Marburg keeps an eye on lake

CHECKING ON PROGRESS: Olympic and world championship rowing silver medallist James Marburg at Lake Wendouree yesterday. Picture: Lachlan BenceOLYMPIC and world championship silver medallist James Marburg can hardly wait for rowing to return to Lake Wendouree.Marburg is proud to see a strong fleet of Ballarat crews making their mark on the nationals each year – and does not want to see that talent pool “dry up”.He was back in the St Patrick’s College boat shed yesterday, the place where he learnt to row, helping a new generation of oarsmen.”Everyone in rowing is keen to see rowing here. Ballarat has a great talent pool … a lot of people don’t understand how many rowers in the national team first learnt how to row in Ballarat,” Marburg said.”We need these guys (St Pats) and all school rowers to step up and take rowing to the next level when they finish school in Melbourne or wherever they go to uni.”I encourage them to take up the oar.”They can have a big impact on rowing.”Marburg last rowed in a regatta on Lake Wendouree about five years ago and was a member of St Pat’s firsts in 2000, finishing second to Ballarat High School in Head of the Lake.He made his Olympic debut in Beijing last year, winning silver in the Australian men’s lightweight coxless four.Marburg, 26, is among an impressive list of national squad rowers who learnt their trade on Lake Wendouree, including Wendouree-Ballarat’s Emily Martin, former Ballarat Clarendon College crew-mate Sarah Heard, gold medal coach Chris O’Brien, four-time Olympian Anthony Edwards and Ballarat Grammar’s Tom Swan, who hails from Albury.He hoped that with more water on the lake, Ballarat would continue to shape the Rowing Australia fraternity.Marburg keeps a close eye on the water levels when he returns home to family in Ballarat and was pleased to see the city making the most of conditions and improving the course.Dredging works are complete at the start and finish lines to gradually bring Lake Wendouree back in line with national rowing standards.But he was still sad to see the almost swamp-like conditions of the lake bed.”It’s pretty disappointing,” Marburg said.”My parents live near Ballarat City Rowing and I used to spend a lot of time rowing or running about the lake.”You can fully appreciate how much the lake was to the central heart of the city, not just for rowing but all sports.”You always appreciate what you had when it’s gone.”
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