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Grammar poised to strike

BOYS FIRSTS: Ballarat Grammar boys open division one crew members Tom McMullin (bow), Luke Wright (two seat), Clare Stewart (cox), Harrison Doust (three seat) and Ben Trotter (stroke).BALLARAT Grammar is quietly going about its business in the lead-up this year’s Head of the Lake regatta.
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As the reigning boys open division one champion, expectations could have been sky-high for Friday’s event.

However, with Grammar’s boys scarsely appearing at regattas throughout the summer – and only one member returning from last year’s winning crew – it’s hard to pinpoint just where they fit in this time around.

Grammar rowing coordinator Sam Pullin told The Courier he was confident the group would perform well on the day, despite their somewhat interrupted preperation.

“We missed a couple of regattas through other commitments, but we’re pretty confident that we’ll go well,” Pullin said.

“Ideally we would have liked to have raced more. I feel the crew is going well without having those races, but it’s always nice to hit out against your competition as much as possible.

“I’m not overly worried about it. They’ll definitely be competitive.”

Year 12 student Ben Trotter (stroke) is the solitary rower from last year’s victorious Grammar crew. The rest – Harrison Doust (three seat), Luke Wright (two seat), Tom McMullin (bow) and cox Clare Stewart – are new faces, though Stewart coxed the girls firsts the last two seasons.

GIRLS FIRSTS: Ballarat Grammar girls open division one crew members Tash Whitehead (bow), Aislinn A’Speculo (three seat), Conor Delahunty (stroke), Amy Rix (two seat) and Millie Nye (cox). Pictures: Kate Healy

Pullin said his team would need to lift for the occasion against strong competition, particularly Ballarat Clarendon College and St Patrick’s College.

“It’s a tight field, so it’ll come down to who can punch harder on the day,” Pullin said.

“Clearly College and St Pat’s have shown that it’s a bit of a battle between them at the moment. With us and (Ballarat) High School missing a few events, it’s hard to place us in there, but looking at speeds and times and watching all the boats train I think we’re thereabouts.”

Though there may be some question marks surrounding the boys, the school’s girls firsts crew has staked a genuine claim for this year’s title.

Consisting of returning members Conor Delahunty (stroke) and Amy Rix (two seat), as well as newcomers Aislinn A’Speculo (three seat), Tash Whiteside (bow) and cox Millie Nye, the crew has performed remarkably well in this season’s regattas.

Pullin said there was much to like about the group.

“They’ve been holding good margins and we’ve been having some good battles with College throughout the season,” Pullin said.

“We haven’t seen a lot of Loreto (College), so they’re still a bit of a mystery, and we’ve had some interesting races with High School too, so again I think it’s going to be a genuinely close race.

“College have held this race pretty tightly for the last two to three years and this is the first time we’ve been quite confident that we have a crew to match them or beat them.”

Pullin also said that overall he was optimistic about the two big races on Friday.

“This is definitely one of the fitter groups we’ve prepared,” he said.

“It comes down to their belief in their ability. The coaches have given them all the tools and skills to put a good result in on the day. It just comes down to them trusting and believing in the stuff they’ve been taught.”

CREW PROFILESGIRLS FIRSTSCONOR DELAHUNTY

YEAR 12

Age: 17

Seat: Stroke

History: Delahunty is the girls captain of boats and was a member of last year’s open division one crew.

AISLINN A’SPECULO

YEAR 11

Age: 16

Seat: Three

History: A’Speculo has made the jump from last year’s open division one crew to the girls firsts this season.

AMY RIX

YEAR 12

Age: 18

Seat: Two

History: The experienced Rix is back for her second year in the girls open division one crew.

TASH WHITESIDE

YEAR 11

Age: 16

Seat: Bow

History: After previously rowing in the year nine and 10 division one crews, Whiteside has progressed to the girls firsts.

MILLIE NYE

YEAR 11

Age: 16

Seat: Cox

History: This is Nye’s first season in an open division one crew, after coxing the boys seconds last year.

BOYSFIRSTSBEN TROTTER

YEAR 12

Age: 18

Seat: Stroke

History: Trotter is the only returning member of last year’s victorious open division one crew.

HARRISON DOUST

YEAR 12

Age: 17

Seat: Three

History: Now in his fourth year in the program, Doust has made a sizeable leap from last season’s boys thirds.

LUKE WRIGHT

YEAR 12

Age: 17

Seat: Two

History: Wright has progressed to the boys firsts after rowing in the open division three crew last year.

TOM MCMULLIN

YEAR 12

Age: 18

Seat: Bow

History: McMullin has been promoted to the boys firsts, having rowed in the seconds throughout the 2014-2015 season.

CLARE STEWART

YEAR 12

Age: 18

Seat: Cox

History: Stewart has moved over to the boys firsts after coxing the girls open division crew the last two years.

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