Rowing has continued to build on the previous season with our team of 24 being the largest squad we’ve had for a good number of years.
With coaches Sarah Lindley and Fergus Vickers at the helm the season kicked off in September with a few give-it-a-go days for the newbies combined with get-back-in-the-boat days for the returning rowers. Not long after that there was a steady stream of hi-viz jackets pedalling from BHS to Kerr’s closely followed by a symphony of blades splashing wildly in the water whilst at the same time playing dodgems with the many other schools on a busy stretch of river which resembles a Bangkok motorway complete with grumpy white-baiters and the odd rather angry aggressive swan. Then before you know it, attention ‘we’re-off-and-racing’ which for us started with three of our more senior rowers having a crack at the Concept R2K in early October - the first real tester for the season and a great opportunity to see how some of the rowers would stack up after the chilly winter season. Pleasingly we stacked up pretty good with Theo Giannakogiorgos winning his heat and coming 2nd in the A final, Sharni Ross won her heat and came 3rd in the A final, and Harriet Fraser came 3rd in her heat and 3rd in the B final. The rest of the season comprised of:
• Multiple hours of training, early morning gym sessions and odd dreaded erg tests – not sure why they are so feared, 2k flat out backwards is 2k flat out backwards... enjoy it!
• 3 x trips to Ashburton Regattas to practise loading trailers and hone the racing skills in average conditions
• 1 x Summer camp at Kerr’s Reach and other CHCH locations
• 4 x trips to our 2nd home ‘Twizel’ to support the local economy and attend the Otago Champs, Canterbury Champs, SI Champs and the SISS Champs
• Maadi Cup, Karapiro
• Cure 10k long-distance race on the Kaiapoi & Waimakariri rivers.
For us, the real highlight this year was watching our kids experience the joys of rowing, watching them grow as athletes, watching them improve as the season went on, watching them have fun and support each other as a team, and seeing the ‘smiles-for-miles’ and the glow on their faces as they did themselves and all of us proud. Another highlight for us this year was that we had an absolutely fantastic second -to-none ‘fan-base’ group of supporters, families and sponsors which not only made the team funding and logistics a lot easier to coordinate it also allowed us all to have a lot of good old fashioned social fun along the way – ‘our aim was to have fun and to make the rowing trips an enjoyable weekend away rather than a weekend of work and creating an environment where it felt like if you weren’t there you were missing out!’
Maadi Cup – the biiiigggg one, the accumulation of a season's hard work, the opportunity to compete against the country’s best and a long-long way to tow a boat trailer, on that note a huge thanks to St Thomas’s for working in with us and to Avon for lending us ‘big red’ to transport the two schools’ gear to Karapiro and back. We took a squad of 19 rowers/18 crews to compete in 15 events, against 2152 students from 129 schools. Our highlights:
• u17 single A Final - Theo Giannakogiorgos 4th
• 13th in the country - Boys u17 Coxed four– Sam Thompson, Sam Brown, Jackson McKenzie, Adam Johnston & Zach Landon-Lane
• Winning the Girls u17 single C Final – Sharni Ross
• 18th in the country - Novice double sculls – Tom Giddens & Yahav Benaia
• Placing 3rd in the Girls u17 double C Final – Sharni Ross & Alex Landon-Lane
• 19th in the country – Boys u15 quad – Tom Giddens, Campbell Irwin, Sam Lamont, Jacob Wadley, Adar Benaia
• A total of 7 crews achieved ‘top 20’ in the country results
• Nearly all of our rowers and crews achieved ‘Personal Bests’ at Maadi 2019 – PBs are wins!
Following on from Maadi Theo Giannakogiorgos was selected to attend the South Island u17 trials, and Sharni Ross, Alex Landon-Lane, Sophie Rowlands and Noah James were selected to train with the Southern RPC and to attend training camps on the Waimakariri River, Lake Dunstan and Lake Hood. We also had a few rowers race the Cure 10K Long Distance Race – this was our 2nd year attending this fun local regatta, we had five rowers and a cox racing at ‘Kaiapoi’s 5 x longer slightly less formal’ version of the famous Henley regatta. A big well- done to Theo, Sharni, Zeda, Hayley and Sophie on some great racing and results, including the 1st two doubles home.
We are hoping to continue to build on the previous years and to continue to grow the team. One of the benefits of rowing for a smaller team is that our rowers get to row multiple boats and crews rather than just specialising in one boat, and they get to experience more action-packed fun racing. Although we’re hoping to build our team up enough to be able to crew and race an eight this year, more importantly we still want ‘all kids’ to have the opportunity enjoy the rowing experience in a fun environment. For any rowing team to function it takes a huge, dedicated, really special team in the background to ‘make it happen’ and I would like to pass on a big-thanks to all the rowers, coaches, sponsors, parents, volunteers, committee and board members, school representatives, school PTA, house parents, trailer towers, van drivers, fundraisers, fundraising attendees, stat-man, food preppers, bbq cooks, caterers, Avon, Southern RPC, CRC, boat repairers, tent put-er-uppers, photographers, entertainers, bars, fellow craftie suppliers and consumers, rowing officials, accommodation providers, comedians, clowns, awesome kayakers and everyone else that contributed in any way to what was a great season of rowing. I’m looking forward to the 2019/2020 season.
Brendon Ross, Chairperson