Oar inspiring women tackle Yarra

Tasmanian veteran rowers off to Head of the Yarra

Around the States
UNITED: June Mezger, Helen Dixon, Eve Beecroft, Marg Earles, Pam Humphreys, Beth Mulligan, Suzie Wilkes, Georgina Dalgleish and Kerry Dawkins. Picture: Neil Richardson

UNITED: June Mezger, Helen Dixon, Eve Beecroft, Marg Earles, Pam Humphreys, Beth Mulligan, Suzie Wilkes, Georgina Dalgleish and Kerry Dawkins. Picture: Neil Richardson

Aa

Eight Tasmanian rowers aged 65-plus are off to Melbourne this month.

Aa

Melbourne rowing extravaganza Head of the Yarra is the next challenge for a veteran Tasmanian rowing outfit.

Five rowers and a cox from North Esk Rowing Club and another three from Derwent Mercantile Collegiate will compete in the annual race which takes in 8km of water between Federation Square and Hawthorn Rowing Club.

Trained by Kerry Dawkins, the team of 65 to 70-year-olds will compete for the best time in their division among a field of nearly 300 boats and 2500 athletes on November 30.

Derwent rower Eve Beecroft, who will be joined in the boat by June Mezger, Helen Dixon, Marg Earles, Pam Humphreys, Beth Mulligan, Suzie Wilkes and Georgina Dalgleish, said the team was excited to be part of such a huge event.

ELSEWHERE IN SPORT

GREAT EIGHT: North Esk Rowing Club and Derwent Mercantile Collegiate Rowing Club's composite crew trains on the Tamar ahead of competing in Head of the Yarra. Picture: Neil Richardson

GREAT EIGHT: North Esk Rowing Club and Derwent Mercantile Collegiate Rowing Club's composite crew trains on the Tamar ahead of competing in Head of the Yarra. Picture: Neil Richardson

"We've rowed together for 10 years on and off in Tasmania but also we've rowed many charitable races such as a long distance on the Murray-Darling River," Beecroft said.

"We've rowed together in different combinations at Australian masters championships and we're of the same age.

"Over the years we've been the rowers in Tasmania who've got together no matter where we live to try and row together and believe that keeping your fitness going helps you in a mental and physical way.

"We have a close kinship even though three of the people in that crew live in the South and the rest live in the North - we train regularly going back and forth from one part of the state to the other."

Following the Head of the Yarra, the crew will turn their attention to a familiar regatta - the Australian masters championships.

The April 29 to May 2 championships will be held at Tasmania's Lake Barrington for the second time in three years, and will be anything but a final hurrah for Dawkins' crew.

"We think we're going to row forever really," Beecroft said.

"Right now in international masters races there are people who row in their 90s so it's a fitness that doesn't wear a part of the body out.

"It benefits the whole body and your core muscles in particular are important, so that's an important part of training - we don't just do on water training, we do a lot of cross training."

AS ONE: Suzie Wilkes, Sue Burdach, Marg Earles and June Mezger on the North Esk in 2015.

AS ONE: Suzie Wilkes, Sue Burdach, Marg Earles and June Mezger on the North Esk in 2015.

Beecroft encouraged anyone interested in either taking up, returning to or coaching rowing to get in contact with a nearby club.

"I learned to row late in my life and there might be people in the community that would like to learn to row or return after a school experience," she said.

"There are lots of clubs in Tasmania and all of them would welcome people as a new beginner or a returning rower."

Sign up to our Sport email here.

The story Oar inspiring women tackle Yarra first appeared on The Examiner.

Aa