboys four B-final, College was fifth and Ballarat High School was seventh.
BALLARAT Grammar will defend its national school rowing titles tomorrow afternoon and their biggest threats have already sounded warnings in today's semi-finals in Penrith.
For the Grammar girls (Emma Hills, Madeline Meek, Jess Whiteside, Marley Downey and cox Clara Toohey), it was hometown foe Ballarat Clarendon College that served up a challenge in the Sydney International Rowing Regatta schoolgirls' coxed four semis.
Grammar and College (Sarah Maher, Marion Peters, Eliza Roughead, Cassidy Ewan and cox Bess Burgess) battled in one and two the whole 2000m course.
Head of the Lake champions Grammar had the edge to claim a win in seven minutes, 48.51 seconds with College 2.95secs behind.
They advance to the A-final with two Genazzano crews.
But it was a fast semi-final one that will give both crews plenty to mull over tonight.
Lauriston Girls posted the fastest qualifier in 7:38.84 and the next three boats across the line - Newcastle Grammar, Somerville House and Kinross Wolaroi - were each faster than Grammar and College.
Loreto College (8:13.25) and Ballarat High School (8:34.12) will contest tomorrow's B-final after finishing seventh and eighth to Lauriston Girls in semi-final one.
Each scraped through to semi-final action after scraping through in second place in their repechages this morning.
BALLARAT GRAMMAR boys' four nabbed an A-final spot as clear winner in semi-final two this afternoon.
The Grammar crew (Josh Clough, Thomas Creber, Arthur Armstrong, Oscar Stephan and cox Matt Haberfield) clocked a time of 6:58.36 over the 2000m course.
Closest rival Brighton Grammar was 4.22secs behind and advances with Canberra Grammar and St Augustines.
Grammar will battle in the lane next to fastest qualifier Kinross Wolaroi, which took out semi-final one in 6:56.08.
Ballarat High School (7:11.49) and Ballarat Clarendon College (7:21.27) were sixth and eighth to Kinross Wolaroi.
College nabbed a spot in the semis with second place, by 0.9secs to Canberra Grammar, in this morning's repechage.