A wide range of clubs from across the country lined up to compete in the first day of the 2018 Rocket Foods NZ Rowing Championships. Despite consistent rain, conditions at Lake Karapiro made for a great day of racing with over 792 athletes on the water across 69 events.
The leading contenders for the men’s premier single sculls, John Storey (Southern RPC), Robbie Manson (Central RPC) and Mahe Drysdale (Auckland RPC), lined up after having two earlier races in other boats, while world champion Chris Harris (Central RPC) was a late scratch from the event. Drysdale & Manson won their respective heats comfortably (7:20.06 and 7:16.29 respectively), while Storey was second behind Drysdale (7.28.30), setting themselves up for a good contest in the final on Saturday.
The women’s premier single sculls saw world champions Brooke Donoghue (Waikato RPC) and Olivia Lowe (Southern RPC) win their respective heats (8:06.61 and 8:08.05), with Hannah Osborne (Waikato RPC) placing second, five seconds behind Lowe. Donoghue and Osborne also raced in the women’s premier double, winning their heat with a time of 7:36.44.
In the men’s premier coxless pair, current World Championships bronze medallist Tom Murray (Central RPC) raced with new partner Phillip Wilson (Central RPC) who is stepping up from last year’s U23 team, winning their heat with a time of 6:37.14. In the second heat, Anthony Allen and Shaun Kirkham (Waikato RPC) also took first place in a time of 6:44.53.
The women’s premier coxless pair was an exceptional race, with world champion pair Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast split across two boats. Gowler paired up with Southern RPC teammate Ella Greenslade winning in a time of 7:03.52. Meanwhile Prendergast and Emma Dyke took second place with a time of 7:05.18.
Men’s premier double sculls world champions and defending title holders Chris Harris and Robbie Manson won their heat in a time of 6:36.57, with the final to take place on Friday.
James Lassche and Matt Dunham won their respective heats in the lightweight men’s single (7:06.94 and 7:05.67 respectively) ahead of the final on Friday.
This year’s regatta will see the Boss Rooster trophy awarded to the men’s premier coxless four. This is a significant change to the coveted club trophy which was traditionally awarded to the men’s premier coxed four. The Boss Rooster trophy can only be won by a club, unlike many of other events in this regatta which allow a composite of clubs. Waikato Rowing Club and West End Rowing Club won their respective heats in the lead up to the final on Saturday morning. It is the first time in a number of years that a full field has competed for this trophy.
A good sprint decided the winner of the first heat of the men’s club quad. The Ashburton/Timaru composite of Matthew Rae, Michael Wall, Haxby Hefford and Cameron Moffat, just pipped Cambridge Rowing Club’s Jason Nel, Patrick Griffin, Rokko Lassey and Edward Clarkson, taking the qualifying spot for the final on Friday. In the second heat, Waikato Rowing Cub was 16 seconds ahead of Aramoho Whanganui/Union Boat Club composite.
The men’s and women’s senior eights gave all the crews an opportunity for a hit out before the straight finals on Friday afternoon. In the women’s race, North Shore looked comfortable ahead of the young Cambridge Rowing Club crew. The men’s race was harder to decide with two Waikato Rowing Club crews duelling out in front, followed by a pack of a Petone composite, Avon, Hawkes Bay and North Shore all within a few seconds of each other.
Veronica Wall from Ashburton Rowing Club had a strong day of racing, winning her U20, U22 and senior single, and teamed up with Grace Wilson to also win the women’s U20 double scull heat.
Luke Watts from Aramoho Whanganui won the men’s senior single, men’s senior double and men’s senior quad.
Courtesy of Rowing New Zealand