Our talented rowers celebrated a second-straight record-breaking Head of Schoolgirls Regatta last weekend.
At the 38th edition of the largest all-girl regatta in the southern hemisphere, 20 of our 22 crews qualified for A finals on the Sunday of the three-day event.
Our crews secured 18 medals from those finals, including 10 gold and eight silver. Our gold medal haul was a new school record and the highest ever for the regatta. Our final tally and silver medals tally was also the most of any school at the regatta. These results were a testament to their commitment and hard work over the past eight months of training.
In 2022, 22 of our crews reached A finals in their divisions, which was the best result in the School’s history of rowing; in those finals, we won 19, including five gold, nine silver and five bronze.
Our Third and Fourth VIII crews, the Ziemer, and our Coxed Four, led the way for the Senior squad, winning gold in their A finals.
The Merton, our First VIII crew, completed a hat-trick of runners-up finishes after placing second to Loreto this season and St Catherine’s in the previous two, in 2022 and 2021. The Fifth VIII, the Heard, finished second to the Fourth VIII in their A final, completing a 1-2 finish in division 4. The Second VII, the Eaton, was fourth in their A final.
Our Inters Squads was our most successful squad, with five gold medals secured by our Year 10 rowers. The 10As (Grant), 10Bs (Hooper), 10Ds (Rothe), 10Fs (Faulks) and 10Gs (Appleton) were all victorious on the Barwon. Our 10Cs (Howe) and 10Es (Wharton) secured silver, while our 10Hs (Craig) finished fourth.
The Grant (9As) and Wharton (9Es) collected golds for our Junior squad, while Hooper (9Bs), Howe (9Cs), Rothe (9Ds) and Appleton (9Gs) crews all secured silver for the School’s medal haul. Our Faulks (9F) and Craig (9Hs) crews gave everything to secure first and third place in their B finals.
“In 2023, we had the largest cohort of rowers in our history, and over the weekend, we witnessed the full strength and energy of Melbourne Girls Grammar’s culture as our community gathered on the banks of the Barwon River to cheer on our Grammarians,” Principal Toni Meath said.
“The Head of Schoolgirls Regatta weekend represents the culmination of months and months of hard work and dedication.
“We are incredibly proud of all our crews on a very successful regatta. This year’s results reflect the time and energy every member of our rowing program – rowers, coaches and support networks – have put into this season.
“The School congratulates our talented rowers on their fantastic performances.”
Head of Rowing Angus Seller reflected on the evolution of the School’s rowing program in his eight years working here.
“In my first season, we had 99 rowers and only two senior eights. At HOSG, we made 11 A finals with three gold, three silver, and one bronze,” he said. “The Merton won the C final, and the MGGS community was almost estranged from the program.
“Fast forward to 2023, and we are a program of 130 students in the School’s 130th year, and for the first time in the (Merton Hall Rowing) Club’s 35 years, it was sitting on top of the medal table with an astonishing 10 gold, eight silver from 22 crews and 20 A finals, celebrated by an extremely strong support program from parents, MHRC and the School.”
While Angus said it was satisfying sitting on top of the medal tally, the program has never been about external validation.
“The real mark of a successful weekend was the smiles in the parent’s tent, horse voices screaming over the raised stage in support of any crew in navy,” he said.
“The calmness and controlled excitement in the hub as crews awaited their racing and focused on what they could control, crews that came back to the applause of everyone in the hub, and finally the exhausted/proud/smiling faces out of rowers crossing the line having given everything they could for one another.”
The Merton Crew, along with the Eaton (Second VIII), Grant (10A) and Hooper (10B), will head to Western Australia for the National Championships, to be held at Champion Lakes in Western Australia on 27 March to 2 April. We wish those crews competing in the Nationals the very best of luck.
Over the weekend, 130 MGGS rowers proudly represented our School amongst over 2,200 other competitors and more than 2,000 spectators. As always, the ‘Merton Army’ turned out in full force to loudly cheer our rowers on from the banks of the Barwon River.
Melbourne Girls Grammar was a founding member of the HOSG 38 years ago; today, it is the largest all-girl regatta in the southern hemisphere. Our long-standing culture of friendly but fierce competition was once again echoed over the weekend by our rowers. We thank them for their efforts, courage, determination and great displays of sportswomanship.
We especially want to acknowledge our Year 12 Grammarians who rowed their last HOSG Regatta. Their ability to balance their studies and sporting passion is a credit to them all and makes them excellent role models for the squad and School.