BALLARAT launches the on-the-water countdown to the 2014 World Masters Rowing Championships in seven days.
The Wendouree Ballarat Rowing Club opens the regatta season on Lake Wendouree next Saturday and Sunday.
While the world titles are not until early next season on October 9-12, every rowing event on the lake this calendar year will play a part in fine-tuning the venue.
Rowing international governing body FISA will have delegates from Europe and Asia in Ballarat during the Wendouree Ballarat regatta as part of ongoing preparations.
Ballarat Rowing Association president Eric Waller said the Ballarat rowing fraternity was looking forward to a big season – by far the busiest since the sport returned to the lake after a decade-long drought.
A highlight will be the state titles over two days next month.
The return of rowing to Ballarat has been accompanied by a series of infrastructure upgrades, including a redeveloped judges’ and broadcasting box, new starting gates and lane ropes, as well as improved spectator areas.
Waller said rowers returning after last season would notice the latest developments such as pontoons to assist crews putting boats on the water and timing pontoons.
He said while work would continue on improving facilities right up to the world championships, the bulk of the rowing infrastructure upgrades had been undertaken.
Rowing Victoria chief executive officer Mick Gall said the state titles and Wendouree Ballarat regatta were two of the biggest events in the state.
He praised the efforts of the City of Ballarat and Ballarat Rowing Association in getting the Lake Wendouree rowing facility to where it was.
“They’ve done an amazing job,” he said.
Ballarat rowing calendar:
- Saturday, February 8-Sunday, February 9: Wendouree Ballarat Rowing Club regatta
- Sunday, February 23: St Patrick’s College regatta
- Friday, February 28: Ballarat Associated Schools Head of the Lake
- Saturday, March 1-Sunday, March 2: Victoria Rowing Championships
- Saturday, March 8-Sunday, March 9: Ballarat Rowing Association regatta
- Saturday, April 5: Ballarat Rowing Association graded and masters regatta
- Saturday, May 17: Victorian Masters Rowing Championships.