The pressure is on for Auckland’s schoolgirl rowers in the lead up to the Maadi Cup after strong performances across the board at the recent North Island Secondary Schools Regatta.
Auckland Diocesan and Epsom Girls Grammar grabbed two titles each, Westlake Girls secured one, and all three schools won a number of other medals.
The North Island regatta saw 1577 athletes compete and was raced over three days at Lake Karapiro.
Olivia Hartstone, one of the coaches at Auckland Diocesan, is proud of the “guts and determination” the school’s athletes showed to come away from the regatta with five medals.
One of the standout performances was by Amy Mills, Virginia Doherty, Olivia Underwood, Paige Turley and Olivia Bollen who dominated the under-17 coxed quad final.
The crew maintained a high level of technical finesse to beat silver medallists Hamilton Girls High School by more than 11 seconds.
Mills and Doherty grabbed a second gold in the under-17 double with a convincing six-second win over Pukekohe High School.
Three further medals in the under-17 and under-18 eights completed Dio’s medal haul.
Hartstone says her squad’s North Island successes show strong promise for solid performances at Maadi.
A young Epsom Girls Grammar School squad showed Maadi potential with a 14-second win over St Peters Cambridge in the under-15 coxed quad.
Sam Henry, spokesperson for the Epsom Girls Grammar coaching team, says: “We are focusing on building our strength for future seasons. We would eventually like to dominate more in the older events.”
Henry says because many of the school’s rowers are novices, they don’t know what to expect at the Maadi Cup and are “a bit nervous”.
The top performance in the Westlake Girls squad was gold in the under-15 coxed four, but coach Anna Stanley is most proud of the school winning medals in three eights events in the under-15, under-16 and under-17 age groups.
“There’s a real excitement among the girls for Maadi. It’s a feeling of let’s get going, let’s get it on, but there’s a few nerves too,” Stanley says.
Seventeen-hundred athletes have been confirmed for the week-long Maadi Cup, which begins on Monday at Lake Ruataniwha in Twizel and is the New Zealand Secondary Schools Rowing Nationals.
The regatta represents the peak of the seven-month school rowing season.
Simon Peterson, chief executive of Rowing New Zealand, says Maadi Cup is hugely significant to rowing in New Zealand.
“The event generates large profile that is very positive for young people who are rowers. The secondary school rowing age group provides the foundations for our next elite world champions. “
Live Maadi Cup results will be available online at www.rowit.co.nz.