Tauranga Rowing Club produced a dominant performance to claim the Dewar Shield at the Blue Lake Rowing Regatta in Rotorua.
The two-day event included secondary school, senior and masters divisions and the shield was awarded to the team which earned the most points throughout the weekend.
Tauranga finished on 116 points, comfortably ahead of second placed King's College, on 64, and third placed Hawke's Bay Rowing Club on 61. The defending champions Whakatane Rowing Club finished fifth with 47 points.
Tauranga Rowing Club coaching co-ordinator Brendan Cullum said the club's rowers had been training hard for the 2018 season.
"It's been really good, we've been putting in a fair bit of work at a training camp a couple of weeks ago and we made sure we put together a good bunch of crews for this weekend. They've been training up to 12 times a week, doing 20km-plus each training.
"It's been quite a while since we've won this, so it's good to be able to bring the shield back home. We had one rower who did five races and won all five races - everyone did their bit in making sure we won today, overall.
"Next weekend we have the North island Club Champs and I think this is going to be a really big boost to everyone competing," Cullum said.
Rotorua rower Olivia Elmiger, 17, of Western Heights High School, was in the Rotorua Rowing Club's open women's coxless crew who finished second in their final.
"It was a really good race and we felt really good afterwards. Bay Coast came first, they beat us in the heats yesterday but by a lot more than today, so we improved. We beat Hawke's Bay, who beat us yesterday as well, in the final," Olivia said.
She said the local rowers always looked forward to racing close to home and the Blue Lake Regatta served as a good warm-up for upcoming events.
"Next weekend we've got Cambridge Town Cup and North Island Club Champs, we're hoping to do well in those. In two months we've got Maadi Cup at Lake Ruataniwha. I'm not going to that because there's not enough rowers from Heights, but a lot of the other girls and boys from the club are looking forward to it. I reckon we've got a lot of potential in the club and hopefully we get some good results down there."
Blue Lake Regatta chief umpire Peter Crane said the weather for the Blue Lake Regatta could not have been better.
"This is a fairly friendly, low-key regatta - it's just good racing and a good chance for everyone after Christmas to get back and get out on the boats for a race.
"We've got great conditions, the weather's perfect and the lake is nice and flat. I think everyone is having a good time," Crane said.
He said, despite being a friendly competition, there were a lot of strong rowers who wanted to win.
"We're coming up to some big regattas in the year and everyone's trying to get back into it and win their races. It's a chance to see where they sit against some of the crews they'll be racing throughout the year," he said.
Blue Lake Rowing Regatta - Dewar Shield Points
Tauranga Rowing Club 116
King's College 64
Hawke's Bay Rowing Club 61
Mercer Rowing Club 58
Whakatane Rowing Club 47