The 2015 Bankstream National Rowing Championships concluded in near darkness at 9.30pm on Saturday evening with rowers receiving their hard-earned gongs at the last of the medal ceremonies.
After a week of conditions perfect for rowing, wind halted racing for more than three hours on Saturday, forcing a late finish for the rowers and their supporters.
The Oamaru Women’s Under-19 four of Maysie Scott, Julia Fauth, Micaela Irvine, Sydney Telfer and cox Jessica Mulligan managed to hold their focus over the long delay and bring home a bronze medal in the third to last event of the day.
As planned by head coach Owen Gould, the crew produced a determined sprint at the 800m mark to join leaders Canterbury and Wanganui at the front of the field. The young team’s determination to win was immense as the three leading crews took an unassailable lead.
At the 1500m mark the Oamaru crew charged at the leaders, only to come up centimetres short of silver medal winner Wanganui.
Earlier on Saturday, Maysie Scott and Sydney Telfer won gold in the A-final of the Women’s Under-19 doubles event.
Scott and Telfer built a strong lead by the 1000m mark and chasing crews East Coast and Nelson/Marlborough were unable to close the margin by the finish with Oamaru winning gold by half a boat length.
Novice Waitaki Boys’ High School rowers Riku Koyama, Jared Brensell, Oscar Pedersen and Gus Harper, coxed by Jessica Mulligan, began the week in fine form, winning bronze in the A-final of the Men’s Novice coxed four.
The young team showed fine fitness and technique to beat strong crews from Auckland, Wellington, Nelson/Marlborough and Timaru but could not overtake winners Wanganui and silver medallists Canterbury.
Fellow Waitaki pupil Mark Taylor continued to show his great potential, the 15-year-old partnered Charlie Wallis and fought hard for a sixth-placed finish in the A-final of the Men’s Under-19 double.
In all, the 11 local rowers competed in 14 events and collected a medal haul of one gold and two bronze from eight A-finals and three B-finals.
This year’s event proved to be the Oamaru Club’s strongest showing at NZ Rowing National Championships since the 1959 regatta held at Lake Waihola, where five medals were won.
Oamaru’s Empire Games gold medallists Win Stephens and George Paterson were lakeside to enjoy the club’s performance and took the opportunity to give the senior girls a pep talk prior to their bronze medal row.
Club Captain Peter Scott said he was proud of the dedication shown by the local rowers.
“It has been a great week away with a fantastic group of young people,” he said.
“They worked so hard and achieved so much. We are very lucky to have such a dedicated coach as Owen Gould and supportive parents.”
The focus for the Oamaru Club will now shift to school regattas which begin in a fortnight’s time.
The South Island Secondary School Championships will be rowed at Lake Ruataniwha, followed by the The Maadi Cup at Lake Karapiro in Cambridge from March 23 to 28.
By James Ford
PHOTO: SUPPLIED – Winners of the Women’s Under-19 doubles event Maysie Scott (left) and Sydney Telfer.