Perfect race a golden moment

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New Zealand athletics great Jack Lovelock referred to his “perfect race” after winning Olympic 1500m gold in Berlin in 1936.
Waitaki Boys’ High School rower Mark Taylor now knows exactly how the legendary runner was feeling.
Taylor (17) produced his perfect race to glide to victory in the under-17 single sculls at the Maadi Cup regatta on Lake Ruataniwha last Friday.
The year 13 pupil backed up his win in the under-16 grade last year with a commanding performance in the under-17 final against the elite young rowers in New Zealand, confirming his status as one of the country’s rising oarsmen to watch.
“It’s still a bit of a buzz,” Taylor told the Oamaru Mail after a school ceremony honouring his exploits.
“I really just wanted to make an A final. With so many rowers at the Maadi Cup, that’s quite a reasonable goal. To get myself into the final was cool, and getting that gold medal wrapped around my neck just topped it off.
“That was definitely the best final I’ve ever rowed.”That summation was shared by coach Owen Gould, Taylor said.
“He just said it was perfect.”Taylor said he had a simple plan, and stuck to it. He knew his main rival, Cambridge High School rower Sam Monkley, was very strong over the first kilometre.
“I decided to push him to his breaking point, and it really worked. Over the last 750m, I gained a lot of metres on him, and he had nothing left.”A nice feature of the Maadi Cup is how it can bond rowers from the same town.
Taylor said he was boosted by the noise made on the side of the river by rowers from St Kevin’s College and Waitaki Girls’ High School as well as his own schoolmates.
“All the Oamaru schools stick together really well. It was a cool feeling to hear them cheering me in the final.”Taylor, who has taken inspiration from sister Erica, a talented rower turned coach, has now been invited to trial for the New Zealand junior team on Lake Karapiro next week. He knows it will be tough but is ready to give it his best shot.
“The big goal is to row for New Zealand but there are a lot of little steps to get there.”om15maadicup2