The Tauranga Rowing Club added to its ever-growing dynasty at the Blue Lake Rowing Regatta at the weekend, winning the Dewar Shield for the third consecutive year.
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The two-day event, hosted by the Rotorua and Whakatāne rowing clubs, included secondary school, senior and masters divisions and the shield was awarded to the team which earned the most points throughout the weekend. There were 14 clubs in attendance.
Tauranga club captain Anthony Averill said the club was in good shape at present and winning the shield again was "fantastic".
"It's great here and we've got a good squad - it's a reward for all the hard work that has gone in. We've got a wide range here, we had a few masters rowing but we've also got some novices. It's the full spectrum from the kids through to the adults, which is great for the club.
"It's been a great weekend, we always love coming to this regatta and it's fantastic what the Rotorua and Whakatāne clubs put on for us. We're really pleased, we've got a great team of rowers and coaches who have worked hard throughout the whole season."
He put the club's success in recent years down to the atmosphere the club had created and a strong school programme, which was exciting for the future.
"We've got a good number of rowers and that includes six schools rowing for our club today. The coaching programme is outstanding as well, it's always really pleasing to see the time and effort both the kids and the coaches put into it.
"It's good having a good mix of schools and they all get along really well. We've just had our rowing camp and they're all loving it and going really well. They're working hard, early mornings, and it's all paying off.
"They learn a lot of life skills, it's working hard and competing and seeing the rewards of that success but it's also teaching themselves discipline - they get up at 4.30am to come to regattas and training and that's why it's so rewarding to see them succeed."
The majority of the rowers involved at the weekend will be in action at the North Island Club Championships this weekend.
"Some of those crews were racing today and doing well so that's good to see. Following that they'll split into their school crews and go from there," Averill said.
Bay of Plenty Rowing Association president and Rotorua Rowing Club committee member Sharon Morrell said, despite some strong winds, the event had gone to plan.
"We had just over 400 entries, which is a bit down on last year but we're in competition with a big regatta next weekend, the North Island Club Champs. Despite a bit of wind we were able to keep it going on time without any disasters.
"There's a good mix of young high school kids as well as masters rowers here and they've come from as far as Hawke's Bay and the North Shore. There's good representation from the Bay of Plenty and Waikato crews."
Morrell said the competition was "ferocious" all weekend.
"Blue Lake is not a full 2km race course, which is the normal standard rowing distance, it's about 1300m. It's definitely a sprint which means some close finishes.
"It's great to see the talent coming through and they'll be looking to really test themselves next week in a bigger field."
This year there was a new, very special trophy up for grabs, the James Boyce Memorial for the club with the most points in the masters divisions.
Boyce, who died in 2018, was involved in Rotorua rowing since 2010, firstly as a parent helper, then as a coach and more recently as a referee achieving national status as an umpire in 2014.
James was a past president of the Rotorua Rowing Club and his three children Shannon, Taylor and Riley have all rowed for the club. He himself became an active member of the Rotorua Rowing Club's masters group in 2015 as a coach and a rower.
At committee level, he represented the club on the Bay of Plenty Rowing Association, becoming president of that association in 2016.
"He was very involved in rowing in a number of different ways," Morrell said.
"The trophy is a piece of wood he fished out of the lake at Karapiro and he was turning it into a trophy himself. The trophy has been finished off and it will be nice to see it awarded."
Cambridge Rowing Club won the James Boyce Memorial with 31.5 points, narrowly beating North Shore who scored 29.
Blue Lake Rowing Regatta - Dewar Shield Points
1st Tauranga 139
2nd Takapuna 89
3rd Counties Manukau 55
4th North Shore 47
5th Whakatāne 41
James Boyce Memorial Points
1st Cambridge 31.5
2nd North Shore 29