Oamaru rower Jared Brenssell is confident the Oamaru Rowing Club’s squad for next week’s New Zealand rowing championships will be fighting fit, after illness hampered its performances at the South Island championships.
The men’s club coxless quad of Brenssell, James Scott, Charlie Wallis and Angus Harper was picked to win gold at the South Island regatta on Lake Ruataniwha last weekend.
However, it had to settle for bronze in the A final – four seconds behind the winning Avon crew – after Scott and Wallis were struck down by a virus.
Brenssell said it was a shame the quad crew was not able to perform at its peak on the day. He was confident those affected by the virus would be in top shape for the national championships, to be staged on Lake Ruataniwha from Tuesday to Saturday.
“Things are shaping up pretty good. We’ll hopefully be injury and sickness free by the nationals. So far training’s going well. Owen (Gould, coach) is upping the ante a wee bit.”
Brenssell will once again combine with Scott, Wallis and Harper in the quad, and also race in two doubles events with Scott and Wallis.
He won bronze with the former at the South Island champs in the men’s under-19 double, while Scott claimed another bronze for the club in the under-19 single scull.
Brenssell is also part of the coxed four – alongside the three he will team with in the quad – and cox Jessica Mulligan.
The quad will be looking to at least match their bronze medal-winning performance at last year’s national championships, which featured Mark Taylor ahead of Harper.
“We’re hoping to try to medal and do better,” Brenssell said.
He said given the quad was not at its best at the South Island championships, it was not easy to gauge how the crew was tracking.
“We couldn’t really tell, with three of the four sick or injured. It was hard to know where we were at – hopefully we’ll be about there.”
The crew had been training hard on the Waihao River, according to Brenssell.
“We’ve been spending a lot of time on the quad so hopefully that works out. I suppose it’s a bit unusual, spending so much time in the one boat.”
The St Kevin’s College contingent of the club – Georgia Oakes, Laura Preston, Rhylee Bell and Sophie Brien – will no longer be attending the regatta.