Tauranga pair are the future of rowing

By Ben Guild

Not many people would consider waking before 6am most mornings to push themselves to their limit physically.

But Tauranga Boys' College rowers Sheldon Noyce and Daniel Bridgewater are not most people.

The pair, who form the backbone of the Tauranga Boys' College eight, which is tipped for its best tilt at Maadi Cup glory since the school last won the cup in 1997, represented New Zealand with distinction at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.

In the January event, Bridgewater and Noyce won silver medals in the lightweight double and men's eight, and bronze in the men's quad.

Rowers were eligible for selection up to under-20 by mid-January, so the two schoolboys are ahead of the steep curve charting New Zealand's next wave of rowing stars.

Their paths to the water are almost as disparate as their builds.

Noyce, a strapping young man with a build comparable to that of Mahe Drysdale, only started rowing five years ago, by chance.

"I hadn't really done much sport beforehand, and I only got into it because our neighbour was our coach," said Noyce. "She just yelled over the fence one day."

Bridgewater, shorter and broader, in the shape of Olympic rower Nathan Cohen, has rowing as a birthright.

His father Grant coaches the Tauranga Boys' eight and his twin older brothers row for famous US college Yale.

What unites them is their aim to make future New Zealand age teams before being named in the national summer squad - a paid elite-level rowing programme and pathway to being selected to the full New Zealand squad.

"I want to go straight to the elite level and make every New Zealand squad along the way," said Noyce, and Bridgewater agreed.

The next of those squads to be selected is the New Zealand under-18 team heading to Lithuania later this year.

But first they have the iconic Maadi Cup to be held at Lake Karapiro from March 18-24.

"We'd like to win the Maadi Cup again," said Noyce.

"We want to show the bigger schools in the country what we are made of."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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