The queer Argonauts steer their way to success
This week we meet Melbourne Argonauts Queer Rowing Club.
Thirteen years ago on a train to Geelong, three pioneers of rowing had an idea. Why not start a rowing club for gay and lesbian rowers and their friends, get affiliated with Rowing Victoria, have our own boats and a rowing shed, and then compete around the state, winning medals in the process? And maybe one day, we may even have the chance to compete overseas, if we train hard enough! And of course, have lots of fun with it.
Sounds crazy? Well, it might have all those years ago, but now in 2014, The Melbourne Argonauts Queer Rowing Club has grown from those humble beginnings to achieving much of what it set out to do. Along the way club members, known as ‘Argos’, have certainly made their presence felt through rowing at home and abroad.
Living up to its creed of being a rowing club in the queer community and a queer club in the rowing community, Argo crews are now regularly featuring among the medal winners at rowing competitions throughout the state. Recently, the club was joint host of the annual Albert Park Lake rowing regatta, held in the same venue where the Argos are based. Competition was strong, but Argo crews gave their best, finishing the day with many first and second placings.
[Image] The Argonauts are "well-known and respected" within the rowing community. Photo: Argonauts Facebook page.
Club President Tim Hewitson explains:
“After 13 years, the Argonauts have become a well-known and respected member of the rowing community. We are known for running a strong club, one that gives members the chance to both compete in rowing and also to row for fun and fitness. It’s very important for us to make sure we offer opportunities for both kinds of involvement. Some rowers want to have great experiences in the boat, while others have their sights on winning.”
The club has moved further ahead with realising some more of its goals. Through lots of active fundraising, the club has just purchased two new boats as part of its fleet renewal plan.
Club Captain Andrew Mortiss feels that new equipment is necessary to ensure the Argos keeps pace with other competing clubs.
“Rowing is a great sport, but we always need to keep an eye on the equipment we use and make sure we upgrade when we can. This helps us ensure we have genuine opportunities to compete on an even keel, so to speak, with other clubs”.
All age groups are represented at the Argonauts, as well as a mix of both social and competitive rowers – and the club is always particularly keen to welcome women rowers to its ranks.
[Main image] Argonauts at Footscray Rowing Club 2013
For further information contact club president Tim Hewitson on 0419 105 582. www.melbourneargonauts.com.au