27 September 2020

Governor-General joins veterans for a row

| Rowing ACT
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Participants in Rowing ACT Veterans and Families Indoor Rowing Program's Winter Time Trial.

There were lots of smiles following Rowing ACT Veterans and Families Indoor Rowing Program’s Winter Time Trial. Photo: Supplied.

There are plenty of people who spruik the benefits of rowing, including Australia’s Governor-General. A former rower when stationed at Duntroon early in his military career, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), and his wife, Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley, joined Rowing ACT for its Veterans and Families Indoor Rowing Program’s Winter Time Trial.

The Veterans and Families Indoor Rowing Program is a new Rowing ACT initiative following funding from the ACT Government. As a veteran and former rower, the Governor-General said he understands the importance of maintaining fitness and discipline post-service.

“I’ve always said it taught me more than any other sport I played,” he said. “It’s got great value in terms of understanding that the limits you impose on yourself are really up here [in the head]. If you build them, you can break them down.

“It’s a great sport to keep you fit; it is one of the fittest sports there is going. I think for veterans such as myself and those behind me, it’s a really good way of keeping that discipline you used to have in service about PT and so forth.”

For military spouse Michelle, the program has given her the chance to mix with other military families while her husband, Andy, is posted to Darwin.

“I’ve really enjoyed just being with people again, and meeting people from different parts of the veterans community,” she said.

“The best bit is being with a group of really lovely, likeminded people and looking at this beautiful view over Lake Burley Griffin. It’s been terrific.”

Military spouse Michelle talks to Governor-General David Hurley.

Military spouse Michelle talks to Governor-General David Hurley, with her husband, Andy, dialing in from Darwin. Photo: Supplied.

For Rowing ACT president Alison Creagh, herself a military veteran, indoor rowing provides veterans and their families a chance to mingle with others from similar backgrounds.

“It’s been able to be run because of the ACT Government grant,” she said. “It’s really exciting, we’ve got Veteran Sport Australia behind us, we’ve got Rowing Australia assisting. Really, it’s about bringing veterans and their families together to give them an opportunity to try something – indoor rowing – which is a fantastic whole-of-body workout.

“We had a bunch of people who were veterans, some families of veterans, who’ve never met, and they all talked today about how much fun they had. And they’ve had a bit of exercise as well.”

From left: Governor-General David Hurley, military spouse Michelle, Mrs Linda Hurley, Gary Wilson, Alison Creagh.

From left: Governor-General David Hurley, military spouse Michelle, Mrs Linda Hurley, veteran Gary Wilson and Rowing ACT President Alison Creagh. Photo: Supplied.

The program has the vice-regal thumbs up as well.

“You get to see other people interact so you get the fun side of it as well, and you walk away having achieved something each time so it’s a great initiative,” said Governor-General Hurley.

In the on-water action, Black Mountain Rowing Club’s Luke Letcher smashed his course record by 20 seconds in the men’s single scull, getting around in 14:23.93 and clinching the Kwiatkowski Cup for the overall series winner.

Canberra Rowing Club’s Cara Grzeskowiak was the fastest women’s single sculler, beating Adair Ferguson’s 1996 course record for the third time in as many outings. Zoe Bond’s 15th place on handicap was enough to give her the Lyn Cirulis Plate by one point over ANU Boat Club’s Lilli Reardon.

Other course records set during the weekend included Canberra Rowing Club’s Cormac Hayes in the junior men’s single scull, and ANU Boat Club’s Sophie Jerapetritis and Anneke Reardon’s 15:30.92 in the women’s double scull – a time quicker than the fastest men’s double.

Radford College’s quad of Ethan Toscan, Sam Roberts, William Gregory and Damien Schroder signed off their school rowing career with a 13:37.93, the fastest time across either day.

For full results and category winners, head to Rowing ACT.

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