Founded in September 1958, Pine Rivers Rowing Club (PRRC) located at Lake Kurwongbah has defied drought, floods, lake closures due to blue-green algae and lack of funding to become a thriving club poised to realise its full potential.
Affectionately called ‘Pine Rivers’ best-kept secret’ due to both the sport’s and club’s low profile, over the last five years PRRC has been steadily building momentum, with 2018 producing some of the club’s best results yet.
At the 2018 Sydney International Rowing Regatta in March, club members Emma Schmeider and Katherine Lambros won the National Club Women’s Double Scull (2,000m), with Gracie Wasson also making the final. At the 2018 Australian Masters Rowing Championships in May, Glenn Smith stroked the Pine Rivers Composite Men’s Masters D 4x (1,000m) to a Gold medal and represented Queensland in the Men’s Quad in the Interstate event.
“To get three members in the Club Women’s Double Scull final racing against girls who have represented their State and Australia is a great achievement; to win even better,” said Senior Coach Ray Smith.
“Glenn [Smith] was asked only a few weeks before the Masters titles to trial to represent Queensland in the Men’s Quad, who were successful in winning and rowing for Queensland, then won the D class (50yo) National Championship. These results show that constant, hard training pays dividends.”
Boasting one of the best rowing courses in Australia, PRRC is the only rowing club in Brisbane that operates on a lake, offering rowers two well-protected courses rarely affected by wind.
“Many clubs and GPS schools use our facilities to train both their new and senior rowers due to the calm and safe waters of Lake Kurwongbah, and the state rowing team also uses our facilities from time to time,” said PRRC President, Krishna (K.K.) Lakhotia. “We don’t have CityCats, sharks or other marine vessels to worry about, making PRRC a very safe environment to row.”
Like most rowing clubs, PRRC runs a ‘Learn to Row’ program designed to teach those who’ve never rowed before the basic skills. After completion, participants can choose to take on the sport further by becoming a member, and registering with Rowing Queensland as either a competitor or recreational rower. PRRC membership is open to anyone over the age of 13 years.
“As a club we are focused on encouragement, inclusiveness and a friendly atmosphere to encourage everyone to be able to enjoy the sport irrespective of their age, fitness level or rowing ability, unlike other clubs that are heavily focused on competing and winning at regattas,” said K.K.
“We run two to three learn to row courses each year to introduce the sport to newcomers, with each course run over two weekends with four sessions. We also offer trial sessions a number of times throughout the year as part of Council’s various sports programs.”
Partnering with Genesis Christian College in 2016 to commence the school’s rowing program, the squad has blossomed into a thriving youth development program including students from other local high schools.
Coach Keith Watts said, “Our intention is to focus on high schools that are close to PRRC and get them involved, so we can have a Moreton region series that will complement the Gold Coast Region All Schools rowing series where our rowers have competed very successfully, with some now in training for the Queensland Schools Rowing Championship Series.”
With the club’s boat shed at capacity, future growth is dependent on funding for an additional shed and boats.
Marking their 60th anniversary with a Diamond Jubilee Awards Dinner last month, PRRC’s birthday celebrations continue this month at a Diamond Jubilee regatta on September 8, and a barbeque lunch for past and present members on September 9 to mark the club’s foundation day.