AS DAMASCUS College prepares for its third appearance at the Head of the Lake, rowing coordinator Tom Nash believes the future is bright.
For the second successive year Damascus will feature in the girls open division two event, while its solitary open boys crew is set to compete in division three.
This year, the school will have 13 crews in total competing – its most thus far – and Nash told The Courier that the program was starting to flourish.
“The best thing about rowing at Damascus is that the kids really take pride in the colours they wear,” Nash said.
“I think the rowing program has really helped them appreciate the time you have being involved in school sport, because it doesn't come around again and it’s some of the best sporting days of your life.”
Indeed, Nash said he expects Damascus to take the next step in little more than a year or two.
“The short-term goal will be to field top to bottom, as in one to four, in the female open divisions,” Nash said.
“The boys we have to keep working on. We’ve only got three boys crews at the moment, but in a couple of years we’re hoping the current juniors and intermediates will fulfill that goal as well.”
Damascus’s division two crew, which consists of stroke Mollie Chew, captain of boats Georgia Edwards (three seat), Ashlee Smith (two seat), Lainee Howard (bow) and cox Georgia Skene, is the school’s headline act on boat race day.
All but two members of the crew (Howard and Skene) competed in the division two event at last year’s Head of the Lake.
Nash was careful to place big expectations on the group, but said they would bring their best effort in the race.
“We’ve fielded in division three in a couple of regattas and won those races, so we’re definitely above that, but division two is a jump up,” Nash said.
“They'll be competitive but they need to a bit more work on the water. Hopefully they can perform well on the day.”
Nash and the school’s rowing coaches have raised the bar at training this season, with two extra gym sessions added to the regime.
The club also held an intensive four-day camp in Ballarat earlier this year.
Nash revealed all crews participated in the camp and said he couldn’t fault their endeavour.
“Credit to them, they went though it with no complaints. They enjoyed it, they worked hard and I have no doubt it will help.”
Nash also said he expects strong support from both students and staff members on the day.
“There’s a lot of excitement around the school – everyone wants to get along.”
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