Rowing champions, from left, Edwina Kleidon, Ceinwen Fay and Kim Byrne at the Leichhardt Rowing Club.
Rowing champions, from left, Edwina Kleidon, Ceinwen Fay and Kim Byrne at the Leichhardt Rowing Club. Chris Ison

Masters women rule on the water

ROCKHAMPTON women's rowing eight are a bit of a mixed bunch when it comes to experience in their sport, but once in their boat they are an explosive unit.

While Ceinwen Fay has a rich history of rowing achievement, some of the eight are novices.

Fay admits she has hardly eased off since she wore the green and gold when representing Australia at international regattas.

Now she and fellow former international rower Kim Byrne are back on the water with a masters crew and they are proving to be more than a little competitive.

The crew competed recently at the Mackay Rowing Club and Premiership regatta.

It was the first time it had entered a regatta together.

The women not only entered a boat in the coxed eight but also nominated in quad, fours, double, and single events.

Results were spectacular, with the Rockhampton rowers recording six first places, a runner-up position and three third-place finishes. Pride of place was the comprehensive win in the eights.

“It's the first women's eight out of Rockhampton,” Fay said.

The majority of the crew are members of the Rockhampton Fitzroy Rowing Club, which was founded about four-and-a-half years ago, while two of the crew are registered with Rockhampton Grammarians.

Fay had continued her rowing in Brisbane but said too many good local rowers only continued in the sport until they were about 18 years of age.

Hence the formation of the Rockhampton Fitzroy Rowing Club, which opens its doors to the wider community.

Then 12 months ago the masters women's rowing club was formed so the rowers could train together and become competitive.

The group has 20 members.

At Mackay they proved they have achieved that first goal of being competitive.

Some of the members had competed before but hadn't rowed seriously since their university days, while others have taken up the sport only during the past 12 months.

The Rockhampton masters group contains women from the ages of 30-60.

In August the club purchased the eight boat and coach Rob Fay set to work getting the crew ready to perform.

Despite the floods that hit the Fitzroy River the crew worked hard to achieve their victory at Mackay.

So, what is next for this victorious group?

“We want to compete in the Head of the Yarra at the end of the year,” Fay said.

Held in November, the annual Head of the Yarra is an 8.6km race for eights and attracts about 200 crews competing in divisions including Olympic level, masters, novice and school-aged rowers.

Is the crew ready for this challenge?

“Well, we are looking for a regular coxwain,” Fay said.

 

The eight

Bow – Kate Wilson, 2 – Shelley Chisholm, 3 – Ruth Cunnold, 4 – Edwina Kleidon, 5 – Adrienne Wall, 6 – Angela Richardson, 7 – Ceinwen Fay, stroke – Kim Byrne, coxwain – Robyn Donovan, coach – Rob Fay.



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