New champions crowned on final day
Two new single scull national champions were crowned on the final day of racing at the 2017 New Zealand Rowing Championships at Lake Ruataniwha, Twizel.
The weather provided perfect conditions for racing with little to no wind, light cloud cover and slightly cooler temperatures.
Zoe McBride became the second only New Zealand female rower to claim both the premier lightweight and premier heavyweight single sculls title, after Philippa Baker-Hogan first completed the feat in 1987-1988.
The 21 year old from Nelson Rowing Club already has two lightweight single sculls world titles to her name, but had never before won a national open title.
“I was so nervous going into it. I knew it was within my ability to win it, but whether I could perform was the question."
McBride clocked a time of 7:55.03. Her closest rival was Olivia Loe (Southern RPC/Avon Rowing Club) who claimed silver with 7:59.03. Brooke Donoghue of Waikato RPC/Waikato Rowing Club rounded off the podium to take the bronze medal.
For an athlete with some glittering successes to her name, winning a red coat is still a career highlight for McBride.
“I’m super stoked about the red coat. It’s something I’ve wanted to win for so long - so to win it, and to win it in one of the most competitive events is pretty special.”
The men’s premier single sculls event saw another first-time winner, with Robbie Manson of Central RPC/Wairau Rowing Club winning in emphatic style.
Manson looked unmatchable, claiming the title in dominant fashion in a time of 6:59.57, a boat length over silver medallist John Storey (Southern RPC/Avon Rowing Club) and younger brother Karl Manson (Central RPC/Blenheim RC).
Manson has now claimed 11 red coats over his career, but had never won the elusive single sculls title until this year.
“I was pretty nervous beforehand. My plan was to ease into the race a bit which I did, I kept it steady for the first thousand and then drove it home."
From here Manson will be looking to secure his place on the Rowing NZ Elite squad, with triallists being announced in the coming days.
“I guess I’ll see what happens from now. I had my heart set on the single this year but then the double went so well yesterday, I didn’t know how things would go.
“It’s nice to have Karl up there with me too. It’s pretty special to have both of us on the podium.”
Southern RPC claimed the premier women’s eight event with Olympic cox Francie Turner at the helm. Central RPC, coxed by Lucy Bird took silver, and Auckland RPC coxed by Amber Fordham bronze.
Waikato RPC, coxed by Olympic cox Caleb Shepherd flew to victory in the men’s premier eight event in a time of 5:32.85 with Central RPC taking silver, Southern RPC bronze and Auckland RPC slightly off the pace for fourth.
There was an upset in the men’s under-22 double sculls with junior double sculls world champion Jack Lopas and Southern RPC crewmate James Walker forced to settle for silver behind Jordan Parry and Ben van Dalen of Waikato RPC.
The two boats were locked in a side-by-side battle with 500 metres to go, but Parry and van Dalen held their bow in front to snatch the gold medal in a time of 6:46.97, with Lopas and Walker taking silver with 6:48.11 and clear water back to Jack O’Leary and Corbin Porteous of Central RPC in bronze.
The field was tight in the women’s under 19 double sculls with 500 metres to go. A final charge for the line saw Nelson Rowing Club take gold, West End silver, and Avon bronze.
The men’s under 20 double sculls was won by Auckland RPC’s Oliver Maclean and Jonathan Kumarich in a time of 6:48.55 after a classy display of sculling. Sam Monkley and Ben Kirsop of Waikato RPC claimed silver just over one second behind the Auckland crew, while Central RPC’s Riley Bruce and Joseph Graham claimed the bronze medal.
Ashburton sculler Veronica Wall was untouchable in the women’s senior single sculls. The 16 year old won gold in a time of 8:02.37, ten seconds ahead of second place Haruna Sakakibara of Otago University Rowing Club. Kelsi Parker (Waikato RC) outsprinted Anna Delong of North Shore Rowing Club for bronze.
It was anyone’s race with 250 metres remaining in the women’s under-19 coxed four race, with four boats bow to bow across the course. With all four putting in their best sprint there was just over one second separating first and fourth place. Canterbury, coxed by Georgia Scott proved victorious with a time of 7:29.03. Columba College, coxed by Margot Darling crossed the line just one second behind in 7:30.13 and Nelson Rowing Club coxed by Evie Strawbridge a bowball behind in bronze. Waikato Rowing Club, coxed by Caitlin Lawry missed out on a medal placing by less than 0.3 of a second.
Full results from all boat classes can be found at www.rowit.co.nz