Following a roller-coaster week leading up to the Ballarat Associated Schools' regatta, the day itself presented more twists and turns.
Ballarat Grammar caused a boil-over in the boys' main race, rowing through the heavily favoured St Patrick's College crew in the third 500 metres.
Despite St Pat's leading out of the blocks and through the first 1000 metres, Grammar was able to pinch the lead back and never relinquished it.
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Captain of Boats Will Ussher said it was a surreal win and one that won't be forgotten any time soon.
"Awesome, this is my last year of rowing, just to have a win in the firsts was unreal, remember it forever, it was great," he said.
First crew coach Paul Commons echoed his captain, saying Head of the Lake wins are never to be taken for granted.
"Pretty special to win those ones. It's all a new crew, we had a senior crew last year that was a bit experienced, but this year was pretty special, we had to come back into it," he said.
In the girls race, Ballarat Clarendon College continued their stellar season with another victory. Following their first loss of the season in their last regatta, the Clarendon girls didn't leave anything to chance, hitting the lead by the 250 metre mark and powering their way down the 2km course.
Captain of Boats Holli Williams said it was an amazing feeling to finally be able to compete for the title and to get the job done.
"We weren't ahead right at the start, but the time we got to 250m we were ahead and just managed to stay ahead," she said.
"It means everything, we've worked so hard for this day, nearly a year of training, to finally win is amazing."
Coach Nicki Plucinski praised her crew for working on their deficiencies and executing in the race.
"They've been winning all year, but they lost the last race we had against Grammar, but that gave us stuff to work on, and they've just rowed the perfect race I think," she said.
"We just did everything right, we tapered, we worked on anything that might have been a little bit off and they all banded together through the lockdown, they all did the right stuff, they didn't complain."
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