Head of the Lake: Ballarat High School

BALLARAT High School will be chasing the boys’ and girls’ division one titles to claim its first Head of the Lake victory since the turn of the millennium.

The boys’ crew – which posted the regatta’s third fastest time ever last year – still couldn’t snag the title from Ballarat Grammar.

“They’re on target and rowing well. It’s a one-off race and we’ve got crews who can do well, but it’s who’s the best on the day,” boys’ firsts coach Glenn Kallio said.

“Pat’s (Hawkes) got that real deep passion to impress the old boys and he wants to break the drought. Hopefully we are due.”

Both firsts crews will be coxed by the only sister duo in the division one competition, with 15-year-old Milli Bilson barking at the boys and 17-year old Remi Bilson in the girls’ ears.

Girls’ firsts coach Leigh Cross said it was unusual for Remi to cox given she was the tallest person in the team.

Rowing in the Steph O’Neill, the reformed girls’ crew will enter the boat race as the underdogs after coming in fourth place at last year’s regatta.

THE RIVALS

A RESOUNDING chime of “beat Grammar” came from the boys’ crew after they lost the title to them last year.

“Grammar is the number one to beat. We came second last year and made the third fastest time in history,” boys’ captain Patrick Hawkes said.

However, the girls’ crew has one eye on Grammar and another on the Ballarat Clarendon College shed.

“Seeing College on the water looks like the team that needs to be beaten,” girls’ bow Tamaysha Bishop said.

THE TRAINING

HIGH School chose to hold the fort for the summer training camp and produced some promising results, according to head of rowing Rob Simmonds.

“Speaking with the coaches and juniors, they were happy with the results. It’s built confidence in the group,” Simmonds said.

Cross said the entire training regime had seen each crew gel together.

“They trained well and have been diligent. They’re the smallest crew, but hopefully they go well,” she said.

THE FLEET

THE High School fleet has expanded significantly to 26 crews, up from 17 during the 2013 Head of the Lake Regatta.

THE SUPPORTERS

HUNDREDS of students, families and friends will be on the bank shouting in support for High School on February 28, but Cross said excitement has been building for months.

“There’s a good atmosphere and the buzz is happening. People are asking how we are going,” she said.

* The Courier is running profiles on other schools in coming days in the lead-up to head of the Lake.

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