The champion national under-16 double sculls team of Sean Ducray and Sam Johnston will row the coxless pairs in 2013, as recent visits from Olympic champions have helped confirm their commitment to the sport.
The Waimea College students, who picked up the Nelson Mail junior sports team of the year award at the Nelson Sports Awards last week, believe the event will further their careers.
Double sculls will be their main event, but the slight change of tack is with an eye on the future.
There is only an under-18 pair at the Maadi Cup regatta, the National Championships for school rowing in New Zealand, so rowing it this season will give them a head start.
"It's a good boat to get recognised in," Sean said.
"That is what the RPC [Regional Performance Centre] and New Zealand trial look for, because it is a pretty hard boat to row," Sam said.
It is the same boat that Hamish Bond and Eric Murray have dominated for the past four years.
The Kiwi pair are unbeaten in the boat since they started, winning three world championships and an Olympic gold.
The Waimea College pair has tasted success on a national stage, but over the past months they have got to rub shoulders with a couple of Olympic and world champions. The Nelson Rowing club was visited by Eric Murray in November and last Friday it had an audience with five-time world champion Mahe Drysdale.
"They are both great rowers," Sean said.
"I found it useful to have an insight into the training they do and the amount of preparation they go through," Sam said.
Even after hearing Drysdale talk of once doing a 48km row in training, they still believed rowing was the sport for them.
They said the pure satisfaction of achieving a personal best or a title was worth all the hard work.
Plans for the duo were to row together while at college, and then to reassess.
An interest in picking up potential scholarships was also discussed, as well as a hope to row for junior New Zealand teams.
- The Nelson Mail