Feeling positive, testing negative….Richmond goes to Masters Nationals By Geraldine Goss

Good grief! As if 2020 was not crazy enough…it was at least simple in comparison everything was cancelled! But in 2021 the shadow of Covid lingers and it certainly impacted
the Victorian masters rowing community once again…

Preparing for the nationals masters championships…firstly, we all know how well prepared
Kate and Michelle were, having rowed a magnificent race in Tassie to achieve fourth place in the National Championship Club 2x. Together with Zoe, Karen and myself this small
contingent from Dario’s squad had been training hard with eyes on the 1x, 2x, B and C 4x
and 4+ national masters titles (It’s all about thinking big!). From Stu’s squad Sarah and
Christine planned to race in their successful C2x as well as the LW1x and various colourful
composite crews, and Phil and Leigh were set to join the fun for weekend events. But
another crazy masters season saw regattas cancelled (Ballarat), moved (Carrum, due to blue green algae), cancelled Albert Park, (due to sewage leak)… leaving the Vics somewhat
underdone in terms of race preparation…in addition, the nationals regatta itself was
relocated to Adelaide after flooding left the Penrith course unsafe. Maybe this sounds like a
minor thing but those of us who competed at nationals in Adelaide in 2014 still bear the
scars…the memories…wind, hail, freezing cold days, huge waves…just the mention of
Westlakes sent the heart racing and the muscles shivering.

Despite this our hopes were high. Training in different boats meant 6-7 on water sessions
per week, with ergs, weight and yoga thrown in. Covid remained quiet- until Tuesday May
25…that evening masks became compulsory and the Covid lockdown threat loomed
large…together with the tendency of the SA premier to rapidly shut the border to its hapless neighbour… Wednesday was an incredibly stressful day as messages flew around (are you on a plane? Has the trailer crossed the border? Will we make it? Did you escape in time??). In addition to our RRC crews, Michelle and I were representing Victoria in the interstate eight and anxiously we watched as one by one crew members brought flights forward, the boat trailer crossed the SA border and rowers presented for Covid tests. By this time Covid testing on arrival (and on d5) and isolation until test results were available was mandatory rowers were not allowed on to the course until a negative Covid test was confirmed. The rules were at times unclear, and some clubs cancelled flights altogether, thinking that they would have to isolate for 5 days. For Richmond it was true sporting tragedy when Kate and Zoe were unable to cross the border before it closed…Michelle brought her flight forward and was one of the last to escape (!). Karen and I arrived earlier Wednesday, and Ainsley crossed the border by car. Sarah and Christine arrived Wednesday evening, before the border closed but not in time to return a negative Covid rest in order to make it to their C2x heat early on Thursday morning. Leigh and Phil remained trapped in Victoria. And so Victorian clubs became a kind of squad, with subs here and there, but with many rowers missing events on day 1. But we stayed positive, while happily testing negative.

Fortunately, the Banks gentlemen received test results at lunchtime and were able to
compete in the mixed quad with Ainsley and myself, bringing home a gold medal! On Day 2
the C4+ – missing Kate but with our good friend Linda Skidmore as a sub – still had a fabulous race where the first three boats finished within a second. Sarah switched with Christine to cox this race and we finished in bronze medal place. In the afternoon, Sarah and Christine achieved a handy fourth final place in their composite A4x crew. Meanwhile Michelle and I brought home a championship gold medal in the E4x and I teamed up with my old friends from ERC in a mixed 4x where we came second to a crew containing two Olympians. Here is the joy of masters racing: a chance to race against (and sometimes with!) Olympians (noteone who has been to the Olympics is forever an Olympian- never an ex). What fun!

Competition was ferocious. On day 3 Christine and Sarah were able to sub in for Kate and
Michelle in the B2x, which made up a little for them missing their favoured C2x. Meanwhile,
my long time 2x partner Jen and I had one of our best ever rows to win the F2x. Later that
morning Michelle stroked a C-age 8 which comprised most of the Vic crew, with Karen in a
rival composite boat. Our bronze medal behind two Queensland crews illustrated the Qld
dominance in women’s eights- ultimately almost all age female eights were won by
Queensland crews. And so, later that day the Vic eight rowed in the interstate race, stroked
by Michelle and, even with a 9- second PB were outclassed by Queensland. What a great
race it was, and in perfect weather conditions. That afternoon also saw Sarah row in the
LWA1x: lightweight 1x is a new event at Nationals and Sarah held off the Mosman sculler to
lead all the way and take out the championship gold medal. A great day!

