As we near the end of August, those hardy rowers down in the rowing gyms or on the water will be looking forward to Spring around the corner, some slightly longer daylight hours, milder weather, and trying to get rid of winter ailments like the nasty influenza doing the rounds at present.

In saying that, New Zealand's elite rowers have been putting in many miles and race pace sessions on Lake Karapiro and in a few days time are off to acclimatise and prepare for the 2018 World Rowing Championships, September 9-16, in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

I was fortunate enough to go out with head men's coach Noel Donaldson at a recent coaching course and nothing surprised me about the focus and speed of a number of our crews.

The Plovdiv course recently hosted the 2018 World Junior and Under 23 Sprint Kayak Champs, which saw local juniors Jack Clifton and Liam Lace compete at that level for the first time and race credibly in B Finals.


Max Brown, who is still basically a local, although now training pretty much fulltime at the new Kayak NZ headquarters at Lake Karapiro, raced in the Under 23 events and got very close to making his first A Final.

It's not rocket science that making champions takes time and constant incremental improvements in a sport which is gaining more funding, largely thanks to the exploits of Lisa Carrington and her coach Gordon Walker in recent years.

The experience gained, aided with focused commitment, may move Max and the younger boys into World A Finals in the next few years.

Also back at school after placing ninth in the Junior Girls Quadruple Scull at the World Junior Rowing Champs in the Czech Republic recently is Collegiate's Jamie Harris.

No doubt that experience will hold her in good stead for her future in the sport.

On August 25-26, the final of the Rusty Robertson Trophy will be held at Lake Karapiro.

This Under 21 series is where NZ pits itself annually against Australia Rowing and this year will include crews from Canada.

Aramoho and Whanganui Rowing will be represented by Nathan Luff in the single and the men's eight, while Georgia Nugent-O'Leary, who suffered a horrendous bike crash over a year ago, will be trying to fight her way back into the Central Regional Performance Squad.

The Central RPC is based in Blenheim and possibly Nugent-O'Leary will make the NZ Summer Squad, which includes all our elite rowers and others on the verge of international selection.

Former Collegiate rower and student, Jonte Wright will also be trialing for Waikato RPC and I understand Jamie Harris, as a current NZ Junior, will be an automatic selection for Central RPC.

The Whanganui Rowing Association recently held its AGM and I have taken over the President's role from Gus Scott, who has admirably served six years in this role, while vice president Bob Evans is also stepping down.

Thanks also need to go to Stephanie Rush (secretary) and Barbara Saunders (treasurer) who have had long term commitments to Whanganui Rowing. Barbara and Steph are reluctantly still taking care of these roles in the interim, but are very keen to hand over to some other rowers, parents or supporters who enjoy the sport and supporting our clubs – Aramoho, Union, Collegiate and Clifton (Waitara).

Finally, Collegiate has just appointed two new head coaches to run its programmes for next season.

Tyler Scott, a former school rower and up-and-coming coach will guide the senior programme and former Hutt Valley/Petone coxswain Rex Jones, who has been in Australia since 1980 and with the Canberra Boys Grammar Junior squad since 2013, will lead the junior programme.