Rowing: Bay club bolsters Kiwi squad

There is a strong Tauranga Rowing Club presence in the New Zealand rowing squad named to contest the first World Cup regatta in Sydney on March 22.

Zoe Stevenson (women's double scull), Genevieve Armstrong (women's quad),

Curtis Rapley (men's lightweight coxless four) and Adam Ling (men's under-23 lightweight single) all honed their skills during long hours of early morning training on the Tauranga Harbour.

Rapley's selection was a poignant moment for the former Bethlehem College student, who went through a traumatic time after his lightweight four crew finished third in a pre-Olympic regatta last year and missed out on qualifying for London by 1.5sec.

He admits it was hard to take and even talking about it now is emotional for him.

But his mental strength and work ethic got him through it.

"Oh man, it took probably a couple of months to deal with that," said Rapley.

"I was really gutted. It is so hard when you put your heart and soul into something and then you come so close. We did our best last year and there were a couple of crews faster than us that day.

"We learned some pretty tough lessons and some days you have to accept other crews may be faster."

Despite the disappointment there was never a moment when Rapley thought of giving rowing away.

"There was no way that was going to happen. It probably has motivated me a bit more.

"I was watching my mates on the TV competing and winning at the Olympics, and I just really wanted to be there amongst it."

Rapley lives fulltime at the world class high performance base at Lake Karapiro but he has not forgotten where he started.

"It is cool for us living over here to have come from kind of a small club like Tauranga Rowing and we all support each other.

"I have been at the club since 2008 and began my rowing when I was at Bethlehem College. During my whole schooling, and after I left school for a year or two, I had the same coach Duncan by de Ley.

"He still coaches anyone at the club who wants to learn to row and I definitely would not have been able to do it without Duncan - that's for sure."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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