After a week of uncertainty with the poor air quality the sky cleared in time for the annual Rutherglen Regatta.
The two-day event has grown in popularity in recent years with clubs traveling to Lake Moodemere from across Victoria, however, this year entries were down 20 per cent.
The 800 m course challenged several boats tackling the tricky bend on the Saturday with many boats crossing lanes and a couple of rowers taking a swim halfway down the lake.
On Sunday. rowers had the dog leg figured out and competition was fast with Shepparton rowers excelling at sprinting the shorter 500 m course.
As the day progressed the smoke rolled back in forcing some athletes to scratch from their races as officials kept a close watch to protect the health and safety of everyone.
Shepparton Rowing Club had a lot of close finishes with many scullers narrowly missing out on finals.
Hamish Kerr and James Eldred were successful in the under-17 double scull taking home medals on both days.
It was Emily Waller’s first time on the lake. After recent years of cheering on her brother Nicholas from the bank, Waller decided to give the sport a try.
She had a cracker race Saturday morning coming second after her race had to be rerun with the other scullers crashing.
Waller was able to achieve the same result on day two before teaming up with Lydia Todd in the D-grade double scull where they won their heat and came second in the final.
Waller has impressed coach John Darbyshire with her enthusiasm and ability to grasp the techniques so quickly.
Todd looked strong in her single, qualifying two-boat lengths ahead in her heat.
The final was extremely fast, Todd was off to a great start and halfway down the course Corowa’s Julie Underwood applied the pressure and the two battled it out to the finish line with Todd crossing second, a boat length in front of third-placed Essendon.
Todd has been supporting Shepparton’s youngest crew member Emily Belcher, who displayed increasing improvement in the under-15 single rowing with more confidence, only just missing out on a place in the finals.
Jack Puise home for the summer challenged himself in the open scull and proved unbeatable in the C-grade pair with teammate Lachlan Kerr on day two.
Competition proved too tough for the crew in the C-grade men’s quad with work needing be done to lift the stroke rate before the State Championships in Ballarat in six weeks.