Emma Spittle’s Maadi Cup success has taken a while to sink in.
As the Waitaki Girls’ High School rower crossed the finish line, claiming silver in the under-16 single sculls last week, everything happened so quickly she was unsure whether she had made the top three.
‘‘I didn’t really believe it, I had to ask the safety boat if I medalled,’’ the 16-year-old said.
‘‘I was pretty excited. It felt pretty awesome.’’
Heading into the Maadi Cup sitting in fifth place from her efforts in previous regattas, Emma, in her first season in the single, was determined to push through and get a medal, as it was the final regatta of the season.
‘‘I feel I wanted it and also the conditions were a lot like the [Oamaru] Harbour, so I was used to it, where some of the other girls might not have been.’’
Emma has performed well all season. At previous regattas, she regularly led her races, but fell short in the final 500m.
Two weeks before Maadi Cup, Oamaru Rowing Club captain and coach Ivan Docherty gave Emma a rowing erg machine, and a training schedule to help boost her stamina.
She had been getting up at 5.15am to train before school — and the hard work paid off.
Emma said she could not have got to the top without Docherty’s help.
Emma started rowing three years ago, sculling in Oamaru’s intermediate four, and in the under-16 double, with either April Linares-Fontona, or Bailie Lynch, of St Kevin’s College.
However, when the club split for secondary school competitions, Emma was left with no other Waitaki Girls’ athletes her age to row with.
But she enjoyed the challenge of testing herself in the single.
‘‘It has been quite fun, especially since every time I’m in the water I can feel myself improving — that was exciting.’’
Emma has been selected to trial for the South Island under-18 team, from April 22 to 24, and was back training with Docherty this week to prepare.
Docherty was proud of Emma, and all the Oamaru school teams, for their efforts at Maadi Cup.
‘‘Emma led the charge with her brilliant silver,’’ Docherty said.
In the A finals, Waitaki Girls’ novice four placed fourth, as did the St Kevin’s College novice boys double, who missed out on bronze by 1.2 seconds. Waitaki Boys’ High School novice boys four finished in fifth place.
‘‘They went out there and with pride wore their school colours and gave it their all,’’ Docherty said.
‘‘I can’t ask for more . . .they did their talking on the water against the best in New Zealand secondary schools.’’