Northern Tasmania rowers proved they were worth a $300,000 investment during a friendly rivalry race against their southern counterparts on Saturday.
The University of Tasmania vice-chancellor’s North v South rowing race was held on the Tamar River with teams of men and women from the North and South, as well as Scotch Oakburn competing.
Both the mens and womens teams from the North swept the pool, winning their respective races.
Race day was also the scene for UTAS vice-chancellor Rufus Black to announce a $300,000 investment in rowing in the North.
The Tasmania University Boat Club will be expanding and will establish a boat shed for Northern rowing students in Launceston.
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The funds will be used to purchase boats, safety and training equipment, tinnies, trailers and storage containers.
“We are aware of the strong heritage rowing has in Tasmania and are very excited to support the expansion of opportunities for the sport in Launceston,” Professor Black said.
Professor Black said rowing had always been a popular pastime for university students and expanding the boat club to the North would enhance the region’s student experience.
“The North is better positioned to capitalise from that, with the new campus and the river being so close,” Professor Black said.
An interim boat shed will be established near the Silo Hotel, on land owned by Launceston developer Errol Stewart.
However, a more permanent location is expected to be established in a location with Rowing Tasmania east of the temporary site on the old Boral site.
TUBC president Mick Casey said the Northern arm of the club was now open to accept members.
“We are really trying to push that we’re one university, one team, and this will help that,” he said.
“The university is serious about developing rowing in Launceston.”
Head coach Mark Stott said Launceston and the North had a lot of untapped rowing potential.
“The rowers are here, we just haven’t had the facilities in the past.”
Mr Stott said the Tamar River was an ideal training ground, because it was a long, flat stretch of water.
He said once the rowing shed was complete, he anticipated the university would hold training camps in the North, because of the river.
The rowing shed is anticipated to be developed in 12 months, subject to development approvals.
The race is hosted by the University, Rowing Tasmania and the Tasmania University Union.