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18 November 2020
By SARAH MATTHEWS
Horsham’s Maggie Heinrich took up rowing only three years ago and already has her sights set on competing at an elite level.
Maggie, 16, starred at the 2020 Rowing Victoria Schools Ballarat Regatta on November 7, winning a gold medal in record time.
The St Brigid’s College student triumphed in the female open single sculls 1000-metre final, finishing with a time of 3:39 to beat the state time of 4:10.
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Maggie said she was thrilled with her win.
“I’m always very nervous before my races, but once I get there, I just zone out and don’t worry about it,” she said.
The regatta, on Lake Wendouree, was the first Rowing Victoria competition of the season.
Usually open to schools across the state, it was restricted to regional schools this year due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on Melbourne.
Maggie said COVID-safe regulations meant rowers had to remain on the water between heats, semi-finals and finals.
“It was eight degrees but it felt like one degree, it was so cold,” she said.
“We couldn’t go back to the dock – we had to stay on the lake and it was really windy.”
But her discomfort paid off and Maggie is now preparing for a Geelong regatta on Saturday.
The event, on the Barwon River, features school and club events. Outside of school rowing, Maggie competes with Horsham Rowing Club.
“One of mum’s friends is a rower and she asked if I’d like to go down and have a go,” she said.
“But I was too young at the time, as you have to be 13. Once I turned 13, I went down and I just loved it. I’ve been rowing ever since.
“I try to get down to the river to train three times a week. Sometimes work gets in the way but I also like to go early in the mornings. That will get a bit easier as the weather gets warmer.”
Maggie, who is coached by Bruce McInnes, mainly competes in single sculls.
She sometimes competes in pairs and quads competitions and has coxed for masters squads.
Maggie recently started rowing in pairs events with newcomer Anna Sudholz.
Both will compete in Geelong at the weekend.
“I’m also hoping to compete at the Hamilton regatta on December 7 and 8,” Maggie said.
She said she hoped to advance her rowing and had her eye on competing at the Sydney International Rowing Regatta.
The regatta combines Australian Open Rowing Championships, Australia Open School Rowing Championships and the King’s and Queen’s Cups Interstate Regatta.
“One of my goals for the future is to get into state and national rowing teams,” Maggie said.
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