The club and elite summer rowing season is completed with the 2018 Rocket Fuel NZ Rowing Championships over and the fabulous performances of Aramoho rowers.
The charge was led by the evergreen Luke Watts, who ably lead a small but focused group of young men, taking out the senior sculling trifecta in the single, double and quadruple sculls, a trifecta of medals for young Levi Carroll, the first Union medals in many years from Kurt Browning and Donovan Thompson in the composite club quad and a well-deserved bronze by Ally Bennett and Niamh Monk in the women's club double.
Rowing attention now turns to the Aon North and South Island Secondary School Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro and Ruataniwha near Twizel, as the final run down and check of form leading into the famous Maadi Cup, Aon NZ Secondary Schools Rowing Championships in Twizel on March 19-24.
Up north at Lake Karapiro this weekend nearly 2000 rowers aged between 14 and 18 will be competing for 52 North Island titles and the medals to go with it. Whanganui Rowing will be well represented by Whanganui High School (23 rowers and coxswain), Cullinane College (17), Whanganui Girls College (6) Wanganui Collegiate School (53) and Nga Tawa Diocesan School (1) for a total of 100 rowers and coaches.
Collegiate, with the biggest squad, will be represented in every age group from under 15, 16, 17, 18 boys and girls crews and a novice girl's double. Head coach, David Lindstrom is quietly confident of achieving 15-20 A finals and hopefully some podiums.
He says a lot of squads are going really well, including the boy's and girl's under 17 eights, girl's under 17 four, boy's under 16 quadruple and double scull.
Its been a bit of a messy week or so for Collegiate with their big summer weekend of swimming and athletics, as well as other House activities taking most crews off the water, but they have been doing the hard yards since coming back from the Christmas break and medals could be expected in the crews named above, especially Jamie Harris in the under 18 single, possibly the under 18 boy's double of Wright and Stanford and hopefully a final or two from the girl's under 15 and 16 squads.
The boy's under 15 and 16 squads are only really pulling their squads together now, so the expectations are not so high on them.
Whanganui High School is a smaller but very slick mainly sculling squad under head coach Pedro Figueira and his capable group of volunteer coaches. Expectations are relatively high for the girl's under 16 and 17 quadruple sculls squad, who spend a large proportion of time in their quads and Niamh Monk also in her under 17 single.
With only three boys currently competing, it will be interesting to see how Levi Carroll and Jonty Thomson fare in the tough secondary school under 18 grades in their double and pair, but the hard racing at NZ Champs will have done them no harm at all.
Cullinane College has a good size squad of 17 with eight girl and boy rowers apiece and jointly coached by Grant Ryder and Bob Evans down at Union Boat Club.
Going by recent performances their boy's under 18 quad and girl's under 17 quad, with a change of crew member in each boat since the last time at Karapiro would be looking at a good B final, if not pushing into A final results.
The girl's under 17 double of Keenan and Reid and under 18 novice double of Weir and Carrano De Oliveira may be dark horses to watch for and, of course, young Neo Tichbon goes from strength to strength in the under 16 single.
Whanganui Girl's College, also coached by Ryder and Evans, have seven entries with their two novice doubles of Neil and Stormont and Duncan and Robertson looking to put up a good showing in this very big, competitive novice event and Siena McLean in the under 16 single performing well.
Kathryn Fleming of Nga Tawa under Figueira's regime will have it tough in the girl's under 16 and 17 single, as she is actually under 15, but their is no single at that level.
Following this weekend's racing our school rowers will head back home to school with a fairly short turn-a-round of one and a half weeks training on the river prior to loading up trailers and heading over Cook Strait.
There they will attend the week-long Maadi Cup in the heart of MacKenzie Country where over 2000 rowers will battle it out for NZ Secondary School titles.