Clubmates to race in repecharge

Clubmates Louise Ayling and Lisa Owen have to race each other today in the NZ Rowing Championships.

The pair will face off against each other in today's repechage of the women's premier lightweight single after both placed third in their respective heats at the Bankstream NZ championships yesterday.

While Ayling is racing in the event for the Central Regional Performance Centre (RPC) and has been based in Karapiro with the New Zealand Rowing "summer squad" since October, she races in her Waihopai Rowing Club colours of red white and green. Similarly, Owen has been based away from the Oreti River, training since November with the Southern RPC in Christchurch.

Because only the first two placegetters in the two lightweight single heats go directly through to Friday's six-boat final, Ayling and Owen will have to take the first two places in the repechage today to progress to the A final.

These two, along with club squads from Wakatipu Rowing Club and Waihopai Rowing Club, are competing in the national club championship until Saturday and will vie for national championship, senior club and underage titles from Thursday afternoon through to Saturday.

Heats day is always the biggest day first up in the regatta, where each of the 70 events are raced to see who goes through directly to semi-finals and finals or who has to have to take the "hard-road" through repechages.

In the second event of the day - the senior men's coxless fours - the first Southland clubs in action took to Lake Karapiro, with Wakatipu and Waihopai's fours going straight through to the final because there were fewer then eight entries in the event.

Wakatipu's Latham Jones, Reid Long, Willem van der Kaag and Chris Johnson are the best club four in the South Island after winning the coxed event at South Island Championships two weeks ago and placing second in the coxless open four there also. Coached by Andrew "Jock" Jolly, this crew has been leading the way for the Lakes District club over the season and placed fourth in the senior four heat by one hundredth of a second from third placed Waikato Rowing Club. The crew will look to the final on Friday to go at least one second and place better.

Rowing NZ has added a Boss Hen Trophy to the women's senior four competition, alongside the Boss Rooster Trophy for the men's premier coxed fours. The men's trophy has a 113-year history and the winner of the event can paint the trophy in their club colours.

Waihopai's four of Jessica Hayes, Morgan Shepherd, Olivia MacDonald and Annabel Ronald had a positive first outing in what is another straight final, placing third to West End (Auckland) and Nelson Rowing Club crews.

Hayes and Shepherd were bronze medallists in the senior four at last year's national champs and will be eying up the new trophy, which will be raced for tomorrow.

West End was again the leader in another women's senior event, heading off Waihopai's quad of Shepherd, Hayes, MacDonald and Georgia Yaxley by over seven seconds but the southerners were ahead of Hawkes Bay by 3sec and will know they will have to step up another level come Friday.

Wakatipu's senior four faced a tight turnaround from the four to make the start of the men's club eight yesterday morning, combining with fellow Wakatipu rower Daniel Halligan and Waihopai's club squad of Josh Hayes, Florian Hafliger and Adam Carter to manage third place in the second heat of three.

With four crews in the two other heats recording times within the six minute flat mark, this composite crew will have the opportunity to be fresher for the repechage they will face today.

In the men's club coxed four the Wakatipu four coxed by Henry Matthews, look to be in the gold medal mix after winning the first heat in a time on par with the first heat winners Waikato.

Waihopai's women's club double of Katie Moffat and Amy Jenkins recorded a win in the first heat of the event but their time was still one second short of club compatriots Julie Russell and Penny Barnsdale, who placed fourth in the second heat. Moffatt and Jenkins will progress directly to the semi-final on Thursday morning while Russell and Barnsdale will have to progress via repechage today.

Another Barnsdale on course for a positive regatta was older brother Scott Barnsdale, who placed second in the first heat of the senior pair with Mark O'Connor. The duo will be buoyed by their second fastest time over the two heats but will have to back that up again today in the repechage as only the first from the heats progressed directly to the final which will be raced on Friday.

For 2013 elite four representative Jade Uru, this New Zealand Rowing Championships will look significantly different from all previous years in that he will be predominantly sculling with two oars rather than his traditional single sweep-oar discipline. Having been excluded from the summer squad training at Lake Karapiro and instead teaming up with former NZ elite representative John Storey at RPC South's Christchurch base, Uru raced in the premier double and quad yesterday. Uru and Storey's time in the double sees them equal their RPC stable-mates Hayden Cohen and Fergus Fauvel's time in the second heat, but both crews were five seconds down on front-running Manson brothers, Karl and Robbie, from Central RPC. The four Christchurch based RPC South rowers, Uru, Storey, Fauvel and Cohen had to again settle for second behind the Central RPC premier quad, though it may have been third with Auckland RPC hot on their heels.

Two other RPC South based Waihopai rowers, Genevieve Behrent and Kristen Froude have gained New Zealand trials in just over a weeks' time, by virtue of results at South Island Club Championships two weeks ago. This week is about proving those results against the other elite rowers. Behrent and Froude will compete together in the women's premier four and eight, which will be three-boat finals on Friday and Saturday and Behrent will contest the premier single, though will have to go through repechages to make the final.

Froude is also competing in the under 22 eight and pair, both of which are straight finals but will be raced separately tomorrow and Friday.

The Southland Times