Whanganui's waka ama River Queens are one boat length closer to competing in the Va'a World Champs next year after causally smashing a 100 kilometre paddle on Saturday.
Two months ago their coach, Howard Hyland, set the challenge of paddling down the Whanganui River from Pipiriki to Pakaitore.
Mr Hyland said the girls, aged between 13 to 17, jumped at the opportunity without flinching.
"At the time I was unsure the girls knew exactly what they were getting themselves into."
But they had six weeks to mentally prepare themselves and trained nearly every day of the week.
The crew of seven, accompanied by two senior support paddlers, launched their waka at Pipiriki at 7.45 am on Saturday September 30, and less than seven hours later they arrived back at their club on Taupo Quay.
The team came together for National Secondary School Waka Ama Championships in March and haven't looked back.
Mr Hyland, who is a former New Zealand waka ama coach, said after seeing how well the girls raced at secondary school nationals he thinks they have what it takes to compete in Worlds next July in Tahiti.
"They are an incredibly determined bunch of girls and I am not surprised they were able to complete the 100 kilometres as they have been training nearly every day."
During Saturday's race the crew paddled on rotation allowing three paddlers to be replaced every 30 minutes by fresh paddlers who followed along in the support boat.
One of the girls said the team fed off each other's enthusiasm, which is why they did so well.
"We all share the same philosophy and that is, we will always give 100 per cent effort to trainings."
This month on October 13/14 the crew will compete in a Long Distance Nationals in Napier.
This will be a sea race, paddling 14 kilometres against 18 other New Zealand crews of their age group.
The Whanganui River Queens include; Shaniqka Wall, Jordan Webb, Anika Robinson, Tonianne Robinson, Bailey Fabish, Codi Webb and Isabella Parkinson.
And the senior paddlers who supported the crew on Saturday were Nikki Crawford and Rachel Kingi.