Day 4 saw our blue-ribbon events: in the morning the B4x went ahead with Jess from the
(also depleted) Carrum squad subbing, together with our good friend Alex Whelan, the one
and only female rower from WA in Adelaide, who was luckily available for both B and C
quads. With Sarah in a rival composite B quad RRC were out in force. After a dominant
display at states the original RRC crew was certainly the favourite, and to their credit
Michelle and Karen overcame the disappointment at missing Kate and Zoe and gave a
winning performance in very windy conditions to take the championship gold medal. The
final afternoon saw Sarah and Christine achieve a great performance in a composite D eight, while in another cracker final, the RRC/ANA C4x crew took the bronze medal.

Our thanks to Dario and Will for the wonderful coaching and encouragement. Well done to
Stu whose squad was represented well. And it was wonderful to hear good wishes from club members, so thanks to those who took an interest! It’s truly great be out competing again and we were blessed with excellent conditions- a fortunate comparison to 2014. But the best events are those you have trained for together and pursued a goal. To be so well
prepared and not get the chance to race is really gut wrenching. So- stay positive. Test
negative. Get vaccinated. Masters National Championship regatta Perth 2022. Be there.

2021 RRC AGM – Saturday 31st July

Richmond Rowing Club’s Annual General Meeting will be held on the morning of Saturday 31st July. The meeting is currently planned to start at 10am.
At the AGM all Committee members stand down and positions are available for club members to stand for election to the RRC Committee for the coming year. Generally the incoming Committee is a blend of new and experienced members. To present yourself for election, you are required to have been a member of the club for more than 2 years and be willing to help out with the club’s organisation. If you are interested, feel free to chat to any of the current Committee members to get some more background information. The Committee positions are:

Head of Rowing
Captain of Boats
Fundraising Coordinator
Facilities Coordinator
Ordinary Member (two ordinary member positions are available which assist with a number of areas)

During the AGM, outgoing Committee members will briefly go through some of the highlights of the year, as well as a summary of the club’s financial situation and the main achievements compared to the goals we set out last year. This usually takes less than an hour and we warmly invite all members of the club to attend.
If you wish to present yourself for election, please complete a nomination form below and submit it to the secretary at least 14 days prior to the meeting (BEFORE 16th July).

Victorian State Masters Championships, 8 – 9 May 2021

For most Richmond rowers the Victorian State Masters Championships for 2021 marks the end of a strange season with memories of lockdowns, zoom training sessions, regattas without spectators and cancellations for many reasons. But the State Masters Championship was a chance to put that behind us and focus on the opportunity to end the season on a high.

We were blessed with great conditions at Nagambie for the weekend with plenty of Richmond members competing from our full trailer. With plenty of on water action Richmond was well represented with strong performances throughout. Well done to everyone who competed, we had great success on the day including:


Female AB Single – Kate Dyball

Female AB Double – Michelle Joy and Kate Dyball

Female Club Coxless Quad – Karen Doggett, Zoe Maxwell, Michelle Joy and Kate Dyball

Female AB Coxless Quad – Karen Doggett, Zoe Maxwell, Michelle Joy and Kate Dyball

Male AB Coxed Four – Jon Roberts, Allan Randall, John Carey, Dennis Beck, Cox: Stefanie Dudczig

Male AB Pair – Jon Roberts and Allan Randall

Female C Coxless Quad – Karen Doggett, Geraldine Goss, Michelle Joy, Kate Dyball

Female F Double – Geraldine Goss and Jennifer Bingham (MUBC)


Male AB Coxed Four –Philip Munson, Tim Evans, George Frederiksen, Leigh Sullivan, Cox: Christine Sullivan

Female Club Coxed Four – Karen Doggett, Geraldine Goss, Michelle Joy, Kate Dyball, Cox: Teesaan Koo,

Female E Double – Geraldine Goss and Bea Klein-van Mullekom (Melbourne)

Female AB Coxless Quad – Jennifer Bingham (MUBC), Zoe Ryan (Melbourne), Geraldine Goss, Pamela Whiting (MUBC)


Female C Double – Geraldine Goss and Ainsley Raggatt (Banks)

Mixed D Double – Geraldine Goss and Tim Juzefowicz (Essendon)

Welcome to Richmond’s newest member Elaine Miles who competed strongly on the day in Richmond crews and also picked up a gold for coxing Powerhouse/Yarra Yarra crew in the Male E Four.

