National Championships 2015

Some of the squad on Sunday with Lake Pukaki in the background

Some of the squad on Sunday with Lake Pukaki in the background

Wellington Rowing Club attended the 2015 Banklink New Zealand Championships, held in Twizel on Lake Ruataniwha. The contingent was the largest in many years, with squads competing in Novice/Club/Senior Men’s and Women’s events.

It has been a long season this year, all squads trained over the winter so many were pleased to finally be at the end of the road!

Most of the squad arrived on Saturday morning in Christchurch where vans were rented to travel to Twizel, the events did not start until Tuesday so the next few days were spent relaxing and exploring. The odd light row was thrown into the mix just as a reminder of the impending pain…

Tuesday was heats day, with all crews racing to qualify in their respective events. Some of the squad were struggling with the change in altitude and dryness of the air compared with Wellington, and many crews were forced to contend in repechages the next day.

Jenny and Frances getting ready to start

Jenny and Frances getting ready to start

Wednesday was big boat (8+) heats and repechages, followed by semi-finals on Thursday morning. These days went much better than Tuesday, and many crews qualified for finals. In all, the club qualified 12 boats for A finals this year, many of which were not due to automatic progression. When compared with the 2 A finals from last season, it shows there has been a significant improvement in the club rowing scene.

Thursday afternoon was the first of the finals, the Club Men competed in the Men’s Club Eight (8+). The guys were underdogs going into this race, but they gave it a good crack, finishing in 6th place. This is the first time we have presented a club eight since 2010 when WRC won the NZ title, so it will hopefully be a work in progress over the next few seasons!

The Novice Men in action on finals day

The Novice Men in action on finals day

Friday had many finals, notably the Novice Women won a bronze in the coxed quad (4x+) and a well earned silver in the double (2x-). The double, crewed by Jenny Acton-Phillips and Frances Gray, rowed through a strong North Shore crew in the last seconds of the race.

The Novice Men competed in both the coxed quad (4x+) and coxed four (4+) finals, but sadly finished a close 4th in both races. The guys had trained very hard this season and got some great results in other regattas, so not finishing the year with a ‘cherry on the top’ was tough. The guys proved they can row a boat fast, and that they have plenty of power, so hopefully a strong club eight is on the horizon!

Men's Club 8+

Men’s Club 8+

The Club Men competed in the coxless quad (4x-) and took home the gold! Many of the squad were disappointed with last seasons poor results and sought to rectify it this year, and did they deliver! Faced with a strong sculling field the guys attacked hard from the start, clearing out by over 2 lengths by the 1000m. A very fast finishing Waikato quad was closing in on them in the last 500m of the race but the damage was already done. The combination of Patrick Fruean, Griffin Hunt, Mark Brocklehurst and Kyle Malone were undefeated throughout the season and won the club 4x- at both KR1 and KR2.

On Saturday the Novice Women competed in the eight and finished in third capping off a really successful season for the ladies. The Club Women had a tough time at the regatta, but North Island Championships 1x Bronze medalist Kate Jordan finished a commendable 1st in the B Final of the Club 1x.

On Saturday night it rained hard but we partied even harder, but that’s a story for another time.

A big thanks to the coaches for their time and patience over the course of the season:

Novice Women: Joe O’Neill, Nina Brown
Novice Men: Chris Jones, Mark Brown
Club Men: Chris Jones, Dick Joyce
Club Women: Nick Tonkin, Chris Jones

Full results can be found here

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