Summer has well and truly arrived and with the 2019 Downer NZ Masters Games in full swing, while school's started for the year and all normal summer sports are building up to many major events.
Whanganui is living up to the "Sports City" moto it had for many years and seems to be gaining again.
As I reported last week, the North Island Rowing Championships were held January 26-28 at Lake Karapiro, in tandem with the Cambridge Town Cup School age regatta.
This regatta is a prelude to the 2019 Rocket Fuel NZ Rowing Championships being held at Lake Ruataniwha, near Twizel from February 19-23, which is the penultimate event for non-school rowers and our elite rowers.
All three local clubs competed for North Island Titles, with Whanganui Collegiate only entering eight rowers, Union Boat Club entering most of their rowers and Aramoho Whanganui's senior school girls and club rowers concentrating on this regatta.
Union entered 13 events, made four A Finals and won a Bronze medal in the Mens Under 19 Coxed Four.
The four – Donny Thompson, Kurt Browning, Neo Tichbon, Tomasi Connor plus cox Sienna McLean – enjoyed this event, aimed at keeping rowers in the sport after school and achieving just that for Thompson and Browning.
Tichbon, Connor, novice rower Tama Casserley and Cameron Daignault, with cox McLean, fought a gutsy race in the Mens Intermediate Coxed Quad to place fifth and just two seconds off bronze and Jaedyn Thompson and Leigha Stormont placed seventh in the Women's Intermediate Double.
Collegiate entered nine crews, made three A Finals and won a Bronze in the Mens Club Coxless Quad.
That crew was Leo Hanna, Blake Hogan, Tim Haldane and Sam Yorsten and although they led most of the way and racing in a coxed boat with no steering, they couldn't hang on in the final 250m.
Their Mens Intermediate Double of second year rowers Yorsten and Joseph Hazelhurst raced well again for fourth place.
AWRC entered a whopping 31 events, made 17 A Finals and won two Gold, two Silver and two Bronze medals.
One gold was won by AWRC's Women's Club Coxed Four of Niamh Murphy, Grace Hogan, Jaimee Bridger, Mikayla Manville and young cox, Campbell Monk, who battled all the way against Star from Wellington to grab the win.
The other was won by the Senior Mens Coxless Quad in the experienced Luke Watts, Jonty Thomson, Tom Monaghan and Hugh Pawson, who also got fourth in the Premier Quad.
The silvers were won by Watts and Jonty Thomson in the Senior Double and then the Senior Coxless Four through Jonty and Guy Thomson, Monaghan and Pawson in a tough race with Waikato.
Watts had to settle for Bronze in the Senior Single, therefore taking one medal of each colour for these champs.
The Dave Dudley-coached Under 18 Girls Quad Scull of Zeah Brewer, Niamh Monk, Bridger and Ella Dudley picked up a nice bronze medal in the Womens Senior Coxless Quad event, leaving Bridger with two well earned medals for the regatta.
There were many other good performances and learnings from this regatta and with Whanganui Rowing/Secondary School Rowing Champs on our river today, with 1000m heats from 8am and 2000m finals to follow, it's another chance for rowers and coaches to monitor progress and combinations, as well as fight for titles.
It is buildup to the Rocket Fuel NZ Champs in less then two weeks and/or the North Island and NZ Secondary School Rowing Champs in February and March.
You're very welcome to come down to the Aramoho course with the finish line area opposite Caroline's Boatshed Bar & Eatery.