Last Saturday our Rowing community celebrated the most wonderful achievement as St Hilda’s won the Head of the River competition. To be awarded this prestigious prize is recognition of the incredible achievements of our girls, their coaches, the Rowing Support Group and all the families of our girls.
The 2017 Head of the River Regatta was an exciting day with many achievements and a fantastic level of support from the friends and families of the girls. While we know physical activity of any kind is good for our bodies and our minds, rowing has the capacity to teach us even more than we imagine. Apart from the physical skills of precision, focus and strength, rowing also builds commitment, teamwork and strength of character. Perhaps these qualities have their genesis in the very early morning training, the need to rely on every member of your team or the effort and balance that each stroke demands. These are the qualities which we saw in abundance at the Regatta.
There were some great performances on the day including:
The highlight of the day was the courageous win of our 1st VIII girls: Sophie Rice, Eve Prosser, Kate Gilmore, Alexandra Finlay, Hope Nixon, Charlee Mitchell, Jess Scott, Leukie Smith and Zara Campbell. It was an exciting race and our girls rowed with courage and strength for a convincing win. In doing this they broke all former records for a BSRA Regatta.
I was very honoured to have had the opportunity to see these girls in training and to spend a little time with their very talented coaches Stuart Paton and Sean Carolan. I saw firsthand the focus and commitment of the girls and the trust that they had developed in their coaches. There is something quite beautiful about rowing, where the girls need to keep their eyes in alignment with their team whilst also concentrating on their own technique. Stuart explained to me that to be very successful the girls need to be completely relaxed whilst at the same time giving their physical best.
Our day concluded with a very special Ammonite Dinner celebrating the conclusion of the season and the incredible achievement of our girls. With over three hundred in attendance it was a fitting way to honour the work of so many people. My thanks go to our Head of Sport Jillian Moore, Rowing Coach Adam Harrison, St Hilda’s Rowing Coaches, Simon Gray President of the RSG, Jason Hughes Vice President RSG, the RSG committee, Phil Jarratt, Simone Crowther, Shelby Stewart and the many supportive parents and friends. This victory is a recognition of many years of dedication and generosity from all involved in the sport. I congratulate them all.
I think rowing is a useful analogy for learning. This year we have been thinking and talking about rigour in learning, and rowing certainly requires significant rigour. The success of our girls in rowing has shown that dedication to training, willingness to listen to instruction, commitment to a team and a calm approach when under pressure are the hallmarks of great achievement. I hope that this wonderful success will inspire not only our future rowers but also all our girls in their learning endeavors.
See our 1st VIII in action:
Dr Julie Wilson Reynolds