Oamaru is tasting success in its rarest rowing form — the eight.
An Oamaru men’s novice coxed eight — made up of Lachlan Wright, Zeke Goodsir, Harrison Weir, Finn Strang, Cody Marshall, Jett Rogers, Scott Hay, Lochlan McLaren and Henry Robinson — won gold at last weekend’s South Island Rowing Championships in 6min 24sec, 12sec ahead of second-placed St Bedes’ College, of Christchurch.
Lachlan said it was ‘‘pretty exhilarating’’ winning the race so convincingly and remaining unbeaten in their first season together.
‘‘It’s quite cool to have something to show for it,’’ he said.
The eight went straight to the final without a heat, due to windy conditions, so the boys were not sure what they would be up against.
Henry said there were crews they had not faced before, so they treated the final as a completely new race.
All rowers agreed it was their ‘‘chemistry’’ that was working for them — along with some great coaching and hard work — and their friendships outside of the boat.
Those friendships were put to the test when the eight split into two men’s novice coxed fours and went head to head in a tight final.
Lachlan, Zeke, Harrison and Finn teamed up with Harry Kelland to win gold again in 7min 15sec, 5sec faster than their fellow Oamaru crew of Cody, Jett, Scott, Lochlan and cox Greer Dickson.
Lachlan said it was exciting as the two Oamaru crews pulled away and it was cool to stand on the podium together.
Cody was rapt to get silver as his crew had trained together once and expected to get ‘‘smashed’’ at Lake Ruataniwaha.
Club captain and coach Ivan Docherty was impressed by his young rowers’ efforts, and said it was a rarity for Oamaru to take the top two places.
The crews had dominated as an eight and were starting to click as fours.
‘‘They’re just a young group of boys, they have a common goal of wanting to do well and working hard to realise that goal.
‘‘They back each other . . . that’s good quality that they’ve got there,’’ Docherty said.
Overall, Oamaru won two golds, five silvers and two bronze medals at the championships.
The women’s intermediate coxed four and the women’s novice coxed four both won silver, and the women’s novice coxed eight won bronze, with great boat speed against a classy field, he said.
Oamaru’s focus is now on New Zealand Rowing Championships on February 14-18.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions the event was moved from Lake Karapiro, in the North Island, to Lake Ruataniwha in Twizel.
It was a welcome change for Oamaru rowers to be able to compete at home.
A squad of 27 Oamaru rowers will compete for more than 13 titles. The rowers were also getting ready for South Island Secondary School Championships and the Maadi Cup.