Good luck to those Richmond members competing at National Masters in 2 weeks’ time in South Australia, representing Richmond and Victoria!!

Continued Expansion of RRC Fleet

Through the first half of this financial year the club expanded our fleet with some second hand purchases, adding 2 stern coxed quad/fours and a number of singles to assist with our socially distanced rowing.

The Committee has also recently purchased an ex National Training Centre Sykes women’s lightweight double. This is a top of the range boat to support our highly competitive crews and requires the captains permission to row it. This boat is to be named the Franzi Locher. Franzi was a club member, rower and coach for a number of years and was the architect of the most recent renovation of the club house. Given the funds we receive from hiring our venue has contributed to our fleet expansion in recent years it is fitting that we honour the architect in this way.

We have also purchased and received a new Sykes men’s double as we improve the quality of our fleet including our smaller boats which are seeing more use. Again, this boat is not a general use boat and it requires the captain’s permission to row it. This boat is to be named the Emma Catford. Emma is a past president of Richmond Rowing Club, serving for 5 years in the role to 2013. Significant work was done by the Committee over that time to plan the renovation including reaching agreements with Melbourne City Council and MLC such that the club has been able to grow significantly since then. Emma was also a very successful rower throughout her time at the club.

It is great to have an expanded and newer fleet in the shed, this has been achieved through careful management of our finances and the income we receive from our hall hires – thank you to everyone who contributed to this.

We plan to christen these boats at our upcoming club BBQ on May 16th. Look out for details soon.

It is also important we continue to safeguard our fleet to minimise damage both on the water and in the shed, any damage to our fleet takes them out of action and the repairs eat into our funds for new boats. Please continue to be careful in the shed with oars and riggers when moving around, don’t leave boats unattended on trestles and take appropriate safeguards on the water with lights when dark and paying attention to the increasing river traffic.

RRC rowers to represent Victoria in the State Masters 8+

Congratulations to Michelle Joy and Geraldine Goss for being selected to represent Victoria as part of the states Masters 8+ crew. It’s great to have 2 Richmond rowers in the crew who will race as part of the National Masters Regatta in Sydney at the end of May. This is Michelle’s first time representing Victoria in the Masters crew, with Geraldine’s selection adding to a long list of success with selection into the crew.

They will be competing in a Richmond 8+, with the Ray Dennis being provided to the crew to train and compete in on the day. While this means it will not be available for a small number of training sessions and when in Sydney, it is important to support our Richmond rowers and the Victorian crew in achieving the best outcome possible. It also goes to reinforce the quality of the Richmond fleet which continues to improve further.

2021 RRC Quiz Night

It was wonderful to see so many current members, old members and guests at our quiz night last weekend. The 2020 quiz night was unfortunately cancelled as COVID-19 impacted the country, so being able to get together this year was even better.

As you would all know as a volunteer run, community based club we are dependent on fundraising to support our ongoing operation to strengthen our fleet and provide coaching to our members. The quiz night is an important part of this as one of our biggest fundraising avenues.

Thank you to all those present, the volunteers who set up and cleaned up, the bar staff, those who generously donated auction prizes and those who bought them. Thank you to Derek Begg as our auctioneer on the night and Justin Thomas for writing the quiz questions. A massive thank you to Amy Catlin for organising the night and being our magical quizmaster for the evening.

Congratulations to our winning team on the night “Gently down the stream” comprising of Imogen, Lachlan, Charlotte, Rosie, Laura, Lachie and Ally who took out a closely fought contest.

