These are challenging times for everyone in our sport as we continue to deal with COVID-19. I am extremely proud to see how our community continues to adapt and develop, both on and off the water, to remain active and engaged during these tough times.

I wanted to write to the Australian rowing community to reassure you that we remain committed, with our stakeholders and partners, in delivering the 2021 Australian Rowing Championships (ARC) at the iconic Lake Barrington in Tasmania and the 2021 Australian Masters Rowing Championships (AMRC) at Penrith in New South Wales.

We are currently working through a number of key considerations in order to ensure that the 2021 ARC takes place next year. These unprecedented times mean that as an organisation we have to work through a number of scenarios in order to ensure this event is conducted safely and fairly for all.

With ongoing COVID related uncertainty across Australia there are no guarantees that our National Regattas will proceed exactly as planned, they may have a different look and feel to them to ensure that they are COVID safe. As the Federal and State/Territory Governments continue to direct the response to the COVID pandemic, we are confronted with a very fluid situation not just for rowing but in all aspects of our lives and the broader community. Our intention is to be as transparent as possible regarding the decision making process around the staging of these National Regattas.

I want you, our community, to know that we will be providing monthly updates, and, if required, more regularly in line with Federal and State Government advice, on our plans for the ARC in Tasmania. We will regularly update the Rowing Australia (RA) website with information and will share with the community any planned changes for the ARC as promptly as possible.

Alongside this letter, today we posted to the RA website information relating to how we will assess the ability for national events to be hosted COVID safe. I would like the community to know that we are committed to confirming the status of the 2021 ARC by no later than 18 January 2021 and for the 2021 AMRC by no later than 25 March 2021.

This communication also confirms that RA reserves the right to postpone, relocate or cancel an Australian Championship Regatta should it be necessary due to changing circumstances. This includes, for example, if the Federal or State Government advice, post-Christmas, is that a regatta should not take place on the planned dates, due to further COVID outbreaks over the festive period.

We of course want our regattas to take place at their planned venues on the planned dates, but we also know we need to be agile and ready for the prospect of change due to these extraordinary times. I know we are a community that can adapt to change and challenges, so have every confidence that whatever comes our way, we will meet the task head on.

I would like to take this opportunity to applaud the efforts of Rowing Tasmania CEO Rob Prescott and President Jim Gibson, the team at RA, our army of volunteers, along with our key stakeholder for the 2021 ARC, Events Tasmania, for their ongoing support and hard work in ensuring that our first Nationals outside of Sydney in many years, takes place.

Finally, during these hard times, it has been pleasing this week to hear that rowing can return in Regional Victoria, that Western Australia were able to host their State Championships and there have been unprecedented entries for regattas in Queensland and the ACT – all extremely positive signs for our sport.

We are all in this together and we are always here to respond should the community have any queries about our upcoming events. Stay safe and stay well.

Please click here to view our ARC and AMRC Update as of Friday 25 September.