It has been all go on the Whanganui River over the last two weeks with all Whanganui Rowing Clubs getting more and more time on the river, doing the much needed "Miles Build Champions" training.
They have been working with their school and club rowers to start preparing them for the pointy end of the season, the 2019 Rocket Fuel NZ Champs in a month and/or 2019 Maadi Cup in just over two months.
We have also had the usual compliment of visiting Wellington schools and clubs, basing their rowing camps on our awa, based at either Union Boat Club or the Whanganui River Top 10 Holiday Park, which is a fabulous location for water-based training with quick easy access to the river and a range of accomodation and holiday park options.
By the time this column is read, Aramoho-Whanganui, Union Boat Club and Collegiate Rowing Club will be on their way to Lake Karapiro again for a double regatta — Cambridge Town Cup and North Island Club Champs from January 25-28 with the Monday being Auckland Anniversary Day, so a public holiday in the Waikato region.
The Cambridge Town Cup Regatta is for age group school rowers from under 15 to under 18 and the North Island Champs are for under 19, novice, intermediate, club, senior, premier under 20 and premier events that feature our NZ Elite Summer Squad rowers, including our own Chris Harris and Kerri and Jackie Gowler.
Medals are up for offer at the North Island Champ regatta and all our clubs have entered crews, although the schools will generally focus on the school events.
Aramoho and Union sent good contingents to the Hawkes Bay Cup Regatta on January 5-6 with a lone George Nilsson, the only Collegiate rower and grandson of former Olympic rower and coach, Chris Nilsson.
This regatta is a slightly more fun, relaxed New Year's holiday-type regatta and from reports I have heard the nine clubs who entered and 223 rowers who raced enjoyed a well run, fun format regatta in good weather conditions. Heats were held on the Saturday afternoon, which left time for clubs to travel over in the morning, and finals were held Sunday morning, leaving time for a early afternoon departure.
Aramoho made 35 A Finals, had 24 top 3 places and 11 wins. Jaimee Bridger, Niamh Mullany, Jonty Thomson and Luke Watts had three wins each but nice to see the young Womens Novice Double combination of Georgina Ross and Messina Su'a grab the win from their teammates, Perris Adam and Danja Grunwald.
Union had a great regatta with 14 A Finals, 8 top 3 placings, a win to Neo Tichbon and Tomasi Connor in the Mens Club Single and a B Final win to their Womens Novice Quad of Aaliyah Grant, Emma Harrell, Zara Gapes, Rhiannon Peni and Hunter Moulder (cox).
Perhaps the highlight of the regatta was a round of sprint 250 metre races, similar to an event I raced in many years ago in Brisbane. Five sprints of about 1 minute duration were held over Mens and Womens Single, Mixed Double, Quad and Eight.
Although the experienced Luke Watts won the Mens Single, young Cameron Daignault of Union stormed home in 2nd, ahead of Maadi Under 18 Bronze medallist, Fergus Ritchie.
Similarly, Union's Jaedyn Thompson, back rowing over her summer university break, beat Aramoho's accomplished North Island Under 18 sculler, Niamh Monk into 2nd place. Hugh Pawson and Ally Bennett from Aramoho took out the Mixed Double race.
Looking forward to good conditions and racing this weekend at Lake Karapiro and will report back following the regatta.