Like many summer sports Christmas and New Year Holidays, as joyous as they are, tend to interfere with preparation for the impending major competitions.
In the case of rowing, our Elite High Performance rowers will be fortunate if they get more then a handful of days with family and friends and even then be on a monitored training regime.
Our club-based rowers (like Aramoho and Union) might get the week between Christmas and New Year off and schools like Collegiate, with boarders, are affected the most as they generally send the rowers off for a month with a land-based fitness programme and try to monitor them from afar.
Living locally and only having been out of Whanganui for a week over Christmas, I have noted the number of training camps, usually from Wellington-based clubs and schools, occur on the Whanganui River with the Top 10 Holiday Park in Aramoho very popular and a perfect location on the banks of our river.
Local clubs have been out training, along with our super kayakers and waka ama teams, as those sports have their NZ Championships early in the year. In fact the 2018 Waka Ama Sprint Nationals have just finished and the 2018 NZCT Canoe Sprint Nationals 23- 25 February are both held at Lake Karapiro.
The 2018 Rocket Fuel NZ Rowing championships are on 13 — 17 February, also at Lake Karapiro, with the 2018 Aon Maadi Cup (NZ Secondary Schools Rowing Champs) at Lake Ruataniwha, near Twizel from 19 — 25 March.
For that reason a number of the school rowers have had a bigger break from rowing on the water, while our club and elite rowers are only four weeks away from their national championship, from which numerous NZ Titles will be awarded, including novice, intermediate, club, senior and premier with elite and under-23 NZ Trialists named at the conclusion. The 2018 Under-23 and Elite World Championships are in July and September respectively.
Over the holiday break a favourite regional regatta is the Hawkes Bay Cup Regatta on 6-7 January, with both Aramoho Whanganui and Union Boat Club attending.
It is nearly impossible to beat Hawkes Bay for their cup, with them having about 14 contributing schools, compared to Whanganui's five, but their were some fabulous local performances anyway.
Perhaps Niamh Monk and Luke Watts, both Aramoho, were the star's of the regatta winning the prestigious women's and Men's 250 metre Single Scull Sprint and the $100 each that went with it.
Aramoho came away with 4 first places, 5 seconds and thirds, where Union had 2 first's and seconds, 3 thirds and a 4th and 5th.
The usual group of Aramoho senior men of Luke Watts, Cameron Lawrence, Nathan Luff, Guy Thomson and James Sandston performed strongly for this time in the season and the under-16 and 17 Girl group of Jamie Bridger, Niamh Monk, Zeal Brewer, Mikayla Manville, Feyth Hogan, Rochelle Lowe, Niamh Murphy, Ella Dudley and coxswains Niamh Mullany and Lucy Dowman had a number of placings rowing up in club and open grade.
Union is starting to build some numbers and got a second in a Men's Club Eight that had most of the Union schoolboys, Martin Bridger and some Horowhenua imports. Donna Thompson and Kurt Browning got two good seconds in a Men's Club Double and fourth in Open Double.
While Piper Neal and Kyla Joseph had a third in the women's Novice Double and 5th with Ned Joseph, Brittney Robertson and Brittney Robertson in the Novice Four. Club captain Bob Evans and the capable Martin Bridger won the Masters Men's Double.
Training intensity lifts from now to the end of club and school nationals, with the Cambridge Town Cup and North Island Club Regatta's the next big test from 26 — 29 January at Lake Karapiro.