A big weekend of racing
The countdown to the 2016 Bankstream New Zealand Rowing Championships is on, with the Cambridge Town Cup and Meridian South Island Rowing Championships both being contested this coming weekend at Lake Karapiro, Cambridge and Lake Ruataniwha, Twizel. Both regattas will provide some top quality racing for rowing clubs and crews ahead of the National Championships.
Lake Ruataniwha will host the South Island Championships this weekend where crews will contest heats on Saturday 30 January and finals on Sunday 31 January. Over the weekend there will be 78 events challenged by 1281 athletes in 1077 crews representing 43 clubs and schools.
A small contingent of New Zealand summer squad athletes will make their way down to race at the South Island Championships including women’s lightweight athletes Jackie Kiddle and Zoe McBride, Anthony Allen and Paddy McInnes from the men’s sweep squad, Holly Greenslade and Ashlee Rowe from the women’s sweep squad while Karl Manson and Giacomo Thomas will represent the men’s sculling squad.
This weekend Lake Karapiro will play host to the Cambridge Town Cup. The event will run over three days with finals to be completed on Sunday 31 January. At the close of entries the 78 events will be challenged by 2273 athletes in 1591 crews from over 50 clubs and schools.
The New Zealand Summer Squad has entered 42 crews to compete at the Cambridge Town Cup over the three-day regatta with men’s open four set to provide some of the most exciting racing. The New Zealand summer squad men’s lightweight four will line up against the Swiss world champions coached by former New Zealand coach Ian Wright. The clash will provide both crews with some competitive racing early in the Olympic year.
There is a large summer squad representation in both the men’s and women’s singles as scullers look towards gaining selection for the chance to race at the Rio Olympic Games. Emma Twigg showed her form at the Karapiro Christmas Regatta and will be looking to continue that form as she works towards her goal of earning selection to attend the qualifying regatta for Rio. Twigg will face four other summer squad scullers including world champions Zoe Stevenson and Eve Macfarlane as well as lightweight world champions Sophie Mackenzie and Julia Edward. Canadian sculler Carling Zeeman and three Swiss lightweight athletes will bring an international flavour to the event. With a large contingent of the men’s sculling squad from the New Zealand Summer Squad taking to the water in singles Mahe Drysdale will also want to put in a dominant performance in the first outing of the Olympic year.
World silver medallists Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast will again be looking to dominate the women’s pair but will face competition from US pair Sara Hendershot and Sarah Zelenka as well as Fiona Paterson and Kelsey Bevan who finished second at the Karapiro Christmas regatta and other New Zealand Summer Squad combinations.
Six time world champions Hamish Bond and Eric Murray will take centre stage in the men’s premier pair in their first hit out of the season. The unbeaten duo will be up against a series of combinations from the men’s eights all of whom finished fourth in the eight at the World Championships this year in Aiguebelette. James Lassche and Jamie Hunter along with Alistair Bond and Curtis Rapley from the men’s lightweight sweep squad will also line up in this event. Other notable entries in the men’s pair are two Swiss lightweight crews and a Chinese pairing racing under Hamilton colours.
World medallists Robbie Manson and Chris Harris are back in their 2015 bronze medal combination to race in the men’s premier double and will line up against four New Zealand Summer Squad crews and a Chinese double from Hamilton Rowing Club.
Current world champions Eve Macfarlane and Zoe Stevenson will be looking to assert their dominance in the premier women’s double with four other doubles from the Summer Squad women’s sculling squad and a Swiss lightweight double also looking to prove their form.
The New Zealand Summer Squad will boat a men’s eight in the open eight and a women’s eight who will race in the men’s open four.
Both regattas are classified as a Rowing New Zealand National Small Boat Regatta at which all trialists must participate in order to qualify for a Rowing New Zealand elite trial.
Combined, the Cambridge Town Cup and South Island Championship regattas will see over 90 clubs and 3554 athletes competing throughout the country this weekend.
The 2016 Bankstream New Zealand Rowing Championships will be held at Lake Karapiro, Cambridge from 16-20 February.
For day sheets and results from the Cambridge Town Cup and the South Island Championships please see RowIT: http://www.rowit.co.nz