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Testing themselves . . . New Oamaru Rowing Clun members (from near to far) Amelia Wilkinson (14), Harriet Heapy (15), Georgia Marris (14), Quinn Plunkett (15) and Isla Harrington (14) train on the rowing machines. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON

A recent recruitment drive has resulted in the Oamaru Rowing Club’s best numbers “in a long time”, coach Owen Gould says.

Last term, New Zealand under 23 rower Mark Taylor spoke at Oamaru’s three secondary schools, encouraging pupils to give rowing a go.

Taylor spoke about his progression in rowing and offered new rowers the opportunity to train with him, which had proved popular, Gould said.

This season, 26 new rowers, mainly secondary school students, signed up.

Now, the Oamaru Rowing Club has 40 rowers training, Gould said.

“We haven’t had these numbers for a long time. It has been very successful.

“Logistically, it has been a bit of a challenge but we’ll come out the other side.”

Next weekend, an Oamaru team will compete in the Aoraki Regatta at Lake Ruataniwha.

“It’s one that really promotes the novices,” Gould said.

“After that they make up their mind whether they are in or out. By the look of it, the majority are in.”

There were some “really talented” novice rowers training this season and Gould is optimistic about their potential.

Most of the new recruits were year 9 and 10 pupils, which meant they had plenty of time to develop their skills, he said.

One newcomer to the club was St Kevin’s College pupil Georgia Marris, who said she joined to keep fit during the summer months.

“It’s really good, it keeps you fit. It’s the best fitness sport I have done,” she said.

“The people who run it are really kind and they push you to do your best.”

She was “excited” to be taking part in next weekend’s Aoraki Regatta.