Final day of the BankLink New Zealand Rowing Championships
The rowing community had the privilege of the Governor General of New Zealand, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae's attendance at the 2013 BankLink New Zealand Rowing Championships where he watched and show support for those racing in the rowing finals racing at Lake Ruataniwha.
Avon Rowing Club dominated the Men's and Women's Novice Eights. The strength of the clubs programme across all classes of the eight-oared event was a positive way to celebrate after the region remembered those lost to the earthquakes just two years ago. Avon claimed Gold and Bronze in the Men's Novice eights race while the Women's Novice Eight was won by Avon Rowing Club, Rangiruru College second and Petone in their bright fluro yellow club colours came in third. Avon also came away with a bronze in the Women's Club eight, and their Women's Senior Eight got silver just ahead of a North Shore eight which was gaining on them every stroke in the last hundred metres of the race, North Shore were a boat canvas back for bronze. Avon's Men's Senior eight just missed on the bronze medal as Auckland Grammar made a big charge for the line.
Men's Premier Single was won by Olympic double sculls champion Nathan Cohen from Southern RPC took out the title for the second time in a time of 6:57.76. Michael Arms placed second ahead of Robbie Manson in third. There was only .14 of second between second and third and just over a half a second between first and third. Cohen said "It was a fast pace out there. I wanted to get to a good level to seal my place in the New Zealand squad. Today was a good start, I wanted to make sure I was competitive. Mahe Drysdale and Rob Waddell have dominated this race for a decade and a half, so it is nice to be in that company."
Cohen also stated his desire to be selected in the quadruple sculls, and that the close results in this single sculls event were a good sign of the potential of that sculling boat for New Zealand in years to come.
Drysdale watching the race from the sidelines said "from my perspective it was one of the most exciting singles sculls races I have seen in the sport. It was especially thrilling for guys like Michael Arms who are coming up to a world class level. Sculling is looking strong for the crew boats going forward."
Drysdale watched the Men's Premier Single Sculls race with The Governor General of New Zealand, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae. The Governor General presented the medals for the race.
Auckland RPCs Emma Twigg has dominated the Women's Premier Single race since 2009, and won her fifth consecutive championship title in 2013. Twigg said "the race was pretty satisfying, I got a good start and then everything just ticked along nicely. I've only been back training in the single for a couple of weeks, but have been training in the pair in Auckland with Rebecca Scown. I believe I have put my best foot forward ahead of trials."
Men's Club Double Sculls was lead right from the start by Blenheim Rowing Club, Hauraki Plains and Otago went hard at them to take the gold, but they drifted back off the pace slightly to place second and third respectively. Waihopai in the outside lane were a close fourth, only .18 seconds off getting a medal.
The Southern RPC led the Women's Premier Eight right from the start and looked powerful and comfortable winning by a boat length, Central which was stroked by Rebecca Scown lifted the rating in an attempt to gain on them, but they were only ever going to be racing for the silver. Waikato were third. Two red coats were awarded to Lucy Strack and Kristen Froude.
The Men's Premier Eight was won by Southern RPC in a time of 5:40.77. They held the Alan Boykett Memorial Trophy aloft on the medal dias proudly The trophy takes the form of a wood carving in the shape of a coxswain in remembrance of Alan Boykett who was a New Zealand representative coxswain who tragically drowned in Wellington Harbour in 1968. Red coats were also awarded to Armin Svoboda Jnr, Jared Glue, Mark O'Connor and coxswain Sam Bosworth with loud cheers from the crowd.
The Boss Rooster trophy was defended successfully by Waikato in the Premier Coxed Fours event. Three members of the crew were presented with a red coat for their first New Zealand championship title they were coxswain Ivan Pavich and rowers Evan Kennedy and Patrick McInnes. The Boss Rooster trophy is one of the oldest trophies contested at the BankLink New Zealand Rowing Championships but only two crews will race it off for the glory of repainting the rooster in their club colours, Waikato beat Wairau by a boat length and didn't need to repaint the trophy as Waikato won it in 2012.
Alan Cotter, High Performance Manager for Rowing New Zealand at the conclusion of the 2013 BankLink New Zealand Championships said "It has been especially exciting in the U20 and U22 ages group to see the young talent coming up the ranks. The close competition shows us there is a lot of depth in New Zealand rowing and it is an exciting prospect for our selectors leading into the next Olympic cycle."
At the end of racing awards were presented by the Governor General including the Centennial Oar which was won by Avon Rowing Club and the Centennial sculls won by Hawkes Bay Rowing Club. These trophies are awarded to New Zealand club crews in all events at the BankLink New Zealand Rowing Championships for the most points in the sweep or sculling events.
John Wylie, Manager of Canterbury Rowing Association commented proudly on Avon Rowing Club winning the Centennial Oar saying "Rowing is a sport that teaches resilience and it's gratifying to see not only the physical aspects such as boat sheds being renewed but our rowers have had to respond to the challenges they have faced and have done it in a magnificent manner at these championships."
The Hallyburton Johnstone Rose Bowl trophy for the eight-oared events was won by Canterbury Rowing Association.
"Winning this has come about through the depth of the sport in Canterbury. Without our schools underpinning the club in club colours this may not have been possible." Said John Wylie, Manager of Canterbury Rowing Association on being the strongest region in the eight-oared boats and therefore winning the Rose Bowl.
Calvin Ferguson was named Coach of the Year for making the most significant contribution to the standard of rowing in New Zealand in the past twelve months. He was presented the Lud Brooker Memorial Salver. Ferguson coached the New Zealand Olympic Double Sculls Champions, Joseph Sullivan and Nathan Cohen and the men's lightweight double sculls bronze medalists.
Male Rower of the Year was awarded to Nathan Cohen who was judged to have achieved the highest standard of rowing and record of performance for the year. Cohen has been acknowledged for his success in the double sculls at the London 2012 Olympic Games and for the gold medals in the men?s premier single sculls and the men?s premier quadruple sculls at these Championships.
There were two athletes named for Female Rower of the Year. It was shared by team mates from the U23 World Rowing Championships Kelsey Bevan and Kayla Pratt who won gold in the women's pair. The award also recognized their achievements at the BankLink New Zealand Rowing Championships where they won Gold in the Women's Premier Four.
The BankLink Trophy was awarded to Southern RPC as the top performing Regional Performance Centre .
BankLink is the Principal Partner of Rowing New Zealand and sponsor of the BankLink New Zealand Rowing Championships. BankLink recently announced their continued support of Rowing New Zealand for another four years through to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. They have been a key partner behind Rowing New Zealand since 2006.