Belinda Bilney continued her great job as secretary for a second year and continued to juggle work, training, competing nationally and internationally and still keep the club on an even keel. She and club Captain, Tim Wise also competed at the FISA World Master’s Regatta in Seville, Spain, in October winning the mixed A double scull for the third year in a row. They were the first and are still the only world Master’s champions in rowing from Ballarat. For the rest of the club it was again a very busy year with successes at state, National and International level. The hardworking committee was Colin Angow-President, Traci Robbins- treasurer and Tim Wise-Captain. Norm and Ron Young joined the committee this year and Kate Elliott, after a year’s leave of absence, also made a return as a committee member. A large number of junior rowers raced for valuable experience this season and, it was hoped, would go on to taste success next season. The club membership continued to grow with the number of social, recreational and masters rowers increasing. These members proved themselves invaluable in providing support and assistance in all areas of running the club. The number of wins was down somewhat on the previous season but many of our newer members joined the ranks of winners.
Sadly in April of this year, Alf Quick one of the older Life Members passed away. Alf had filled the roles of President, secretary, and committee member. He had taken over the somewhat onerous task of looking after the hall bookings and could always be counted on to lend a hand at Ballarat Regatta where he and his wife, Kit, along with Albie and Joyce McGuire worked in the kitchen and “manned” the refreshment tent at the finish of the course for many years. The older members amongst us would remember being trained in the art of making the perfect packet of sandwiches-four “points” with four different fillings and sealed in a cellophane bag.
The Australian Intervarsity Regatta was held on Lake Wendouree in September and in another Ballarat City first, Carla Pearson and Traci Robbins competed in the women’s double scull rowing as University of Ballarat. The club was very active again in sculling events, especially Men’s Novice sculls with Jordan O’Keefe winning his way out and Luke Taylor (brother of Rachel Taylor)winning under 16 and novice sculls towards the end of the season. Traci’s girls, Erin Gustus, Melanie Moon, Bobbie Rosenhart and K.Martin competed at several regattas and came very close to scoring a win at Barwon but just missing out coming second in the final. Andrea Dixon also won under 16 and Novice sculls. Her strongest competition came from club mate Traci Robbins and between the pair of them they monopolised all the Novice scull races in the second half of the season where they won both divisions or finished 1st and 2nd if they were in the same race. Danny O’Hara and former TIP Justin Bell joined up after Christmas and combined with jarrod Roberts and Jordan O’Keefe to give us our first men’s four for some years. Justin and Danny also combined on a “powerhouse” Novice pair and scored several wins in this class.
At the Australian Masters National Championships in Canberra, Belinda Bilney competed in the single scull for the first time in the A grade sculls and won a silver medal. Tim Wise just seemed to keep getting faster and he won an amazing 6 gold medals, winning every event he entered. He won the Men’s A scull, B Scull, A and B double scull with Murray Doust of Manning River, Men’s A quad in a composite crew and of course the mixed double with Belinda Bilney. This is made all the more remarkable as earlier in the year, in January while training for a selection regatta in Canberra, Tim was struck by a car while on his bike and fell breaking his arm in two places, his elbow and his wrist. He was literally out of action for two months. He had been racing faster than ever in the scull and was eying Olympic selection in the lightweight double scull. He next raced at the Victorian Master’s Championships in April and then the Australian Master’s Championships in May. Then he trained over winter and he and Belinda again raced at the FISA World Master’s Regatta, this time in Seville in Spain and again proved that training in Ballarat was no obstacle to competing at the highest level. In December he was back at Australian team 5km selection trial in Canberra and stunned everyone by winning the lightweight scull from world silver medallists in the Lightweight scull at the World Championships-Bruce Hick and Hamish Karrasch.
Traci Robbins aided by Jordan O’Keefe and Carla Pearson continued on the Learn to Row programs targeting schools who did not have a rowing program. For many years Kate Elliott had run Learn to Row yearly with Loreto and Damascus and it was important for the club to continue these programs to keep our junior program going.