Yarrawonga Rowing Club made an impression down in Melbourne, competing in two regattas over the weekend.
Saturday was the Footscray City annual regatta on the Maribyrnong River.
The first was an under 15s female single scull which had Lucy Mansfield competing for the first time.
In the heat, Lucy drew a couple of country girls from Corowa and Bairnsdale.
The morning’s weather was not favourable with a slight northerly making holding a line at the start very challenging.
In lane three, Lucy had a great start and pounced out of the blocks and 20 strokes in, had a good half a length lead.
This race was over 800 meters and was an uncharted distance for this first time competitor.
The breeze was still causing mischief for all three competitors, all of them having to check their course every couple of strokes.
However, the wind and the distance only made Lucy more determined and as she crossed the finish, the official margin was three and a half lengths. Not bad for a girl of 12 and who was more worried about falling in than actually finishing first.
After a quick congratulations at the team area overlooking the finish, it was back in the boat, this time with her aunty as they competed in the “C” class double sculls.
Not as much success here with the a very strong crew from Essendon leading from start to finish over the Yarrawonga crew who were very competitive for a scratch crew and managed to stay within reach for most for the race.
Next it was the mixed double sculls with Yarrawonga entering brother and sister combination Patrick and Emily Mansfield for this event.
Emily has been working at Apollo Bay for the last five years so training together only happens at family events in Yarrawonga and regattas like these.
They have paired up well in the past and looked good to progress this weekend.
It was however a poor start that let them down in this event and although these two managed to get a few meters back at the end, managed to go down to the local Footscray City crew.
To finish off the morning session was Lucy’s under 15 female single scull final.
Going in she was very confident.
On either side of her lane 2 position were the black top with red sash’s of Essendon Rowing Club.
These girls were of top age and were in good form going into the event.
They all started stroke for stroke for the first 300 meters with only half a meter between all three crews.
As they passed the half way point the signs of rowing two races before this one was showing, and although the heart was there, the strength in the arms and legs wasn’t.
Both Essendon girls gradually pulled away and went on for a one, two win with Lucy a gallant third.
After exiting the staging and stowing her boat, Lucy was all talk about how she could improve and vowed to go two better next time.
After a short lunch break it was time for the bigger boats.
Yarrawonga had only entered one event here and it was the mixed quad sculls.
They comprised of Emily, Patrick and Mary Mansfield with Wahgunyah rower, Phil Culhane making up the crew of four.
Lucy was now in the coxswains seat for this one making three generations in the boat for the YRC.
This heat started with a bang.
Yarrawonga jumped from the start and were looking the goods all the way.
The crew settled early and were on their way to an easy win when tragedy struck.
A mechanical issue made Phil’s seat come loose and had to stop rowing less than 100 meters from the finish.
The crew was devastated.
The day finished with a win and some improvement.
Sunday, March 24 ‘Head of the Maribyrnong, Essendon”.
A new day and a year older. Overnight Lucy Mansfield had her 13th birthday and was determined to make up from the day before.
The days races were a quick sprint of 350 meters. So, starts and direction are crucial.
In the heat of the U15s female single scull, Yarrawonga RC were up against the winner of the final yesterday in this event.
The day was starting well with the sun out and no wind.
Last to go off in the heats it was all in Lucy’s hands.
The starter let them go evenly but Lucy found herself missed the start badly and after five stokes was well behind.
Being a short race, this margin decreased but not by enough with Essendon crossing the line ahead and dashing the hopes of Yarrawonga making another final in this event.
The day didn’t seem to go Yarrawonga’s way in any of the other events either.
The female double scull missed out coming in second.
The mixed quad went close to securing a spot in the final but managed to fall just short at the finish.
The mixed double impressed and won their event comfortably but were no match in the final for the younger and more experienced crew from Essendon.
Finally, Patrick saddled up in the Masters single scull but was completely outclassed by a Hamilton sculler in the first and final event.
Although Yarrawonga didn’t come away with any medal, they were happy with their performances having not competed much during the year.
The weekend proved to be very entertaining and everyone had a great time catching up with fellow rowers.
Not disheartened, all said they would be back next year, hopefully with some new crew members to bolster the ranks and go a few steps better and being back some medals.
If you wish to see some more photos of the weekend, head to the Yarrawonga Rowing Club Facebook page.
If you are interested in becoming a member or just having a go at an Olympic sport call Patrick on 0427 632 322.
See you on the water.