School girl rowers win quinella

MEETING Johanna Tarrant and Sarah Jones for the first time you could easily mistake them for basketballers.

Apart from their radiant smiles, Johanna and Sarah have the perfect physiques to compete in the sport they love - rowing.

At the recent NSW Rowing Championships held at the International Regatta Centre in Penrith the Grafton High girls claimed gold and silver in the School Girls Single Scull.

Tarrant was awarded the gold with Jones finishing a close second.

Their coach Collin Lang was ecstatic with the girls’ efforts and says by taking out first and second place the girls may have unknowingly re-wrote the record books.

“For the girls to take out the quinella it was a fantastic achievement. As far as anyone can recall it is the first time girls from the same school have finished in first and second place,” says Lang.

The girls said they had little time to recover due to their heavy program.

“It was exciting for both of us but we had no time to celebrate as we had more races to compete in and needed some recovery time,” says Tarrant.

It was a successful meet for the aspiring rowers who teamed-up to take out gold in the double school girls Sculls, bronze in the Elite Pairs and Under-21 Pairs and a fourth place in the highly competitive Under-23 Pairs.

In the Elite Pairs Tarrant and Jones crossed the finish line ahead of a crew containing a former Olympic rower.

It was not all plain sailing for the duo who struck a hurdle in the Under-21 Pairs, but to their credit managed third placing.

“We had an annoying malfunction,” Jones says.

“We had a problem with the steering and it gradually got worse. We lost speed... I had to push really hard and Johanna had to try and keep the boat on line.”

The girls said they were thrilled with their effort in the Under-23 Pairs and described it as their best race even though they came in fourth.

“At one stage we were sitting in third place but we ended up finishing out of the medals,” says Tarrant.

“We went back and looked at our splits and realised we were more consistent over the 2km. We actually improved our overall time by 5secs.”

When asked about their aspirations for the future both girls agreed their ultimate goal was to compete at the Olympics.

Reaching an elite level in any sport requires dedication and rigorous training, something Tarrant and Jones are prepared to do.

“We train six sessions a week on the water with sharp 5km or longer 10-15km workouts,” says Jones.

Tarrant added: “We also do a bit of boxing and some gym work for variety.”

With all elite sports there are sacrifices and for Tarrant and Jones juggling training and school has been a balancing act in itself.

“We are doing Year 12 over two years and this is our second year,” explains Jones.

“We both want to do well in our HSC and training takes up a lot of our time... one year would have been too difficult.”

So what do the girls do when they have a break from endless kilometres up and down the mighty Clarence?

They both enjoy a game of netball and Johanna has found a new passion for bike training aid.

But for Sarah and Johanna their focus is rowing, rowing and more rowing. One day they might reach the pinnacle of their sport and compete at the Olympic Games.

Local Results

Johanna Tarrant -Gold- School Girls Single Scull

Sarah Jones-Silver - School Girls Single Scull

Johanna Tarrant and Sarah Jones - Gold-Double School Girls Scull.

Johanna Tarrant and Sarah Jones - Bronze-Elite Pairs and Under-21 Pairs.

Riley Elvery - Bronze- Mens Under-19 Single Scull and finalist in School Boys Single Scull

Rachael Anderson - Gold - Under-16 girls Quads

Leah Saunders -Bronze - Under-19 Womens Doubles

Emma Thompson and Gemma Cox - Smith-Silver Under-21 Quads.

Rachael Anderson - Silver Under-16 Single Quads.

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