Published on May 14, 2023

It’s 5:30am on a foggy Monday morning at the HVGS Rowing Complex on the Hunter River. Slowly, students start to arrive with an excited electric energy in the air. Today, it’s rowing practise for the “Boys Squad”.

By the time the sun has shimmied above the horizon, our students have already prepared their boats, and set off on the river to begin their practise.

HVGS Director of Rowing, Rowan Hislop is here too. He’s supervising the students and ensuring the right form and stroke is being followed. Not to be left out, Darrel (his sidekick puppy) sits safely on the shore and watches the rowers glide through the water like magic. The Rowing Program at HVGS has gone from strength to strength under Rowan’s leadership and this year had tremendous success at Nationals, including Year 11 student Harrison winning first place.

Rowing success is important; but so are the secondary benefits. It is a fantastic cardiovascular workout for students, but where the sport truly shines is in other areas that may not be as well known. Studies have shown that students who participate in team sports perform better in core subjects such as Math, Science, English and more.

According to Educational Psychologist Herbet W Marsh, “High school student-athletes have also self-reported higher education aspirations, diligence in homework completion, and lower absenteeism, compared to students that do
not participate in sports”. Studies such as Herbet’s, are anecdotally reinforced every year as our staff bear witness to improved capacity to focus and retain information consistently.

“Rowing also builds friendships. Vaughn (Year 10) and Hayden (Year 11) did not know each other before they joined the rowing squad now, they are the best of friends who have bonded from their joint contribution to the Rowing squad.”

Students’ connection to the rowing program also continues after they leave us. HVGS alumni James Patton and Molly Walkerden arriving early in the mornings to assist with coaching current students.

As the sun begins to rise into the sky, the students conclude today’s practice and return to base, showering off in the school facilities, feeling refreshed, clear-minded and happy after a morning full of exercise and laughs with their teammates.


  • Harrison contested the Interstate PR3 single on behalf of NSW, taking the GOLD medal for NSW and HVGS.
  • Men’s Under 17 Double Scull pairing Luke P and Vaughn H achieved another national GOLD medal!
  • Men’s Under 17 Single, Luke P won Silver, and Vaughn H placed 6th! This was the only program with two students making the final!
  • Year 10 boys, Luke P and Vaughn H combined forces with Essendon Rowing Club and Bundaberg Rowing under the coxing of Moira G to achieve second place in the Under 17 Quad, earning a SILVER medal!
  • Schoolboy quad of Harrison N, Max B, Vaughn H, Hayden W and Cox Moira G contested the B Final placed second.
  • Men’s Under 21 Lightweight Single, Hayden W placed 6th in the B final – at just 16 years old!
  • Schoolgirl quad of Samantha C, Sienna Mc, Millie D, Annabella T and Oliver W contested the C final placed 6th.
  • HVGS finished 13th on the medal tally amongst 175 programs at the championships, the second-placed school in gold medals and equal first in total medals (excluding our gold in the Interstate Regatta).