It was a make or break day of semifinal racing at the 2017 Maadi Cup at Lake Karapiro today.

Following the last three days of heats, repechages and quarter-finals, 49 events were raced over the day consisting of C and D finals, and semifinals to decide A and B final starters.

With such high stakes on the line it was a spectacular day of racing as crews needed a top four finish for their chance to race for a medal.

Early rain cleared and light winds made for ideal rowing conditions.

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Elliot Jenkins of Whakatane High School looks poised to be a strong medal contender in the boys' under-18 single sculls, clocking the fastest semifinal time with 7:46.02, a boat length clear of his closest rival.

Jenkins has also teamed up with brother Finn for the boys' under-18 double sculls. The family duo also set the fastest semifinal time, winning in convincing fashion.

Clare Milne and Rebecca Leigh of St Peter's School dominated their under-16 double sculls semifinal in a time of 8:07.91, with over nine seconds to spare before Imogen Stythe and Jessica McIntosh of Glendowie College crossed the line. Dunstan High School's Erin Calder and Shayla Alexander narrowly outsprinted Alison Mills and Shauna Glassie-Ryan of Hamilton Girls' High School with both crews also securing their chance for a medal.

Harry Newbury-Lee and Heath Shepherd of Macleans College were locked in a tussle with Wellington College's Ricky Kiddle and Adam Smith in the semifinal of the boys' under-17 double sculls. The two boats were well ahead of the pack with Macleans College finishing just over 0.5 second ahead of their Wellington College counterparts. Roncalli College and St John's College also made the cut for the A final, some six and 10 seconds behind Macleans respectively.

St Paul's Collegiate made an impressive move in the girls' under-18 novice coxed four. The Hamiltonians powered away from the pack with less than 500 metres to go and held off a chase from Diocesan School for Girls and Christchurch Girls' High School with the top three finishing within 0.3 seconds of each other. Craighead Diocesan School followed for fourth to snatch an A final berth. They will be joined by Rangi-Ruru girls' school, Waikato Diocesan School, St Peter's School and Marian College who secured their places in the second semi-final.

Just over one second separated first to third in the second semifinal of the boys' under-18 double sculls, indicating Saturday's race for medals will be one to watch.

Cambridge High School timed a perfect move in the semifinal of the boys' under-17 coxed quad sculls, rowing through a tightly packed field to snag victory by a bowball ahead of Glendowie College, Macleans College and St Kentigern College who all crossed the line within a second of each other.

For other rowers today was the end of their Maadi Cup regatta as they contested C or D finals.

Tomorrow marks the start of finals racing, with medals up for grabs across 26 events including the boys' and girls' under-18 coxed four - the Springbok Shield and Dawn Cup, two of the most coveted and hotly contested prizes in secondary school rowing.