Ōtūmoetai College student Jenna Brangwynne knows how to descend into the pain cave and push her body to the limit. That willingness to push herself saw her impress at the New Zealand Indoor Rowing Championships.
Jenna Brangwynne couldn't walk after her race but the pain was all worth it when she realised she had broken a New Zealand record.
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The Year 9 Ōtūmoetai College student claimed two titles at the New Zealand Indoor Rowing Championships in Cambridge on November 23.
She won the women's under-15 500m race in 1m 43.8s and the 1000m race in 3m 34.7s – setting a new national record in the latter. Fellow Ōtūmoetai rower Rhianna Loughnan won the under-17 1000m title and placed second in the 500m race.
Fourteen-year-old Brangwynne hammered the previous best by four seconds, eclipsing the record that was set when she was just 1-year-old.
"I felt awful after the race, I just stopped and I couldn't move. It took me a couple of minutes to stand up and walk. But it is the people I am racing against that pushes me through. I didn't know I had the record until Monday, I was super stoked. On the day, I did think I had it.
"There were a couple of girls there that I row with and my time was around the same as theirs so I thought I could do well. I had researched what the record was but I didn't think I would do as well as I did. I was a bit intimidated because they were all older than me."
Jenna only started rowing last year and is training up to eight times a week. She has eyes on representing her country as an Olympian one day.
"My friends rowed and I had a go and really enjoyed it. I have done stuff on the water my whole life and have done some sailing and kayaking.
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"I like being on the water and I like the social part of it. It would be cool to be a single sculler, but being part of a team is more fun."
Ōtūmoetai College Rowing chairwoman Tracey Fellingham says breaking the record is amazing.
"Jenna has the winning attitude and mentality as well as ability to push herself past the point of her body wanting to stop, which is something not many athletes her age can do.
"This is her second year rowing and she would be one of the top athletes we have in the rowing team. She is a strong, highly motivated athlete – rowing is not an easy sport."
Fellingham says Jenna has high hopes for the National Secondary School Rowing Championships in March, with sculling partner Chloe Wright. The pair placed fifth in an open race at the Karapiro Club Regatta at the weekend, racing in Tauranga Rowing Club colours.
"Jenna has the winning attitude and mentality as well as ability to push herself past the point of her body wanting to stop, which is something not many athletes her age can do."
Fellingham says the school's relationship with the Tauranga Rowing Club is an important one particularly with the calibre of coaches available to the young rowers.
"Our success is definitely due to our coach Paul Clinton, our trainer Brandon Manuel as well as the amazing support we get from the school with Paul Braddock."
Jenna Brangwynne's results at the New Zealand Indoor Rowing Championships
Under-15 500m: 1st in 1m 43.8s.
Under-15 1000m: 1st in 3m 34.7s (New Zealand record).