Former Tauranga Rowing Club president Craig Bocock looks to have timed his run just right. His time as president came to an end on Sunday as Tauranga rowers were playing starring roles in New Zealand's best campaign at the World Rowing Championships.
Three rowers with links to the Tauranga club captured silverware in Amsterdam, where the familiar sight of black boats surging in front delivered the Kiwis to the top of the medal table ahead of Great Britain and Australia.
Zoe Stevenson won gold in the double sculls with Fiona Bourke and Curtis Rapley claimed silver in the men's lightweight four, while single sculler Mahe Drysdale also claimed a silver medal. The team will return with nine medals - six gold, two silver and one bronze - which following on from a strong world cup series win further solidifies New Zealand as the dominant force in world rowing.
Bocock singled out the efforts of Stevenson, who came agonisingly close last year after being named as a reserve for the 2012 London Olympics.
"We are absolutely stoked for Zoe to get her first world title - especially since she came through the grades at Tauranga Girls' College and the Tauranga club," he said.
"From the club's point of view it's been a while since we had a homegrown world champion."
It was a tough watch for members of the Tauranga club, who feared Stevenson and Bourke might not even make the final after getting off to a poor start in the semifinal. The pair recovered to finish third and then surprised themselves in the decider - having to be informed of their victory some time after comfortably crossing the line in first place.
Bocock said the medallists, along with former Aquinas College and Tauranga Boys' College pupil Adam Ling who has stepped up to the elite level this year, are great influences on the younger members of the club. "They are all really conscious of the club side of it and make themselves known at regattas and stay in contact so the kids recognise them.
"Some of these kids just finishing school now were there when Zoe was there. She was just a tall, skinny thing at Tauranga Girls' when she started ... it shows anyone can make it there."
It would prove difficult to get all the rowers back to town at once due to scheduling, meaning next year's prizegiving is likely to be the first opportunity for the club to come together to celebrate the success. The efforts of the Bay of Plenty rowers based at the high performance centre in Cambridge were further complemented by the gold medal winning efforts of the lightweight women Julia Edward and Sophie MacKenzie - the latter of whom hails from Rotorua.
Simon Aubrey was elected the new president of the Tauranga club at the annual general meeting on Sunday.