In awe of the mighty Clarence
By TONY WHITE
THE mighty Clarence River has attracted a new group of devotees ? 43 schoolgirl rowers, coaches and assistants from All Hallows School, Brisbane.
The large contingent arrived on Sunday for a five-day training camp at Maclean.
All Hallows, which boasts 130 girls from Year 8 to Year 12 in its rowing program, is the fourth-ranked girls' rowing school in Queensland.
For the past two years the school's women's eight has finished third at the annual Head of the River in Brisbane.
"The purpose of the camp is to improve our technique and fitness levels before our rowing season starts next term," said Michael Wright, All Hallows teacher in charge of the school's rowing program.
"This is our first time down here (Maclean).
"A number of our coaches have been here before and highly recommended Maclean.
"Normally we'd go to Murwillumbah but we came down here a couple of months back, really liked what we saw and decided on Maclean."
Wright, the six coaches and six assistants have taken to the area.
"I've been extremely impressed, everyone has, including the girls," he said.
"It's a fantastic river, the conditions are brilliant and the facilities are great."
The cold snap has not dented the team's enthusiasm.
Wright has co-ordinated the camp with Maclean Rowing Club president Bob Gray.
"Bob and all the members have really made us feel welcome," Wright said. "Everyone has been very hospitable. Our quarters in the rowing club are ideal, especially being right on the river."
Apart from two river sessions per day, the girls have also done a daily run, up the Maclean Hill, for fitness.
"We're all going on a long beach walk tomorrow," Wright said yesterday. "When they are not rowing they've been involved in other aerobic activities and also found some time to take in the natural beauty of this area."
Wright said he would encourage participation in the Schools' Head of the River in Grafton later this year.
"Hopefully we can come down in the near future and participate in your Head of the River and other local events," Wright said.