Masters Championships begin at Ruataniwha
The snowy Southern Alps may have provided a beautiful backdrop to the New Zealand Masters Championships on Lake Ruataniwha, but the cold temperatures on day one did not detract from some fast performances. The lake remained calm all day and the stage was set for a weekend of frenetic 1000 metre racing, where competitors seem to enter at least three or four races per day, which, with the addition of heats, is a hefty workload.
In the absence of red coats, yellow coats and podium presentations to aspire to, every race is keenly contested.
Arguably, race of the day was the men’s D eight.Firm favourite, the composite Nelson/Waikato crew, led from the start but were being chased by Dunstan and Union Canterbury.With 250 metres to go, Dunstan coxswain Sophie Smith called for 10 on,the boat responded and another 10 was called and with 3 strokes to go Dunstan edged in front, taking the win in front of an enthusiastic crowd.The times of 3:13:19 and 3:13:23 set a benchmark which was later broken by the crack men’s A quad from Picton in 3:11.61.
The men’s F quad was an extremely fast race, won in 3:33:81 by a Melbourne crew, who were part of the 9-strong Melbourne contingent, encouraged to cross the Tasman by an ex-pat Kiwi.
The men’s D4 was won by a split second with Nelson victorious over Melbourne.
The A single was also a split-second result in favour of Dunstan’s Bruckner over Canterbury’s Ryan.
The men’s novice quad also featured a tight finish with Avon edging out Wakatipu.
The women’s novice quad attracted a large field of eight, with the winning Port Chalmers United crew giving coach Ray Sinclair a birthday surprise.The Auckland women brought a large contingent of novices from their squad of 20.The squad, who are mothers of rowers, came together at a Legion of Rowers regatta in April and their consistent training paid off for third place.
The women’s C8 was a composite crew brought together by coach John Frampton, who coached Invercargill many decades ago, and the 4 Wakatipu women he has coached for two seasons.
The D women’s pair featured ex-Olympians Nicky Haig and Lynley Coventry rowing for Eastern Bays,who had top company in the form of ex-premier rowers Cynthia de Joux and Sarah Lissaman from Blenheim. A mere two seconds separated these boats.
The women’s double was also a closely fought race with the Aramaho-Wanganui combination of Carver and Baker-Hogan pipping Lissaman and de Joux by 2 seconds.
Union Canterbury were busy, bringing a squad of over 30 rowers and nabbing 12 medals to be well on track to again win most points overall and retain the coveted trophy.
The first day concluded with North Island vs. South Island.The women’s South quad and eight were winners by default as were the men’s South quad.However, the eights race was a competitive affair, with the South Island men’s crew easing to a win over the Melbourne and North Island crews.