Updated RRC Safety Management Plan

The Clubs Safety Management Plan is an important document and all members should be aware of its contents. The safety management plan covers our on water activities, covering:

  • The assessment and reduction of risks related to our on water activities
  • Member Responsibilities
  • Safety Resources
  • Information about the safe use of boats and equipment including a checklist covering safe working condition of equipment prior to rowing
  • Incident reporting
  • Competency of those involved in rowing

Please review the document and be aware of it’s contents, I would like to highlight the following as reminders:

  • Consider the risk assessment board at the front of the club prior to any outing to assess the conditions. Ensure you know the waterway rules (included on the local waterways plan) and sign out of the shed on the sheet. If conditions are not safe or beyond your capabilities do not proceed.
  • Be aware of the safety resources at the club and their location including safety aids/rescue and defibrillator (beneath the sweep oars), first aid kits (gym), emergency services information etc
  • Check the boat and equipment before every outing including the bow ball is securely fixed, seals/bungs are secure for buoyancy, heel restraints are secure, steering is in good working order, riggers, gates etc. are working appropriately and oars are appropriately set within gates.
  • Lights must be used in poor visibility, take into account your planned on water time not just conditions when you launch
  • Consider your competency before any session, including physical/medical considerations, ability of participates and coxswains for the conditions and the boat you plan to launch in. If unsure, do not proceed.
  • Every rower is required to complete a safety theory assessment and swim test on joining. In addition the Rowing Victoria coxswains accreditation must be achieved in advance of rowing a single or coxing a boat/steering a coxless boat from bow seat.
  • Any incidents must be reported immediately. Should an incident occur you should return to the shed as damage may have occurred to the boat you are not aware of which could impact the crews safety. Reporting should be via
  • There is increased boat traffic on the Yarra, be aware of this at the time of your row and frequently consider the boat traffic around you to reduce the risk of incidents. Be considerate of other river users and do not undertake higher risk activities eg turning close to bridges, race pieces when the river is very busy/there are a high number of inexperienced crews or motor boats.
  • Based on Captains instructions:
    • No RRC crews are permitted 50 metres beyond the downstream drip line of the Bolte Bridge into the Port of Melbourne Area as we do not have the required equipment to meet the Harbour Masters Directions.
    • RRC crews may turn under the Bolte Bridge and enter Victoria Harbour:
      • • as long as it is safe to do so.
      • • provided they are within 50 metres of the downstream drip line of the Bolte Bridge.

Good luck to our rowers competing at the National Championships

Michelle Joy and Kate Dyball, coached by Dario Sportelli, will be representing Richmond at the 2021 Australian Rowing Championships at Lake Barrington in the Club Women’s Double Scull. Following a very successful Victorian State Championships campaign, we wish them the best of luck competing against Australia’s best crews in Tasmania.

There will be a live stream of the races accessible via the RV website with Michelle and Kate competing on Thursday afternoon and Sunday Morning. Hopefully everyone is able to get online and watch them do the club proud.

Victorian States Championships 2021

At the end of February the club headed to Nagambie with high hopes of a success and States taking place this year, one year on from a blown out States at Ballarat and a pandemic disrupted season.

There was a fantastic turn out of rowers at all levels from people competing the 2km course at open, a and b grade and the very competitive c and d grade events over 1km.

It’s fair to say that Richmond had amazing success with 9 Golds, 3 Silver and 6 third places which saw us come 5th overall in the medal table. Congratulations to all involved, athletes, coxswains, coaches and supporters.

A full list of medals is included below


FB2-     Kirsty Fergie, Xanthe Hadfield

FB2X    Kate Dyball, Zoe Maxwell

FC2-     Kirsty Fergie, Xanthe Hadfield

FD1X    Lily Innes-Irons

FD2-     Alex Kinsman, Lily Innes-Irons

FD4+    Alex Huang, Alex Kinsman, Chelsea Crouser (cox), Frederique Le Bescond, Melanie Perkins

FD4X+ Alex Huang, Frederique Le Bescond, Kathryn Spinnler-Jenkins, Sarah Houghton (cox), Victoria Petersen

FO2-     Kirsty Fergie, Xanthe Hadfield

MD8+   Ethan Lovett, Jack Austin, Jack Hellerstedt, Ka Ki Wong (cox), Kim Begelhole, Leigh Mckee, Matthew Lowe, Pavel Oborin, Richard Healy


FA2X    Kate Dyball, Michelle Joy

FD2X    Alex Huang, Victoria Petersen

MD4X+ Derek Begg/Zoe Kral (cox), Ethan Lovett, Jack Hellerstedt, Michael Gehling, Richard Healy


FA1X    Kate Dyball

FA4+    Chelsea Crouser, Derek Begg (cox), Melanie Perkins, Michelle Joy, Xanthe Hadfield

FD8+    Alex Kinsman, Chelsea Crouser, Dana Hill, Frederique Le Bescond, Kirsty Fergie, Lily Innes-Irons, Melanie Perkins, Will Golding (cox), Zoe Maxwell

FO2X    Kate Dyball, Michelle Joy

FO4X-  Karen Doggett, Melanie Perkins, Michelle Joy, Zoe Maxwell

MD4+   Derek Begg (cox), Ethan Lovett, Jack Hellerstedt, Pavel Oborin, Richard Healy

Thank you to John Carey and Jack Hellerstadt for their take on the weekend

Thursday boat loading

One last on-water session for the MD4x’s, some great race-pace action between the MD4x and MC4+ before finishing up the loading spearheaded by most of the women’s squad.


