The highlight for rowing in Australia was the holding of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Past and present members of the club were very proud and delighted to see Rachel Taylor achieve her sporting dream winning a silver medal in the Women’s coxless pairs with partner Kate Slatter. Rachel was originally introduced to rowing by Kate and Danny Elliott through the Talent Identification Program hosted by the club in 1991-1994. Rachel’s effort was an outstanding achievement and one that vindicated all the work the club and coach had put in developing and running the program. Out of fourteen teenagers in our original intake,t o get one person through to world class rowing was incredible from such a small group. The East German model suggested one rower from 60 selected talented people and 10 years to develop them to winning world championships. Former club member Anthony Edwards, now competing for Wendouree/Ballarat also won silver in the Men’s Lightweight fours and Brownyn Thompson placed fifth as a member of the Australian Women’s eight.
At the Annual Meeting in September 1999 President Colin Angow did not stand for re-election. He had lead the club by example for 17 years. Not only him, but the entire Angow family, contributed a huge amount of time and effort to running the club. Under his stable leadership the club had continued to thrive and evolve. He was President through the most successful period of the club’s history. Just as Frank Findlay would be remembered for getting the boatshed rebuilt in 1956 in time for the Olympics and Mr. Bunce was President during the 1930’s when the club achieved the impossible and finally built the beautiful Federation structure that had no equal on the lake, Colin is remembered for presiding over the Golden era of rowing and the unprecedented number of wins achieved by a small but cohesive club. Former Captain Danny Elliott having stepped down to committee for two years took on the President’s job and maintained the traditions and history of the club while leading it into the new millennium.
The club membership continued to grow with most new members being in the social category. The hall leasing to Michael Prior allowed us to consolidate our financial position and with regular fundraising we were able to purchase some new equipment. Kate Elliott also honed her skills in grant submission writing and started applying for grants this year. The club was successful in obtaining two grants, one from Sports Safe to purchase equipment to help make participation in rowing safer and one from VicHealth for the Year of the Elderly Person designed to increase participation of older adults. She also applied for a grant to fund the recording of the club’s history but this was unsuccessful. Undeterred she commenced researching and writing in what would be a four year odyssey to write a book about the club. The first step was she and her mum Maree Corbett formed a research partnership to find all the lost information from 1870-1956 and final reports of the Annual Meetings for 85 years!
Also this year the Ballarat City Council flagged a 600% rise in site rental that was to be introduced this year. Kate Elliott wrote a submission outlining the club’s position and the difficulty this rise would cause the club. Belinda Bilney attended a Council meeting to address the Councillors and they succeeded in having their proposal accepted which was to spend the equivalent of the rent rise on repairing the exterior of the shed. Work had begun on replacing stumps and decking on the jetty. This was done by volunteer labour but it was time intensive and expensive.
It was announced that the World Master’s Games were to be held in Melbourne in 2002 and the rowing would take place on Lake Wendouree as it had for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. This stirred many of our Master’s rowers into action and plans were formulated to have the biggest contingent we could muster attend these Games on our home course.
At the Victorian Championships Tim Wise won the men’s Elite lightweight scull and had his name inscribed on the Keith Bilney shield for the third time. He also placed second to Peter Antonie in the heavyweight scull pushing Peter right to the line.
Tim again attended the Australian National Championships in Sydney and rowed the fastest time of his life to finish just millimetres behind Bruce Hick. However this was insufficient to change selectors minds and they selected Karrasch and Hick as the Olympic double where they placed seventh. Interestingly this is the same position that Tim and partner Sam Golding achieved back in 1991 at the World Championships in Vienna. Tim and Belinda also competed at the Australian Master’s Championships in Bundaberg in June scoring 5 gold medals and one silver. Belinda Bilney won the Women’s A scull, the first female Master to win an Australian Master’s championship in the scull. Tim Wise was again dominant, winning Champion Men’s A and B sculls for the fourth year in succession. He teamed with Jeff Sykes to row a Men’s A double scull and also score gold. Tim and Belinda won the A mixed double scull and competed in the Men’s B double and won a silver medal!
The FISA Master’s World Championships were in Hazewinkle,Belgium, where Tim Wise and Belinda Bilney jetted off in September and again scored two gold medals. The first was in the Men’s B scull and the second with Peter Schumacher (City of Oxford Rowing Club) in the Men’s A double scull. Tim scored silver in the Men’s B scull,and Belinda finished just outside the medals in fourth place in the Women’s A scull! Then the dynamic duo raced the mixed A and B double sculls to score silver in both these events. The inclement Belgian weather and unfamiliar equipment literally put a dampener on everything so two gold was a fantastic achievement. Having taken out the mixed double sculls for three years in a row, silver was a little disappointing but it was still an outstanding effort! As a warm up they also competed at City of Oxford Royal Regatta with Tim again winning the Men’s Elite sculls and the Senior 1 double scull again with Peter Schumacher.