By Daniel Moloney Loreto College secured an historic first Head of the Lake win on Sunday. While the drama of the Boys’ Head of the Lake dominated the following hours, leading to a re-row of their event yesterday (Wednesday), nothing can take away from the dominance of the Loreto crew. In front of about 3000 people, the Loreto College crew of Grace Hoffmann, Ella Higgins, Laura Foley, Molly Grech, cox Madelyn Rothe and coach Barry Halshall, ended a 25-year dominance of the race by Ballarat Grammar and Ballarat Clarendon College. Loreto College Rowing Co-ordinator Nathan Sims told The Miner that a culture that celebrated personal bests as much as race wins had led to the school’s rapid success in just 10 years of competition. The school has grown from being the minnow on the lake to a giant, winning 10 of the 15 female races on offer to also claim the Girls’ Premiership title. “We race the clock rather than the other schools these days,” Mr Sims said. “In the early years we used to worry about how good (Ballarat Clarendon) College and Grammar were, but now it’s about instilling some belief in the girls to be the best they can be.”
Loreto’s Open Division 1 crew lived up to their pre-race favouritism and maintained their unbeaten record this year, finishing in a time of 7.43.91 minutes. New contender Damascus College placed second in the Girls’ Head of the Lake, shaking the dominance of the more established schools, and will likely take confidence from how quickly Loreto has grown through the ranks. Ballarat Clarendon College rounded out the placings, with Ballarat Grammar fourth and Ballarat High fifth. In the junior and open girls’ events, while Loreto won most races, Ballarat High and Ballarat Grammar secured two wins each and Ballarat Clarendonhad one win.