North and South Island Champions Crowned
2,380 of New Zealand’s top club rowers took to the waters of Lake Karapiro and Lake Ruataniwha this weekend to contest the North Island and South Island Club Rowing Championships.
The South Island Club Championships attracted 1339 entrants across eight classes, ranging from under-15 through to masters.
However the weather wreaked havoc with high winds causing a delay to the start of racing on Saturday. On Sunday the winds continued and finals were reduced to 1000m before racing was eventually abandoned just after midday.
Despite the conditions there was some exceptional racing including 17 year old Veronica Wall from Ashburton claiming the open women’s single sculls title with a four second lead over Nicola Baker of the Central Rowing Performance Centre, and Haruna Sakakibara of the Otago University Rowing Club.
Under 23 world champion silver medallist Jack O’Leary took out the men’s open single sculls, five seconds clear of Olympic gold medallist Nathan Cohen and junior world champion Jack Lopas.
A young St Andrews College coxless four gave the Southern Rowing Performance centre crew a run for their money, rowing a gutsy race to claim second ahead of Avon Rowing Club.
Medals for the cancelled events were awarded based on heat times.
Further North 1041 athletes were treated to sunshine, high temperatures and flat water at the North Island Club Championships at Lake Karapiro.
Racing was fast and furious with Olympic athletes lining up alongside club rowers over three days from Saturday to Monday.
The Rowing New Zealand Summer Squad dominated the premier and open class taking home 23 medals across a variety of boat classes.
Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast claimed the women’s pair title with a clear water advantage over Kelsey Bevan and Ruby Tew in silver, and two-time Olympic medallist Rebecca Scown and Kayla Pratt taking bronze.
Lightweight double world champion Zoe McBride proved size was no barrier claiming the women’s single sculls title, while Robbie Manson powered ahead to take the men’s single sculls title comfortably beating John Storey and younger brother Karl Manson.
James Hunter and James Lassche were part of the NZ lightweight men's four that went to Rio. They teamed up to win the premier men's pair in 6:40.69, with Drikus Conradie and Tom Murray second and Isaac Grainger and Shaun Kirkham third.
The lightweight duo then combined with Kirkham and Grainger to win the premier men's four.
The North Island Club Championships at Lake Karapiro doubles as Rowing New Zealand's national small boat regatta.
The regatta is one of the major domestic events of the summer as Rowing NZ's elite push for places in the squad to contest this year's World Cup regattas in Europe and World championships in the USA.
Full results from both regattas can be found at www.rowit.co.nz