Head of the River (New South Wales)

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The Head of the River rowing regatta refers to two New South Wales school rowing competitions, one for boys and one for girls.

AAGPS Head of the River Regatta[edit]

Newington's eight-oar crew, 1932

The AAGPS Head of the River regatta is run by the Athletic Association of the Great Public Schools of New South Wales, and takes place in Penrith, New South Wales, Australia every March at the Sydney International Regatta Centre (SIRC).

From 1893 until 1935, the Regatta was held on the Parramatta River; from 1936 until 1996 on the Nepean River; and since 1996 at the Olympic course. From 1893 until 1909 the race was contested by four-oared boats, and by eight-oared boats since then. Since 1996 the race has been contested over 2000 metres; all previous events were over a mile and a half, except in 1946 and 1947 when the races were over a mile and a quarter. It is the culmination of the GPS (Great Public Schools) rowing season for senior crews, and has been held since 1893. Eight of the nine GPS schools, Sydney Grammar School, The King's School, Newington College, Sydney Boys High School, The Scots College, St. Joseph's College, Saint Ignatius' College and Shore School, send their crews to the Head of the River. One of the most successful coaches of rowing amongst the schools was Robert Buntine at King's and Newington from 1966 until 1996.[1]

1934 victorious 1st VIII crew from Sydney Grammar

The race is held over 2000m. It is the last race of the official GPS rowing season, following on from the Riverview Gold Cup held on the Lane Cove River. The Head of the River is one week after other summer sports premierships - cricket and basketball - have finished. This enables over ten thousand school students and other supporters to attend. However, in 2008, the Head of the River was held on Wednesday, with all GPS schools given Thursday off as a students' holiday due to a booking by NSW Kayak Association on the Saturday.

The current (SIRC) record time (and former junior world record until 2001) for the 1st VIII is 5:42.6 set by Shore on 23 March 1996.[citation needed] The most recent winner of the AAGPS Head of the River, and holder of the Major Rennie Trophy is Shore School , winning the regatta in 2016 taking the trophy back.

Regatta winners[edit]

Since 2009 the regatta consists of eleven races.

Year 2000 and onwards[edit]

In 2001, the following four races were added to the regatta. These are held before the IVs and the 2nd and 1st VIII race.

The current (SIRC) record time for the 1st Year 10 VIII is 6:08.90 set by the Shore School on 12 March 2016.

Due to an unprecedented depth in the number of junior rowers, the 4th Year 10 VIII race was added to the regatta in 2009.