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Rowing NZ Update

  • 15 Mar 19

The sporting landscape is ever-changing both domestically and abroad, and Rowing NZ must continue to evolve to remain competitive at an international level.

2019 will see changes at an organisational and athlete level, and also sees the first time that athletes based overseas will represent New Zealand.

Rowing NZ Chief Executive Simon Peterson made the following announcements earlier this week at Lake Karapiro.

Rowing NZ Staff

We are pleased to confirm Judith Hamilton as GM Performance (formerly HP Director) through to Dec 2020; Judith has provided a positive and consistent transition in the HP Leadership team over the term of her interim appointment. That consistency and leadership is set to continue through the Olympic Qualification year and into the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

We are proud to announce Tony O’Connor has been appointed as the men’s eight coach for the 2019 international season.

Tony has a strong rowing career with significant international experience, including competing for Ireland at two Olympic Games, 5 medals at the World Rowing Championships in the men’s lightweight pair, and a record for the most senior Irish Rowing Championship wins. Tony and rowing partner Neville Maxwell have also previously held the World Best Time in the men’s lightweight pair, a record set in 1994.

Tony later represented Ireland as part of their coaching team, coaching crews to the World Rowing Championships in 2003 and the Athens 2004 Olympics, and more recently coached the Rowing NZ Junior men’s four ahead of the 2017 World Rowing Junior Championships, where his crew took Silver.

Coaching with Christ’s College in Christchurch 2005 – 2012 and 2015 until present, Tony is preparing crews for the Aon Maadi Cup alongside his housemaster and teaching responsibilities, and will join Rowing NZ in early April for the duration of the international season.

After 6 years with Rowing NZ Noel Donaldson has decided to resign as the Men’s Head Coach and will leave Rowing New Zealand at the end of the Summer Squad training, on 28 March. With a new General Manager Performance and a new Men’s 8 coach being appointed, and the changes that these appointments bring with them, now is a good time for Noel to pass on the baton in time for the teams to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics.

Rowing NZ has continued to evolve its high performance programme to meet the demands of international competition. Noel has made a significant contribution during that time, and has identified during the refresh in the men’s programme, that now is the right time for him to leave the programme.

In addition to the number of medals that the teams he has coached have won, Noel’s major success has been with the Kiwi Pair of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond in their unbeaten run between 2013 and the Olympic Gold medal in 2016. He has also helped bring the younger sweeps through the program and also coached the Men’s Eight in Rio. More recently he has coached Robbie Manson in the Single Scull to multiple World Cup success and a world best time and the new versions of the Men’s Pair.

Noel leaves in the knowledge that there are exciting times ahead for the athletes in their run up to the Tokyo Olympics. He will be watching their progress with a keen interest.

Lillian Morton has resigned from her position as HPSNZ Performance Nutritionist. Lillian’s support of Rowing NZ’s U23 and Elite team over the past 2 years has being greatly appreciated by athletes and staff alike, and Lillian leaves HPSNZ on 5 April with Rowing NZ’s best wishes for her future.

Rowing NZ Athletes

Pursuant to rule 13.3.1 of Rowing NZ Selection Policy, Rowing NZ have selected the U23 men’s double scull (BM2x) for the 2019 World Rowing U23 Championships in Sarasota, USA. Jack Lopas (Yale University) and Ollie MacLean (University of California, Berkeley) will represent New Zealand in July after continuing their training in the USA in the lead up to the event. Lopas and MacLean will be the first crew to represent New Zealand whilst training outside of the Gallagher High Performance Centre at Lake Karapiro.

Jack and Ollie have shown incredible drive to meet their rowing ambitions alongside their university studies abroad. Each athlete has maintained constant communication with Rowing NZ since their departure for the USA, and accepted invitations to training camps based in New Zealand at Rowing NZ’s Gallagher High Performance Centre during breaks from their studies. Competing in the men’s double scull over the New Zealand summer season and achieving significant results, Jack and Ollie have also provided Rowing NZ with a clear plan of their training commitments in the lead up to Sarasota, and provided reassurance in their ability to train and perform in international competition.

Rowing NZ continue to be incredibly impressed with their approach, their attitudes and their solutions based communication. Their selection does not reflect a change in Rowing NZ policy, rather acknowledges that solutions can be found when backed by proactive planning and communication.