A day of rest, hydration and meandering gazes towards any stretch of water. Deep inflections of what it will take to win at Nagambie, which crews will we face up against and will I get an egg & bacon roll or venture towards the McGambie. 


See Friday…..


Perfect weather, pretty hot and rising already from quiet early.  No clouds no wind. Foxhole cafe just SW of the water tower is a must-stop on the way to the course. Offers a tiny slice of the Irish-Aussie experience, with the owner hailing from Monaghan.

Cheer squad extraordinaire featuring: Amy Catlin, Lachie Stewart, Charlotte North-Coombes, Shern Timmins, Roberts parentals and Basil (the dog, not our wonderful London-based former coach).

MD4+ Jack H/Ethan/Rich/Pavel/Derek was a four boat final with the school-boys taking it off the line from the start. Edged out Carrum to just make it onto the podium.

Egg & bacon eat your heart out. This year’s BBQ featured a top-shelf gourmet snag on the menu, beef or lamb, would love to see this appear as a regular event.

RRC MD4x+ were split across the two heats, hard fought for Matt/ Jack A/ Leigh/ Kim/ Christine (?) just missing the cut by 7 seconds.  Jack H/ Ethan/ Rich/ Mikey G with Banks guest coxswain Zoë Kral stayed on Melbourne for a comfortable second place ticket to the final.

RRC MC4+ Denis/John C/Liam/Jon R with Derek (cox) left in the dust by Ballarat Clarendon who stormed home in a blitz of backsplash, completing the 1,000m course in 3.02 minutes. The lads were happy with their own performance, coming 5th in a time of 3.23 minutes. 

The much anticipated M/F D8+ tête-à-tête had it all: yellow card for unlawful entry to the course, mid-flight cable repair to save Keith from having to race boxless, and the year-ten Carey Grammar crew first down the course by a comfortable 6 second margin to remind us that two coxed quads does not-quite make an eight.

Derek stepped back in for the MD4x+ final. It was anyone’s race for the first 500 with RRC trading in some grace for power at the start to stay in it, but Melbourne dug deep and couldn’t be caught. Satisfying second after seeing the late arvo heat catch up with Melbourne three-seat on the way back in.

Monday boat unloading

A largely uneventful affair with almost 2 trailer-loads of boats being unloaded in 56 minutes and 55 seconds.


33 athletes, 18 medals from 36 events, 9 gold, 3 silver, 6 bronze.

5th in the overall medal table; just behind Uni Melb! Massive effort- go Richmond!

RRC and TopRow Melbourne partner to grow club membership

Richmond Rowing Club and TopRow Melbourne are partnering to introduce new rowers to the sport and focus on long term member growth for the club.

We have a strong history of running Learn to Row courses and a large number of our members have come to the sport in this way. The logistics of running Learn to Row courses with a volunteer coaching group can be challenging with competing priorities. Part of our strategy is to grow our member numbers to maintain a vibrant and financially sound club, this becomes even more important as we look to the impacts of COVID-19 on our operations.

As a result we have taken the Committee has agreed to partner with TopRow Melbourne (and Will Golding who is the face of TopRow Melbourne). Under this arrangement they will run frequent small Learn to Row courses from the club to focus on utilising our resources at quieter times. Once rowers graduate from TopRow Melbourne they will have the opportunity to join Richmond Rowing Club in our Development Squad and continue their rowing journey.

We have allocated 2 dedicated Learn to Row sessions into our rowing sessions as TopRow Melbourne trials operations over the coming months and starts advertising. These were communicated in our return to rowing plan along with ad-hoc part sessions depending on demand. This will be a similar amount of time/people as if we were running our own learn to row program.

We think this is a great opportunity for the club and TopRow to grow together. We also wish Will Golding every success with TopRow, he also continues to be an member of our RRC coaching group.