Penrif roolz…..the Mexicans answer the call

Well the Mexicans came, saw, and liked what they saw.  As painful as it is to admit that NSW does anything well, they have a cracker of a rowing course. A 25 strong RRC contingent have ventured north into enemy territory and found the enemy more than welcoming. The Penrith Olympic rowing course is a stunning set-up, and the course was on its best behaviour today – with mid-twenties temps, no wind, just perfect.
RRC was the sole Victorian club who ventured north for the NSW Club Champs. And our presence was quickly noticed by the locals. Numerous locals spent many hours trying to decode our “I Heart RRC” t-shirts, others were in awe of our prized wooden Butcher boat. Our accommodation is salubrious and wholesome, the Penrith Christian Academy is giving us a comfortable stay, while also making us better people. They have a no-voodoo-or-slaughtering-goats policy which has necessitated a few changes to the evening social activities, but we’re adapting well.
But anyhoo, back to the rowing itself.
The entire RRC contingent were feeling a few butterflies – foreign course, different cubs, and no sense of how we’d perform. First boat onto the water was Laura and Sophie in a C double heat, winning their heat and giving all the RRC rowers a boost. To quote AFL supercoach Leigh Matthews, “If they bleed you can kill them.” Then the women’s D eight had an absolute belter of a race, there was nothing in it between between 1st and 3rd and the girls were just pipped in a photo finish into 3rd place. But they cut dashing figures as they leapt onto the dias to claim their bronze medals.
Rosie and Anthea, and Susie and Rochelle all had solid rows in their double sculls.
The men’s C eight matched the girl’s eight for exciting rowing, with eight crews rowing down the 1km course in a straight line. Two photo finishes were needed to sort out the placings, with the blokes just being rowed into fourth place out of the medals. Just 1.47 secs separated first from fifth place. Dammit!
Kiwi Sam rowed the race of the day in his men’s B single final. Coming fifth at the 1km mark, he belted out a quick haka and surged through the second km to take out second place.
And then the men’s D-four showed there’s no school like the old school, taking out a bronze medal rowing the only wooden boat in Penrith, probably in NSW.
Throw in some whitewater rafting during a break in the program, and we’ve had a corker of a first day. Tomorrow will see more rows in quads and eights, with all crews hoping to ad to the RRC bling tally.
Jim Cooper