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Young rowers eyeing up National Championship success

  • 13 Feb 17

New Zealand’s top young rowers will be eyeing the opportunity to secure national titles at the 2017 New Zealand Rowing Championships in Twizel this week.

The national championships sees over 700 rowers from around the country competing over five days from Tuesday to Saturday on Lake Ruataniwha.

The regatta includes 72 events for club rowers from novice grade through to premier. The largest number of entries comes in the men’s club single sculls event, with 61 athletes entered while the premier class features top rowers including Olympians, world champions and Olympic hopefuls.

With headline names such as Hamish Bond, Eric Murray, Mahe Drysdale and Emma Twigg all taking time off following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games the battle will be on for up and coming rowers to claim the limelight.

Two-time world champion lightweight single sculler Zoe McBride will be hunting gold in both the premier lightweight women’s single sculls and premier women’s single sculls. In the lightweight event she will be lining up against under-23 lightweight double sculls world champion Jackie Kiddle and silver medallist Lucy Jonas while in the heavyweight event Lucy Spoors, Olivia Loe and young Ashurton rower Veronica Wall of famed Aon Maadi Cup success will ensure a tough race.

Olympian Robbie Manson (Central RPC/Wairau Rowing Club) and brother Karl Manson (Central RPC/Blenheim Rowing Club) will face off in the men’s premier single sculls, with competition including fellow Olympians John Storey and Chris Harris.

The absence of the infamous ‘kiwi pair’ Hamish Bond and Eric Murray won’t dampen the racing in the men’s premier coxless pair event with five crews chasing medals including lightweight rower James Lassche and George Howat of the Southern RPC, as well as Paddy McInnes and Anthony Allen of the Waikato RPC.

The women's club eight is also set to be a race to watch. With only 0.46 seconds separating the North Shore and West End crews at North Island Champs these Auckland clubs will be seeking to get one over their cross town neighbours. While in the south Island the Otago University crew will be out to upset the Aucklanders.

61 entries in the men's club single sculls make this one of the largest field in a New Zealand Rowing Championships in recent history and double the number that entered this event in 2015, and an increase from 43 in 2016. With the weather meaning that the final could’t be run, times were used and Wairau’s Tristan Gregory – Hunt won, followed by Dunstan Arm’s Simon Smith. In a head to head the result may be different. From the North Island West End’s Tim Pearce, Clifton’s Manawa McLaughlin were chased home by Waikato’s Mark Parry. In a return to rowing, Waikato’s Ben Norling would also be worth watching. With such a large field every race will be critical to progress to the next round

Racing will also be tight in the novice, and senior grades with large entries across events.

The regatta will begin on Tuesday morning with heats, followed by semi-finals and finals on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Full entries and live results can be viewed online at www.rowit.co.nz