Magnificent medal haul at Ballarat

March 08, 2018

Shepparton Rowing Club's men’s D-grade quad of Tom Schier, Toby Crichton, Tom Dooley-Heath, James Worsfold and James Eldred (cox) celebrate their new title of state champions.

Sophie Reinehr (left), Lydia Todd, Maoinin Dooley-Heath, Isabella Bennett and Maya Dooley-Heath (cox) secured a bronze medal in the women's C-grade coxed four event.

Jack Puise again impressed in the under-15 category at the weekend, winning a gold and silver medal.

Shepparton Rowing Club claimed a record medal-haul — as well as the title of highest-performing country club — after an outstanding showing at the Rowing Victoria State Championship Regatta.

Battling record entries on Ballarat’s Lake Wendouree, Shepparton’s rowers reached six finals and secured six medals (two each of gold, silver and bronze) in the club’s best result at the event.

Club president and head coach David Schier was full of praise for his charges after the magnificent weekend on the water — where last year’s tally of three medals was doubled.

‘‘We reached six finals, four of which required intense heat racing, to win six medals,’’ he said.

‘‘All hard working volunteer coaches in any sport will take that conversion rate.’’

Shepparton finished 17th (out of 72 clubs) on the back of gold medal performances from two of its crews.

The men’s D-grade quad of James Worsfold, Tom Dooley-Heath, Toby Crichton, Tom Schier and James Eldred (cox) came out on top against 15 other crews, dominating the final of the event.

‘‘Our rhythm at 35 strokes per minute was excellent and this allowed us to power away in the closing stages to win by over two lengths,’’ stroke Tom Schier said.

‘‘Our extensive starting practice on Victoria Park Lake in recent weeks gave the crew confidence to produce our best row in the final when it counted.’’

Men’s under-15 double scullers James Darbyshire and Jack Puise held their nerve in a thrilling finish to their final, taking a narrow victory after leading by as much as two lengths with 250m to go in the 1000m race.

Puise also left Ballarat with a silver medal for his efforts in the under-15 single sculls, crossing the line eight seconds behind close rival — and now back-to-back state champion in the event — Lindsay Hamilton (Bairnsdale).

Sophie Reinehr also claimed multiple medals at the championships, prompting her coach to again speculate on her future potential.

‘‘It would not surprise me at all to see her in the green and gold in the future,’’ Schier said.

Reinehr was pipped at the post in the C-grade single sculls after earlier spearheading the women’s C-grade coxed four outfit — which included Isabella Bennett, Maoinin Dooley-Heath, Lydia Todd and Maya Dooley-Heath (cox) — in their bronze medal-winning efforts.

Worsfold and Crichton added to their personal hauls with a bronze medal in the men’s D-grade double scull after only entering the event at late notice.

Other rowers with Shepparton connections also had a great weekend.

Former club member Anna Chalkley won three gold medals, while Shepparton resident Nathan Leckie claimed two of his own.

Both exports competed under the Banks banner.

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