Ashleigh?s success all in a row
By Steve Archbold
There is precious little time to rest when you are a promising young rower.
For Ashleigh Peppernell it is a matter of squeezing every minute possible out of a day for her schoolwork and training program.
For six days of each week, Ashleigh is up at 5.30am and travels to Grafton to train from 6am-7.30am.
When she finishes school, Ashleigh is straight back on the water to train from 5pm-7pm and usually doesn't get home until 8.30pm.
The unassuming 15-year-old, who lives at Arrawarra and attends South Grafton High School, takes it all in her stride, or should they be in her stroke.
Ashleigh's first taste of rowing was to fill in for a quad scull crew at South Grafton High on the request of one of her teachers as the crew was a person short.
She took to rowing like a duck to water and had her first taste of State competition on the weekend.
Her results from the State championship regatta at Penrith were impressive:
n First in the championship schoolgirls coxed quad scull with the South Grafton crew of Melissa Bowling, Jessica Sims, Rebecca Zaffino and cox Steffanee Colgrove.
n First in championship women's under-16 quad scull with Northern Rivers Academy crew.
n Second championship women's under-17 quad scull with Northern Rivers Academy.
n Third women's under-21 quad scull with South Grafton.
n Third under-16 women's single scull.
In what was a hectic schedule, Ashleigh had to leave the podium, change into a racing strip, jump back into the boat and compete for the Northern Rivers Rowing Academy, sometimes with as little as 20 minutes turn around time.
With little time to rest and enjoy her success, Ashleigh will now switch her attention to the national championships which start on Monday.
Her program for the nationals will see her competing in the schoolgirl cox quad, under-17 double scull with Nicole West from Maclean, the under-17 single scull and the under-17 quad scull.
With heats, repechages, semi-finals and finals set down, Ashleigh is sure to face a busy schedule over the five days.