Caitlin tests new rowing waters

Caitlin Hockings always had the perfect seat in the boat to channel her passion for rowing into a future career as a coach.

“Once you get into the rowing boat and get everyone rowing at the same time it’s something really magical about that feeling and something you’ll never forget,’’ Caitlin said.

A successful coxswain at school, State, national and international levels, Caitlin has never looked back on rowing since she first started in Year 8 after a friend suggested she give the sport a go.

In 2022, Caitlin is looking forward to her new role as Head of Rowing at The Rockhampton Grammar School.

“The Rockhampton job is a great stepping-stone and a great opportunity,” Caitlin said.

“The programme is fantastic. John (Smyth) has set it up really well and the kids have been fantastic. They are willing to get in and give it a go.”

Since graduating from Brisbane Girls Grammar School in 2015, Caitlin already has a wealth of experience to share with the RGS rowing community.

Caitlin gained selection as a coxswain in the Australian U21 women’s team in 2017 and later with the Australian men’s team in 2019, coxing the boat which won a gold medal at the U23 World Championships.

“It was the best experience to represent my country. It was also interesting to see how different it was between the men’s and women’s teams,’’ Caitlin said.

“It was a goal ever since I started rowing in Year 8, to represent my country, and so the excitement and the support was what I was expecting.”

And just like Caitlin did as a Year 8 student, RGS rowers also have to start somewhere when they enter the new sport.

“Come down and give it a try. Once you get out in the boat you’ll love it,’’ Caitlin said.

“It’s about having fun and working on that participation. If you enjoy yourself down here at the river the results will come.”

Caitlin remembers the “small and light” Year 8 student who first arrived at the rowing sheds at Brisbane Girls Grammar School and was told she could cox – immediately handed the duties to steer the boat and give vital calls to the crews.

“I continued coxing up until Year 10 but I said I also wanted to have a go at rowing so I started rowing at the Toowong Rowing Club. I was coached by Tom Jack, who has since passed away, but he taught me everything I needed to know about rowing and how to row. He was also a great cox,’’ Caitlin said.

“I certainly wasn’t very good at the start (with the rowing) but I’m pretty nifty now.”

While enjoying the opportunity to row in the boat, Caitlin also well knows the importance of being the cox in a crew.

“It takes a special person,’’ Caitlin said.

“Everyone is always watching you and you’re giving commands to the crew. It’s pretty daunting because you’re on show, the coach is watching you and the rowers are judging you.

“You have to take it in your stride and every session is a learning experience. You have to be looking forward to that – to improving your calls and your steering.”

Having been an “in-boat” coach since Year 8, Caitlin believes the role of cox and coaching “go hand-in-hand”.

Having previously coached rowing at Brigidine College in Brisbane, Caitlin is also looking forward to teaching Health and Physical Education at RGS this year.

Once you get into the rowing boat and get everyone rowing at the same time it’s something really magical about that feeling and something you’ll never forget.”Caitlin Hockings