2019 New Zealand Masters Rowing Championships Conclude
It was a frosty start to the second day of the NZ Masters Nationals at Twizel, with oars and boats coated in ice, but what ensued was a picturesque, warm and calm day, providing a fitting end to the Champs.
There were several tired bodies fighting their way down the course, but kudos to the oldest female, Faye Forgie, from Port Chalmers United, who bagged four golds and two silvers. The 74-year old was seen rowing with Port, Riverton and West End crews, and Faye also won the H single.
The older men’s divisions were sizzling. B Leyland from West End won the J-K single in 5:29:67 but the I single was a real tussle with Bert Kemp crossing before John Letts (both Dunstan) in scorching times of 4:44:75 and 4:46:28 and B Walford from Rotorua completing the podium in 5:15:40.
The mens I-K coxless four and quad were both won by the experienced Riverton/Dunstan crew of John Wilson, Bert Kemp, John Letts and Lloyd Blakie. Rotorua’s B Walford, G Meyer, B Wills, K Fraser were second in the four and Meyer was replaced by Cowie to also be runners-up in the quad. Letts and Kemp won the I double and Walford and Fraser from Rotorua the J-K double.
Sunday again produced some close results, with a “crowd went wild” moment during the women’s D eight. The favoured Auckland crew had burst out of the blocks and led all the way but were mown down in the dying strokes by the Port Chalmers/Invercargill composite crew of Coxhead, Cameron, Brosnahan, McArthur, van Dam, Russell, Sweeney and Allan in a time of 3:45:73, with Auckland’s Mills, Ellis, Gordon, Coventry, Jong, O’Loughlin, Biddiss and Chandler posting 3:46:13. Invercargill also won the D4-.
Other split second results which saw Millsy nearly swallow his microphone were:
Mixed G-J 4X Blenheim over Riverton, men’s G4- Melbourne over Horowhenua, men’s F4X Melbourne over Nelson, men’s F 1X North Shore over Horowhenua and mixed A-C 8 Avon over Picton.
The most prolific rower must be Dunstan’s Simon Smith, who raced 11 events, winning 10 golds and one silver as well as stroking the South Island 8 to victory. Simon is well known as a coach and organiser extraordinaire.
As the sun set on another Masters Nationals, rowers reflected on a well-run regatta, that was competitive yet fun, where there was a noticeable and welcome growth in the younger grades, where ex-elite rowers can return to the sport and novices can rub shoulders with the greats of the sport, where kindred spirits meet. Here the lending of equipment is reciprocated to make the inter-island trips easier and the Trans-Tasman visits achievable.
Thanks go to the many volunteers who made the event possible and to the spectators and supporters who added to the atmosphere.