Rowing in Melbourne

Words Hugo van de Graaf

I arrived in Melbourne three months ago for a rowing program and I can honestly say that it is the greatest adventure of my life.

I have been rowing since the age of 11 and practicing it seriously for the past few years. Coming to Melbourne, I was searching for a good environment where I could improve as quickly as possible - and that is exactly what I found here. I joined Mercantile Rowing Club where I started training with the U21 group.

The rowing community in Melbourne is very exciting and very different compared to what I had back in Switzerland. Most of the club sheds are located on the same road along the Yarra River so you get the chance to interact not only with the club members but also with rowers from other clubs. Everyone at Mercs was really welcoming and nice to me when I arrived and I got to forge great friendships with a lot of the rowers.

I also got to discover the city of Melbourne and the area I live in. I love living in the suburb South Yarra because I have everything I need around me and I am only 15 minutes away from my rowing club. Luckily, I had the idea to bring my bike with me. I use it to go everywhere which is extremely convenient.

Training is awesome here. I train twice a day, Monday through Saturday and a least once a day on the water - which I am not able to do back in Geneva.

The Yarra river is a perfect spot to row because we can go on the water almost every day. As part of training, I attended two of the club’s rowing camps where the training and spirit were exhilarating. During these camps, I got to discover some of the different rowing spots in Victoria like Nagambie or the Tamboo river in Johnsonville.
One of my first races here was the Head of the Yarra which is an 8.6k race up the Yarra River and one of the most popular races in Australia. The Event was very impressive with over 200 8+ boats racing up the river. I raced with the U23, we ended up 6th overall and 1st in our category which was a great feeling. The overall ambiance of that day will be a long-lasting memory.

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