With races having officially begun, the rowing season is now in full swing. At the end of the season start, I was selected to row with the First IV and was then re-selected again for the First IV following the second selection process during the January residential rowing camp in the holidays. Our races began on the 9th of November with the Sydney Grammar School Regatta held at SIRC (Sydney International Regatta Centre), the same venue used for the Head of the River in March. We subsequently had the Scots Regatta the week after again held at SIRC.
The first race of the season is always an exciting one, as every crew is given a chance to start fresh after the previous season and to see their positions relative to the competition as the season kicks off. Our first race of the season at the Sydney Grammar School Regatta was very exciting for our crew. As we came out of the blocks we soon found out that we were one of the front runner crews in the First IV division, coming second only to Shore by 0.34 seconds. This great result on our first race gave the crew a very big boost in confidence, something which continued into the subsequent Scots Regatta, where we placed the same.
Despite this success early on, the January camp brought about some risky changes to our crew, where we lost a member to the Second VIII. Needless to say, the rest of the crew was apprehensive of the change, as it could have cost us the win, however, the new crew proved to be very effective and the rest of the boys were soon eager to race once again.
This new-found confidence didn't last though, as a week before the NSW State Championships held at SIRC in early February there was another crew change that meant we had to bring a rower from the Second IV to fill the spot. This change was very jarring to the crew as we had gotten used to rowing together, and because of the change, the seating arrangements had to be shuffled on the day of State Champs. The race itself went extremely poorly, with us placing dead last among the rest of the competitors who had come from all over Australia. Despite this, the crew wasn't left entirely defeated, as our rival crew from Shore had gone to win the championship in a time that was entirely achievable by our own crew. While we left the state competition disappointed, the crew was brought closer together and we were now more determined than ever to win our next race at SIRC in a couple weeks time.