Somerset Times

Coffee Club Rows in 21 Kilometre Race

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Somerset Times Edition

Week 10, Term Two, 2018

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It started out as a coffee club in 2012. A small group of Somerset parents shared coffee after dropping their kids off at Somerset College Rowing training, in the wee hours of the morning.

One fateful coffee session a caffeine inspired parent made the suggestion: “Why don’t we learn to row ourselves?”. What followed was a number of discussions with the College and the Rowing coach and three months later Somerset Alumni Rowing Club was born.

In 2018 the Club counts 28 full time members who all had, or still have, children in the Somerset College Rowing programme or are in other ways associated with the College. It has a proud track record of countless capsizes, a few marine incidents (no persons harmed), many bruised egos (“rowing looks, not too difficult”) and most important still acts as a support group for the competing students at the College.

In recent years the group started to tip its feet into racing in regattas. A highlight of the racing season is the annual Head of The Tweed Regatta over 21 kilometres starting in Chinderah and finishing at the Murwillumbah Rowing Club. This year was special, with the contingent of parents (not all of them lightweight rowers) actively rowing, the event had grown to 20 plus two coxswain. Training for the long distance race began in March and some crews were coached by former Olympic rower Alf Duval (Silver Medalist in the 1968 Mexico Olympics in the Australian Eight). Robina Removals acted as sponsor to also look the part.

On Sunday, 17 June the various crews took off on a sunny but chilly morning against strong competition from Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Cairns and other Gold Coast based rowing clubs, making its way up the river. Two hours and nine minutes later the last of our crews had crossed the finish line and one Gold and one Silver medal were in the bag. Blisters, sore bodies, the most colorful outfit of the day from our sponsor Robina Removals and a pit stop for one crew to change the pants of an oarsman will be remembered until the next regatta!

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