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Balmain, NSW Australia

1 July 2007
First Para-Rower Joins BRC
The program had its origins from 2007 when a young man who had lost both legs due to meningococcal contacted Balmain Rowing Club and asked to be taught to row.
1 July 2007
2008
First Para-Athlete Trials for Paralympic Selection
Keith Swanson, men's coach at Balmain trains its first Para Rower. Balmain Rowing Club's first para-athlete invited to trial for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.
2008
2010
Second Para-Rower Joins BRC
In 2010 a young man, who had sustained a traumatic brain injury and physical injuries as a result of a car accident, participated in the Balmain Rowing Club’s ‘Learn to Row’ course. His GP had suggested that rowing might aid his rehabilitation. The Program's co-founders, Anne, Barbara and Liam volunteered to continue coaching him after the initial introductory course and hence began the para-rowing program.
2010
February 2011
First State and National Medals
Balmain's Para-Rower achieves 2 silver medals in the LTA Men's Single and Double Sculls, and the same results at the Australian National Championships
February 2011
February 2012
First Titles
Balmain takes home the gold in the LTA Men's Single and Double Sculls at the State Championships, and Gold in the single at the Australian National Championships.
February 2012
October 2013
Head of the Charles Success
Balmain completes an incredibly successful campaign to win the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, USA, defeating the local USA crew.
October 2013
4 June 2014
Para Program formally Incorporates
After operating for a number of years as an informal program of Balmain Rowing Club, the Balmain Para-Rowing Program formally incorporates as an association, to enable it to raise funds for the upcoming Head of the Charles Regatta, and continue to support para-rowers on an ongoing basis.
4 June 2014
October 2014
Return to the Head of the Charles
Balmain returns to the Head of the Charles with a new crew, and races strongly against a USA all-star boat out for revenge - after an incredibly strong race, the BRC boat comes second by only a few seconds.
October 2014
March 2015
3 + cox > 4 + cox!
Ably coxed by resident coxswain Nell Duly, and crewed by Jeremy McGrath, Kevin Wall and Nepean rower Kate Murdoch, the Balmain / Nepean composite boat achieves a stunning win at the Australian National Championships with three rowers in the boat after its fourth member, Narelle Burnside, falls ill shortly before the regatta.
March 2015
July 2016
Para Program exceeds 20 members
The Program welcomes its 20th member to be supported by the program.
July 2016
November 2016
First Crews at the Yarra
Balmain makes history as para-rowers from all across the country come together to form the first LTA Mix 8+ to race at the Head of the Yarra. A second Para crew also races in the Men's category, demonstrating the depth of talent and community in para-rowing.
November 2016
7 September 2016
Representation at Rio
Rower Jeremy McGrath rejoins his racing partner Kate in the Australian Rowing Team's LTA Mix 4+ Paralympic Entry, winning the B final at the Rio Paralympics.
7 September 2016
23 May 2018
Amy Large Volunteers of the Year
The Balmain Para-Rowing Program is named the 2018 Amy Large Volunteer Team and overall volunteers of the year by Inner West Council and Mayor Darcy Byrne.
23 May 2018
17 OCtober 2018
Program Christens New Fleet
The Para Program takes possession of a new fleet of boats from Resolute Adaptive and Swift Rowing, ensuring our athletes have the best possible equipment to compete in at their upcoming competitions.
17 OCtober 2018
15 September 2018
James Talbot and Crew Race World Championships
Australia's PR3 Mixed 4+ with James Talbot achieve a 5th place in the A Final of the PR3 Mix 4+ at the World Championships
15 September 2018
June 2019
First Competitor at Henley Women's Regatta
Ruby Sutherland competed in the Henley Women’s Regatta, the premier regatta for women in the UK in June 2019. After only two days of training on the difficult course on the River Thames, Ruby faced the competition and rowed a very competitive race.
June 2019
July 2019
Para Program Exceeds 40 members
The Program welcomes its 40th member to come through its doors.
July 2019
October 2019
Global Games Blitz
Coach Barbara, and rowers Lauren, Bronte, Ellie, Ruby and Nikolai and former members Stephanie, Will and Julia (together with Coaches Michael and Kathleen and rowers Mac and Aaron) blitz the 2019 INAS Global Games in Brisbane as Australia's representatives in this global event.
October 2019
28 April 2020
Leichhardt Park Project Supported by Council
The Para-Program's 'Community Rowing Club' initiative gains steam with the determination by Inner West Council to seek ministerial approval of the Leichhardt Park Masterplan, including an all important recommendation for the inclusion of a new fully-accessible boatshed in the masterplan.
28 April 2020
April 2020
Indoor World Records
Para Rowers Jack Calderan, Lauren Webber and Tahli Hind make history with Australian and World Records during the Program's Indoor isolation program while in quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic
April 2020
November 2019
First Non-Composite Eight at Yarra
The First all-Balmain eight races at the Head of the Yarra - the first non-composite para crew to race the event.
November 2019

THE BEGINNING

Head of the Charles CrewThe program had its origins from 2007 when a young man who had lost both legs due to meningococcal contacted Balmain Rowing Club and asked to be taught to row.
Mens’ coach Keith Swanson agreed to coach Matthew and this led to Matthew being our first para athlete being invited to trial in 2008 for selection for the Paralympics. This was followed in 2010 when a young man, who had sustained a traumatic brain injury and physical injuries as a result of a car accident, participated in the Balmain Rowing Club’s ‘Learn to Row’ course. His GP had suggested that rowing might aid his rehabilitation. This proved to be the case from both the physical and social perspective. Barbara Ramjan, Liam James and Anne Craig volunteered to continue coaching him after the initial introductory course and hence began the para-rowing program.

TODAY

AS Para Rower Racing The Program has had many participants since its inception and each participant has come with their own special needs. We are an inclusive and diverse team and are always keen to work with new athletes regardless of their experience or disability. Para-Rowers are classified into one of three categories depending on their disability:
  1. PR3 / LTA- rowers with a verifiable and permanent impairment who have functional use of their legs, trunk and arms for rowing and who can use a sliding seat to propel the boat, eg. the impairment may typically involve an amputation, vision impairment, intellectual impairment, or another condition such as Cerebral Palsy.
  2. PR2 / TA – rowers with a verifiable and permanent impairment who have functional use of the trunk but are unable to use the sliding seat to propel the boat because of significantly weakened function or mobility of the lower limbs. eg bilateral around knee amputation, significantly impaired quadriceps, Cerebral Palsy, paraplegia
  3. PR1 / AS – rowers with a verifiable and permanent impairment who have minimal or no trunk function eg. Cerebral Palsy or paraplegia.
Rowing Australia and Rowing NSW are continually directing interested person to the Program. The Program has, at the request of Rowing Australia and Rowing NSW, held “Try Rowing” days for persons with disabilities, making contact with disability organisations eg Vision Australia, Cerebral Palsy Association.