Pumped to be back

The students who will compete at the Head of the River this weekend, back, Bundaberg North State High School's Piper Rochford, Richard Wake, Kaitlyn Rochford, Jayne Wake and Sarah Wake with, front, Shalom College's Emily Evans, St Luke's Anglican School's Asia Heaps and Sienna Clark. Picture: SHANE JONES

By Shane Jones

The wait has been worth it for Bundaberg’s best rowers.

The chance to be the best school and win the Head of the River is back again.

Bucca will be full of buzz as the best students from Shalom College, St Luke’s Anglican School, Bundaberg State High School, Gin Gin State High School and Bundaberg North State School compete in the yearly event.

The schools competed two weeks ago in the first regatta of the season in the lead-up to the Head of the River at Bucca.

And for some it was their first time competing.

“We haven’t had any real regattas for 18 months, the weekend before last was the first one,” Bundaberg Rowing president Chris Ellem said.

“It was great to have Year 7s and Year 8s on the water for the first time and get them competing.”

The weekend of racing will see school students compete as individuals or in teams in a range of events during the weekend to be the best among the schools.

The Head of the River is then held on Sunday, which is a mixed quad race held over 1000m.

The best rowers from each school will compete in that race to try to bring the title to them.

St Luke’s is on a seven-year winning streak, aiming for eight this year, with Shalom College winning the previous 20 before that.

But you can’t write of the other schools, which could all win on the day.

“The stronger crews will come from Shalom or St Luke’s,” Ellem said.

“Bundy North have got six rowers overall and the same with Gin Gin.

“It’s going to be a little difficult for them but at least they are in there and having a go.”

Ellem said the regatta was the first of a busy program for the students.

The students will compete in this event before competing at home in the Central Queensland Regatta next month at Bucca.

It will then be off to the South Queensland titles in July before potentially competing at the state titles in September.

“I think there has been a lot of senior rowers that have been keen to get back on water, which is good,” Ellem said.

“It’s going to be a full agenda for the rest of the year.”

The five Bundaberg schools would have been joined by Maryborough State High School in the regatta but the Fraser Coast school was a late withdrawal.

This weekend in show weekend in Maryborough, which prevented them from coming.

But the future is bright for the school and their entry into the competition.

“We’ll have to have a look at that next year to make sure it isn’t on during the show weekend,” Ellem said.

“They had 43 rowers here at our first regatta, which was fantastic for Maryborough.

“They are really keen, really strong, so it is good to see them coming forward.”

The racing starts tomorrow with the Head of the River to be held around 2.30pm on Sunday afternoon.

Turn to page 59 to read what the students competing have to say.