Hero photograph
Gold medal winning novice Eight SISS 2016

South Island Titles for Shirley BHS Rowing

R Wilson-Pyne —

The SBHS Rowing Squad continued its winning ways at the 2016 South Island Secondary Schools Rowing Championships. The regatta features over 1200 rowers from 47 schools throughout the South Island, converging on the town of Twizel for two days of intense racing. As a last hit out for crews before competing in National Rowing Championships (commonly known as Maadi), it is therefore held in high regard with South Island titles on offer.

SBHS sent a squad of 25 rowers to the regatta. They represented the school with distinction, both on and off the water.

Day one involved heat racing with crews fighting for spots in “A” finals. An “A” final places boats in the top 8 crews in the South Island, each with a chance to win a South Island title the following day. After 14 hours of racing, with several boys competing in five races, SBHS crews qualified for 13 “A” finals. Exhausted, the squad was also extremely proud of their efforts while still mindful that Sunday represented an opportunity to achieve something special for the school.

It proved to be a golden day for SBHS rowing. Spurred on by vocal support from a large group of spectators, SBHS rowing was able to win seven South Island medals including two gold, four silver and one bronze. This placed them above traditional rowing powerhouses like Christs College and St Bede’s College on the medal table, schools with much bigger and more experienced programmes. This impressive performance was not lost on the regatta commentators who recognised SBHS as an “emerging force” in South Island rowing. Not bad for a programme in just its third season with second hand or borrowed gear.

Some of the highlights of the South Island Secondary Schools Championships include:

  • Gold in the Under 18 Novice Coxed Eight
  • Gold in the Under 18 Novice Coxed Four
  • Silver in the Under 18 Novice Coxed Four
  • Silver in the Under 16 Coxed Four
  • Silver in the Under 18 Novice Double
  • Silver in the Under 15 Double
  • Bronze in the Under 16 Coxed Eight
  • 13 crews qualifying for “A” finals
  • The behaviour of all squad members throughout the regatta

The row squad is now focusing on the National Secondary Schools Rowing Championships (Maadi). They are working extremely hard, training six days a week around their studies. Maadi represents a huge challenge with over 2400 rowers from around New Zealand competing. It also represents an opportunity that very few sportsman get, to race for a national title.  We are very excited by this prospect.