Go with the flow
By TONY WHITE
PERSISTENT rain and gusting winds haven't dampened the enthusiasm of a group of elite rowers from the University Of Queensland based in Grafton for a 12-day training camp.
And the same can be said for another group of visiting rowers from Gregory Terrace, Brisbane, who arrived on Sunday for a two week camp in Maclean.
While the weather hasn't been kind, the attraction of training on the Clarence River and famed local hospitality, remains a powerful attraction.
The University of Queensland rowers ? 11 men, eight women and three coaches ? are making their second visit to Grafton.
The squad brought with them more than $100,000 worth of equipment including single sculls, pairs, coxless quad scull and coxed eight craft.
"After the first year (2005) we were keen to come back," head coach Joe Rodrigues said.
"The water here is awesome.
"In Brisbane we get nothing like it the clear water here. It's fabulous even with the wet weather.
"Also the hospitality from Greg Thompson, Ken Maughan and the Grafton Rowing Club, the Quality Inn (Fitzroy Motel) is terrific. Everyone goes out of their way to help us.
"Grafton is a great place to camp for training and what we're trying to achieve."
Included among the University squad are two exceptional rowers ? Kim Brown and Jared Bidwell.
"Kim is hoping to win the national Under-23 single scull," Rodrigues said.
"She has represented Australia for the past two years in junior double and Under-23 quad scull and is looking to gain an Australian crew berth again in 2006.
"Jared has won the Under-23 men's single scull and stroked the Under-23 men's eight.
"He too is looking to gain Australian selection.
"Both athletes are well on track to achieve those targets."
Around half the squad and coaches are also members of the Queensland Institute of Sport.
The squad generally have two sessions on the water daily and vary cross training between cycling, running and gym work.
"Unfortunately we haven't been able to cycle much it's been too dangerous with the rain," Rodrigues said.
The squad heads home on Sunday before returning for the NSW Rowing Championships in Sydney on February 11 and 12 and the Australian Rowing Championships in Tasmania from March 6 to 12.
Later this month a 100-plus squad from Brisbane Grammar will converge on Grafton for a week long training camp.