In and on top of the water proved to be happy hunting grounds for Grammarians in our Melbourne Girls Grammar’s Swimming and Rowing squads in Term 1.
The two marquee Term 1 sports kicked off the School’s year with history-making results at several major events.
Our rowing squad, comprising 141 students – 45 Juniors (Year 9), 51 Inters (Year 10) and 45 Seniors (Year 11/12), “had their most successful season date”, according to Head of Rowing Angus Seller.
The squad’s highlights for the season, which included 11 regattas, were a history-making Rowing Victoria Head of School Girls Regatta in March and a highly successful National Championships in April.
At HOSG, 22 of our 24 crews reached A finals in their divisions, winning 19 medals – five Gold, nine Silver and five Bronze.
Three weeks later, at the Australian Rowing Championships at Lake Nagambie, all 24 of our rowers who competed returned with a medal.
The Merton (First VIII) won silver in the Schoolgirl Eight A Final, narrowly missing gold for the second regatta in a row. Sophia Wilson coxed a composite crew in the Under 17 Women’s Coxed Quadruple Scull, securing a gold medal. The Grant (10A) won gold in their sprint race and finished fourth in the A Final of the Coxed Quadruple Scull. The Eaton (Second VIII) won silver in their sprint race and finished second in the D Final of the Schoolgirl’s Coxed Eight.
The top term continued with senior rowers Sophia Wilson (cox), Hannah Glover (stroke) and Angus (coach) gaining selection in the successful Rowing Victoria Pathway 8 crew that won their underage race at a regatta in Canberra recently.
Angus said the rowing squad’s successful season came despite disruptions such as a delayed start and online training via zoom due to lockdowns, positive COVID cases on training camp, and multiple crew changes because of isolations.
“We talk about making good people first, good rowers second, and this year exemplified both,” he said.
“The character of our students after all the challenges is the thing that impressed my staff and I the most, and the fact we did so well on the water is a great bonus.”
Angus said the “incredible results” reinforce how important the program’s commitments to learning and executing the basics are. He said our 9A crew were a great example of this.
“All season they rowed at a lower rate than other crews, such as their first race of the season when they didn’t even row with all four girls, as they worked on being as efficient as possible with their stroke,” he said.
“Over time, they gained a really sound understanding of how to move the boat effectively. Come HOSG, when the crew added in a higher rate (more strokes each minute), they were very clearly the most efficient crew in their division.
“It’s a massive credit to our rowers and coaches that they have the confidence in sticking to learning the basics, often losing races early in the season by big margins, knowing that come HOSG they will be in the most competitive position possible.
“These results are reflective of a program that has all its stakeholders understanding their roles and how important each and every part is to the overall program.”
Our Girls Sport Victoria Swimming Squad, which comprised more than 60 students, was the biggest in years and showed its incredible depth with a successful season.
At the Division One carnival at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in March, the squad came away with a fourth-place overall finish, our equal-best performance in history. Our Junior and Intermediates teams placed fifth and our Seniors third at the meet.
Following the carnival, 26 students – thirteen individual swimmers and 12 relays – competed at the GSV finals, where 13 medals — two gold, six silver and four bronze — were won and multiple school records broken.
Head of Swimming Brad Harris, who is in his second year of leading the program, said the squad took a major step up and recorded its best results in 20 years.
He said improved squad depth, working on self-belief, being an active member of the program, and building culture were crucial for the successful season in the pool.
“At Melbourne Girls Grammar, we really pride ourselves on being a team, and that’s where we get our best results from,” he said.
“It’s not the individuals that do an amazing job for us; it’s the fact that we’ve got some of the greatest depth in any school in Melbourne.”
“Not only do our individual swimmers do an amazing job for our School; the student participation in our relays teams really demonstrates our School’s potential and positive reputation.
“We are trying to inspire individuals to step up and become part of the team, and I felt like this year, watching the results in the way the squad stepped up at competitions, they really did that.
“We want to keep looking at opportunities to grow and shine every year.”
Brad said a change to the training schedule also helped the squad yield great results last term.
He commended Sport Captain Ruby Jones and Vice Captain Aria Lehman on their leadership and for bringing the team together with unifying chants at various meets.
Melbourne Girls Grammar’s Swimming and Rowing programs now look ahead to their next challenges after a successful term 1.
Our rowers now turn their attention towards the international stage and the time-honoured Henley Royal Regatta, which will be raced at Henley-on-Thames in the United Kingdom from 28 June to 3 July.
The Merton, our First VIII crew, has been granted automatic qualification into the main draw of the second edition of the Prince Philip Challenge for Junior Women’s Eight. It’s the first time a crew will represent the School at the 182-year-old event.
The Merton Army is always there to enthusiastically support our MGGS Rowing team. You can show your support for this exciting adventure by donating here.
Our Swimming club is looking at opportunities to grow its Learn to Swim program and secure the continued success of its and the School’s squads.
The action in the water also doesn’t stop for our talented swimmers, with a training camp to Echuca and the Victorian short and long course championships on the horizon.
GSV swimming returns in Term 1 in 2022, while our rowing program will start again in Term 4.