Two Ballarat women have lived a sporting dream by taking gold at the World Rowing Championships.
Katrina Werry and Lucy Stephan were part of the women’s fours crew that claimed victory at the regatta in Sarasota, Florida.
Werry is a former Ballarat Clarendon College student, while Stephan is a graduate of Ballarat Grammar.
Both girls won the Head of the Lake during their time at school in Ballarat.
They partnered with Molly Goodman and Sarah Hawe to win the final, which continued an unbeaten run for the crew this season.
Australia finished clear of runners-up Poland and bronze medallists Russia.
Werry, who is the youngest member of the crew, said the Aussies simply remained focused on their race alone and not on what was going on around them.
“It was such an amazing race. We stuck to our roles and just stayed internal to the boat. We weren’t panicked at all,” Werry said.
“We knew we had to do what we do best and while our legs were tired, we knew we had enough. We trusted the training, and everything we have done in the last six months, to come through for each other and we did just that.”
Stephan said the victory was a great base for Australia’s women sweep rowers to grow on.
“It’s pretty amazing. I’m still in shock. I knew we could do it, but it really is an amazing feeling,” Stephan said.
“It’s now up to us to keep building on the base we’ve created. This win has provided a great opportunity for women’s sweep moving forward and it’s really exciting.”
The win was also an exciting one for those still at the schools attended by Werry and Stephan.
Ballarat Clarendon College rowing director Ross Henderson said Werry always worked hard.
“She was never the most gifted athlete, but she just had this desire to achieve her dream which she has,” Henderson said.
Ballarat Grammar head of rowing Sam Pullin said the school was proud of Stephan’s determination, commitment and world championships success.
“Lucy learnt to row at Ballarat Grammar and developed her passion and dedication to the sport here,” Pullin said.
“The success of both Lucy and Katrina says great things about Ballarat rowing and how much we can achieve when we aim high and work hard.”
Australia finished the titles with three gold, two silver and one bronze medal to be third on the overall table.
Italy finished at the top with nine medals (three gold), while New Zealand was second with seven (three gold).