Olympians inspire rowers

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Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser

Hannah Vermeersch and Tony Lovrich arrived with Rowing WA sport development manager Jen Matthies to coach the students for two sessions, ahead of their next competition on Saturday.

Ms Matthies said the GSG team learnt techniques from the champions and developed important connections with rowers in Perth.

“After our last visit in June the boys actually won the following regatta,” she said.

“So they really improved their techniques and the squad as a whole has improved in standard coming back.”

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The GSG rowing team work closely with the Albany rowing club, which is one of three regional WA clubs. Ms Matthies said rowing was a popular sport in Australia with 20,000 rowers nationwide — leaving a vast opportunity for competition and success.

“Hannah has great experience having rowed at the Olympics and many world champs and she is also a regional girl so she relates well with the students, while Tony is a very credentialed athlete and coach himself.” She said.

About 30 students joined the coaching sessions at the Albany Rowing Club, and Rowing WA hope to extend the relationship to other schools and create larger development programs.

Mr Lovrich added that the GSG rowers were performing extremely well at a State level.

“These kids are training here for next week’s event, the All Schools Rowing WA Competition which is a really big deal.

“It is fantastic to have all these kids involved in it competing against metropolitan kids — it would be the biggest regional program in the State, if not Australia.”

Rowing WA will hold an Annual Open Day for all rowing clubs in November. Albany Rowing Club will be open for the community to come down and check them out, followed by a learn-to-row program.

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