Whanganui Collegiate's director of sport Barry Touzel looks at the successful family team leading the school's rowing programme.

Grant (Gus) Scott and eldest son Tyler are making a formidable father and son team as they head up a very successful WCS Rowing programme for the coming season.

Rowing at WCS commenced in 1885, as members of the Whanganui Rowing Club (WRC).
Over time, the school purchased their own equipment and operated out of an annex of the WRC until 1971.

The school boat shed was built in the same year, due mainly to the energy of a team of Old Boys and parents, situated on the banks of the Whanganui River alongside the 2000m regatta course at Aramoho.

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WCS Rowing has an incredible and unsurpassed history in the sport at national secondary school level, including the record of having won the coveted Maadi Cup seventeen times.

More recently, Collegiate's girl crews have had an extremely successful record at the Maadi championships, having won the Levin Cup and gathering numerous medals over the past seasons.

In 2015, WCS's sport programme was restructured with the school and the College Board deciding to invest heavily into the school's sports.

This investment was by way of appointing directors or head coaches to all the major sports codes to run them.

An investment into all students by way of skilled coaches and offering all our student's opportunity of a professional coaching programme.

It was at this point in 2015 that Gus Scott was dually appointed into the fulltime position of Master in Charge of Rowing at WCS, after many years of assisting in a part time capacity.

Scott's understanding of running a boat shed, his meticulous attention to detail around organising regattas, and his ability to ensure all boats are well set and maintained made him the ideal choice.

Scott grew up in Whanganui and attended Boys College, and as a young man played rugby and drove motorcycles.

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It was a late introduction to rowing for Scott as a 21-year-old, as he took to the rowing machines as part of a preseason rugby training programme and then never looked back.

It was the teamwork and camaraderie of rowing which attracted Scott and would see him heavily involved in the sport from the mid 1980's.

A career in the Corrections Department for 27 years followed, along with his part time involvement in rowing, including managing the WCS on a part time basis from 2005.

His involvement for more than 30 years in rowing includes; current Director on the Board of the NZ Secondary Schools' Rowing Association (appointed 2013), current Domestic Committee member of NZ Rowing Association, current Executive Committee Member, past President and Vice President of the Whanganui Rowing Association, current Life Member, past President, Club Captain and Executive Committee member of the Aramoho Whanganui Rowing Club, Manager/Master in Charge of the Whanganui Collegiate School Rowing programme, Regatta Official and Safety Officer; and recipient of a "Blue Coat" in 2017 by NZ Rowing.

Scott has also been lucky enough to experience competing overseas, when he did a season in Great Britain as a member of London RC and then Nottingham County RC - including racing at the Henley Royal Regatta.

Gus' eldest son Tyler Scott joined WCS as a Year 10 student in 2007 - playing rugby in the winter and rowing in the summer months.

However, it was rowing that Tyler had a passion for, and through his years as a student at WCS, representing the Men's Eight at Maadi in 2010 was seen as a highlight.

Leaving school, Tyler completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a double minor in Sport and Exercise Science and Rehabilitation, then went on to complete a post-graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching.

During this time, he enjoyed rowing with Aramoho-Whanganui RC and competing at the NZ Club Champs.

Tyler's passion and dedication to the sport led to his desire to develop as a coach.

He was employed as a senior coach at WCS and then over several seasons, under the guidance of highly experienced national and international coaches, he developed until he was appointed to WCS Head Senior Squad Rowing Coach in 2018.

He held that position until this season, when he was promoted to WCS Rowing Head Coach for the next three seasons.

Tyler is a passionate and motivated individual, who is eager to continue to cultivate his desire to become a professional rowing coach while developing high performance rowers within the WCS programme.

Within his eight years with WCS, he has coached Collegiate rowers to 40 podium finishes across the championships of the North Island Secondary Schools, North Island Club Championships, New Zealand Club Championships, and New Zealand Secondary Schools.

Numerous rowers under Tyler's coaching have gone on to be selected to NISS teams and NZ teams - the most recent being Jonte Wright selected to the NZ Under 23 squad.

"As Head Coach, I coach the senior boys' and girls' squads together," Tyler Scott said.

"As we are a school of around 460 students, running the squad's side-by-side allows for more on-water competition which helps breed fast and competitive boats.

"I focus heavily on developing a strong and enjoyable culture, with a growth mindset and a focus on making fast boats, rather than applying pressure on the final result.

"I believe this has been key to our success in the past years and I hope that this rubs off on potential non-rowers who may now be drawn to our sport."

For three years, Tyler has been the Central Rowing Performance Centre (RPC) Under 18 Development Coach for the Whanganui area, under the guidance of NZ coach Marion Horwell.

This role consists coaching RPC trialists through winter, attending all the development camps at the Central RPC and preparing athletes mentally and physically to trial in August to become professional athletes.

Last season, he was selected to coach the NZ Under 18 North Women's Sweep Squad.

A young coach with ability, his efforts over the last seasons at WCS have clearly been noted and he is earmarked for national coaching opportunities.

This coming season sees the strong father and son combination lead WCS Rowing into its next exciting phase.

The combination of Tyler's proven ability to develop fast boats and Gus's organisational and technical ability in the boat sheds is sure to see WCS Rowing progress to new heights.

Both are passionate, born-and-bred Whanganui men, with passion for Collegiate and WCS Rowing, while being highly skilled and knowledgeable rowing men.

Both have similar philosophies on rowing and gain intense pleasure and satisfaction seeing young boys and girls get hooked on the sport and importantly, getting the enjoyment out of rowing they themselves had, with lifelong friendships.

"Rowing is the ultimate team sport," said Tyler.

"You need synchronicity between you and up to eight others physically and mentally.

"It is one of the only sports where you can work your way into the lead and actually watch yourself beating your opposition.

"It is a sport which requires large amounts of dedication, focus and hard work It is a sport that develops boys and girls into young men and women of character.

"Most rowers who succeed would probably be described as being obsessed with making a fast boat.

"I think the scenery makes the sport unique; being able to be out in a very peaceful and serene environment – glass like water, mist, sun rising and native bush.

"The scenery is pretty incredible and definitely unique to our sport vs others."

Tyler said WCS is incredibly lucky to have a very supportive College Board, headmaster and staff, who support what they do in all the sports.

"Our school campus is a 10 minute cycle away from our wonderfully resourced boat shed, run by an experienced and knowledgeable manager, on the Whanganui River, arguably the best tidal rowing river in the country.

"We have close to a perfect set up for our rowers to progress in our sport of rowing in our well-structured, high-performance programme."