St Pat’s, Loreto favourites

St Patrick’s College and Loreto College are the overwhelming favourites heading into Sunday’s Head of the Lake.

Both crews have beendominant in lead-up regattas and will take some catching on race day.

St Pat’s is hoping to register its first Head of the Lake triumph since 2010 and return to the glory days of St Pat’s rowing that saw it claim the crown from 2007-10.

However, it has been keeping its cards close to its chest.

St Patrick’s College’s boys’ firsts crew has only raced in one regatta against fellow Ballarat schools, but has shone in a number of regattas in Geelong and won the Head of the Schoolboys.

President of the Wendouree-Ballarat Rowing Club John King said the St Pat’s crew had been extremely impressive in the lead-up to the event and would certainly take some beating. But he felt Ballarat Clarendon Collegeposedas the main threat to St Patrick’s College’shopes.

“They’ve been hiding their cards a little bit, they’ve only raced in one regatta against the other schools,” King said.

“I think College are the next best crew, they seem to be challenging very well.”

Meanwhile in the girls’ firsts race, Loreto College are equallyfancied boasting an undefeated record in the lead-up regattas.

If Loreto can produce the goods it will be the first time it has triumphed in its 10-year involvement.

The crew is led by Laura Foley who is involved with the WestVic academy. But King said the crew was far from a one-girl show and will be very hard to beat on Sunday.

King felt Ballarat Grammar offered the main competition to Loreto given the impressive record of coach Bill Gribble.

“It’s hard to see who is going to challenge them at the moment.

SUCCESS: Ballarat Clarendon College’s boys’ firsts celebrate victory at last year’s Head of the Lake. It poses as the biggest threat to St Patrick’s College. Picture: Luka Kauzlaric

“The whole crew’s fitted together really well, all very strong and fit, they’re travelling beautifully.

“Bill Gribble always coaches crews up to the Head of the Lake very well and he’s girls did a fantastic job last year.”

The weather is promising to deliver a brilliant day, pushing into the late-20s and sunny. But more importantly, the wind will play a minimal role.

King expected a slight tailwind, similar to that of 2005 that saw Ballarat High School break the Head of the Lake record.

Races start at 9am with the firsts’ races beginning at 11.35.

Meanwhile, St Patrick’s College paid tribute to Olympian Christian Ryan by naming a boat after him in the lead-up to the Head of the Lake.

Ryan was a silver medalist in the 2000 Olympics as a member of the men’s eight and is a former college captain of St Patrick’s College.

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