With summer rowing season and Maadi Cup in Twizel last month and New Zealand and North Island trials all over, it's a good time to reflect on the season gone and get motivated for what lies ahead.
The highlights of the 2018 Aon Maadi Cup have been highlighted by the Wanganui Chronicle recently and I don't intend to revisit it, except to say Whanganui was well represented.
Cullinane College (CC), Whanganui Girls' College, Whanganui High School (WHS) and Wanganui Collegiate School (WCS) sent a total of 67 rowers and coxswains to Lake Ruataniwha in Twizel.
Going with them were 11 coaches and an abundance of parents and supporters, who did every job from feeding and plenty of washing, to being more nervous than the rowers at race time, but offering a hug and support whether the result was considered successful or disappointing.
As with any outdoor sport, especially one involving 2km of water in the Mackenzie Country, unfortunately the weather played too much of a role at times.
One full day of racing was lost due to temperatures dropping to 2 degrees overnight, and a number of crews ending up in the water the night before, due to rough conditions.
Losing that day's racing crammed the programme and culminated in all the A and B finals being raced on the Saturday, rather than over two days.
This resulted in coaches having to make some hard decisions over the number of races their rowers entered.
For example, the Maadi Cup-winning Christ's College under-18 boys' eight scratched from their other under-18 events, with nobody in the boat having more than two finals that day.
For WCS, that meant withdrawing from three coveted A finals and one B final.
Overall, Whanganui schools made 18 A finals (WCS in 14 and WHS in four), 11 B finals (WCS seven, WHS three and CC one) with WCS winning all three colours of medals — a gold, a silver and three bronzes.
The flow-on effect of those overall strong performances saw four WCS and one WHS rower selected for either the under-18 North Island or New Zealand junior trial.
As already reported, Jamie Harris (WCS) in the New Zealand juniors and Catherine Pearce (WCS) and Niamh Monk (WHS) for the North Island team stepped up and made the squads.
It was a significant achievement for Jonty Wright, a novice rower, to even gain a national junior trial and it sounds like he did very well.
Likewise, Harris performed very strongly to make the team, as these trials are brutal, with Rowing New Zealand being a strong performing squad on the world stage and having so many young rowers to pick from.
Jamie will soon have to relocate to Lake Karapiro for two months of training before racing in the Czech Republic during August 8-12.
The school-aged rowers go to St Peter's School near Cambridge for lessons and train twice a day, six days a week.
These trips come at a significant cost to the rower and their family, with not much change out of $10,000, so I'm sure Wanganui Collegiate and others will endeavour to help fundraise for Jamie.
I will feature some news about the success of our Masters rowers at the annual Legion Masters Regatta in my next column, but if you think it's time to get out the armchair, think again.
The newly named Blinkhorne and Carroll Forestry Whanganui Winter Series starts with a 5km gallop at 9.30am on Sunday, May 13, starting at the 2km finish line in Aramoho.
These monthly races are great for strength endurance training and have the added incentive this year of $1000 in prize money, split over each race for places 1-5 and a spot prize.
So rowers, kayakers and waka ama racers, keep training and I hope to see you there.