SCHOOL rowing pride will be on the line for Scotch Oakburn, Launceston Church Grammar and St Patrick's College today at the independent schools' Head of the River at Lake Barrington.
Scotch Oakburn and Grammar will enter the regatta as defending champions in the boys and girls' eights respectively.
Scotch Oakburn director of rowing Sam Nugteren was confident heading into the two-day event.
``Our girls' first eight has demonstrated steady improvement over the season,'' Nugteren said.
``At the recent Launceston and Henley regatta they achieved their best result of the season thus far.
``At the North-West schools regatta, our boys' eight narrowly came second to the Hutchins crew, but had a disappointing race at the Launceston and Henley regatta. However, since then, the boys have been training really well.
``They will again be going in as underdogs to the Hutchins crew. Last year's crew were also viewed as underdogs, but ended up winning comfortably.
``This certainly demonstrates that if they row well on Saturday, anything can happen.''
Grammar headmaster Stephen Norris believed it would be a great day for his school.
``Grammar has had a great season with all rowers improving as individuals and as members of their crews,'' Norris said.
``Whilst emphasis is placed on the senior eights races in which I know both Launceston Grammar crews will put everything on the line and give an impressive account of themselves, the SATIS Head of the River regatta allows all rowers to strive for their best whilst competing at an outstanding world-class venue.''
Meanwhile, rowing co-ordinator Steph Wogowitsch said St Patrick's, which will have just a boys' eight crew competing, is ``hoping and praying'' for a placing.
``That would be amazing for St Pat's, as we haven't had one for a few years,'' Wogowitsch.
``We've got a good lot of boys, who were fairly surprised with themselves after the North-West schools regatta, and I think that has given them motivation ahead of the Head of the River.''
The crew will wear black armbands for former school rower Katelyn Taylor, who drowned in Queensland.