The Whanganui region's rowing season has been busy of late with clubs and schools active since the beginning of Term 4 in early October, teaching new rowers (novices) and getting current rowers up to speed to race before the Christmas break.
The season started with the Johns Trophy Regatta in Waitarai on Saturday, November 28 with good conditions, following flood waters preceding the regatta.
Local club Clifton, which I coach, and Whanganui Collegiate were joint winners on 107 points, with Aramoho Whanganui third on 85 points and Union Boat Club on 6 points.
It was a fun day, with racing over 1300 metres, with the mixed eight memorable for Collegiate with their head coach Tyler Scott jumping in the boat with old boys, Leo Hanna and Blake Hogan and a fitting send off from school rowing for Phoebe Collier, before she headed down to join the Central High Performance Squad in Blenheim.
The following weekend was the chance for Whanganui to put on its biggest regatta of the year, the Jury Cup on December 5-6.
Ten clubs with many linked schools and 480 rowers raced over 2000 metres on the Aramoho 2km course, with racing postponed due to rough water conditions about 2pm on the Saturday and although Hawke's Bay Rowing Club was unable to stay until Sunday, all other clubs and most rowers stayed overnight and the regatta concluded on Sunday in good conditions.
Star Boating Club, a large club from Wellington, with a number of linked schools, won the Jury Cup for the second year in a row, with Hawke's Bay second and Aramoho Whanganui in third place.
The final regatta prior to the Christmas break was the Karapiro Christmas Regatta from December 11-13 with 47 clubs/schools and 2322 rowers/coxswains, including our New Zealand Tokyo Olympic rowers, descending on Lake Karapiro.
Whanganui Rowing Association clubs generally performed well with Aramoho having a squad of 29, Clifton (New Plymouth) 32, Collegiate 68 and just one rower from Union Boat Club.
Aramoho rowers made their way to 14 A Finals for two second placings and three thirds.
Their girls under 16 and 17 coxed quad of Portia Eastabrook, Reeve Watson, Victoria Soutar, Eliza Maxey and Lillie Taylor (cox) was second and third in those events and looks strong.
The boys under 17/18 squad also performed well with Jordan Manville 4th in U18 Single and 2nd in club double with James Clear joining Michael Sturdee, John Turner, Joseph Barritt and Lillie Taylor (cox) for third in boys under 17 quad. Georgina Ross and Messina Su'a had a strong third in the girls under 17 double.
Clifton made 17 A finals with a win in the men's intermediate double from Joshua Keech and Jack Graystone, a 3rd in girls under 16 single from Jill Zwart and 3rd also in the women's intermediate quad.
Collegiate made 14 A finals with strong wins in both the girls under 17 and 18 four and under 18 eight, with the under 18s of Holly Lennox, Jaime Maybery, Margy Hazelhurst and Alyana du Fresne, from the four, being joined by under 17 four winners, Emily McKinlay, Anna Bullock, Gretel Murphy, Olivia Leask and Bella Stevenson-Watt in the eight.
Murphy and McKinlay were then joined by Tessa Norman, Samantha Hayes and Bridget Jones-Long (cox) to take second place in the under 17 quad. Blake Paynter gained a strong 2nd place in the boys under 18 single and the boys under 17 four of Nilsson, Poulton, Brunger, Hopkinson and Stevenson-Watt (cox) placed third.
Next up on the Whanganui racing agenda is the 2021 Billy Webb Challenge, with the Rigtec Men's and Women's Single Scull Trophies and $500 cash prize up for grabs, on Sunday, January 24 in association with Bayleys Whanganui Vintage Weekend.