CURRENTLY Rockhampton grows its Olympians from the sports of hockey and cycling but in years to come it could be our rowers who prove to be the pride of the nation.
With the Central Queensland Schools Regatta taking place on the Fitzroy River this weekend it is timely that three former Rockhampton Grammar School rowers from previous regattas have made a step forward at a higher level.
Sasha Belonogoff and Ben Morley
Having recorded outstanding results at the national regatta in March, the two Rockhampton rowers, Sasha Belonogoff and Ben Morley, were invited to the under-23 Australian trials for the World Rowing Championships.
Both were selected for the quad and have been doing the majority of their training in Sydney and the AIS in Canberra with other crew members Ryan Edward and Jay Ditmarsh for the past three months.
They will be racing at the Henley Royal Regatta in London during the last week of June as a part of their build-up for the world championships, then heading to Lithuania for one week of training before the under-23 world championships at the same venue.
A rower who has already raced at Henley is Samantha Blanchard, who is doing her rowing in England at present.
Blanchard is enjoying her "gap year" and is based in East Anglia, where she is a member of the Norwich Rowing Club.
Recently Blanchard finished third at the British National Schools Regatta and then at Henley Women's Regatta was a winner for her club in the women's junior double sculls.
Her coach when she was racing at Rockhampton, Alan Bromiley, said Blanchard was doing exceptionally well and could still achieve a lot more, because she was only 18 years old.
At Henley Blanchard teamed with Mollie Appleton and the pair was hardly tested on their way to a notable victory.
At Norwich Blanchard is coached by world renowned Nigel Kippin but once the rower resumes her studies at University Queensland later this year Bromiley hopes to offer assistance in her development.
The former Rockhampton Grammar School rowing coach returns to Rockhampton this weekend but this year he will be in charge of the Coomera Anglican College rowing team.
The two-day regatta has attracted about 340 competitors from 20 schools, with racing starting early on Saturday and Sunday.
Rockhampton will be represented by Rockhampton Grammar, Rockhampton Girls Grammar, The Cathedral College, Emmaus College and North Rockhampton High School.