Talented beginners row towards Olympic Games Rowing

LOWER Clarence head coach Harold Kratz believes two of his new rowers from Maclean High School are the best recruits he has ever had.

Kratz described Crystal Piper (Year 8) and Ashli Spalding (Year 9) as two remarkable young beginner rowers, adding he was thrilled to have been given the opportunity to coach them.

"If they continue in the sport, they have a great chance of representing New South Wales and ultimately the Olympics," Kratz said.

And if any member of the club should recognise top talent it's Kratz, who joined the club in 1948 rowing in old clinker-built boats and who is proud to boast he's 86 years old.

"I started rowing with what was then known as the Maclean Rowing Club that drew members from Yamba, Iluka and Harwood but in the early 1960s, it was decided to rename the club to the Lower Clarence Rowing Club.

"I felt this was a sensible name, as the clubhouse is situated on the lower part of the Clarence River, so for those who do not know where it is, (it) makes it not hard to find."

Piper has been rowing for only six months. She credited Maclean High's rowing program for helping her develop her skills and said her ultimate aim was to reach the Olympic Games.

"I have always loved sport. I have really grown to love rowing, as it is hard; you have to become very strong and put up with pain," Piper said,

"Along with Ashli, we have both got the bug and if we continue to win races, who knows.

"We might end up at the 2024 or 2028 Olympic Games."

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