Southern rowers at full stroke at Easter holiday

SARAH HAMILTON
Last updated 05:00 25/04/2014

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It was a busy Easter for many southern rowers.

The New Zealand Universities Rowing Championships were hosted by Otago University on Lake Waihola on Saturday and 10 Southland athletes trialled for places in the South Island under-18 team on Lake Ruataniwha over the break.

The universities regatta involved 10 institutions, two of them Chinese, competing over 32 events.

Seven athletes whose summer rowing is based at the Waihopai Rowing Club competed for their tertiary institution, Otago University.

Scott Barnsdale was part of the Hebberly Shield-winning men's championship eight.

Also leading the way for Otago university were Lisa Owen and Morgan Shepherd in the Tamaki Cup-winning women's eight.

In both the long-distance, 3.2 kilometre race and the standard 2km race, the top Otago eight was chased by its second eight, including three other athletes based in Southland over summer - Jessica Hayes, Olivia MacDonald and Annabel Ronald.

On the back of performances at the regatta, Owen has time-trialled for, and met, the criteria for selection into the New Zealand Universities team to compete at the 2014 World University Rowing Championships in Gravelines, France, from September 12 to 14.

Owen will compete in the lightweight single at the regatta, which is part of the Rowing NZ high-performance pathway.

Further north and an age-group lower, 10 southern U18 triallists were whittled down to six selected for the South Island team - a record number of Southland Rowing Association-affiliated athletes to make the girls and boys coxed quads and eights.

The six then went to Lake Karapiro for first and final training runs together.

The responsibility of coxing the boy's U18 quad was given to New Zealand championship and Maadi title-winning Wakatipu coxswain Henry Matthews.

Matthews is joined in the boat by fellow club member Dylan O'Connor and by Cameron Perkins from James Hargest College.

Perkins' three-medal haul at the Maadi Cup regatta made him a likely inclusion.

Invercargill Rowing Club and Hargest crewmate, Rowan Haveron, trialled his way into the St Bede's-Christ College-dominated boys eight.

Michaela Townshend will compete in the quad alongside Waihopai and Southland Girls' High School crewmate Georgia Smith.

The duo were gold medallists in the U17 quad at the Maadi Cup. They are joined in the quad by nearest-rowing neighbours Lucy Geddes of Dunstan Arm Rowing Club and Kavanagh College's Anna O'Leary.

The crew will be coxed by Roncalli College's Olivia Cockcroft to make an all-southern-South Island crew.

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Dunstan can boast a further selection in Ella Galletly, who was included in the girls' eight.

The regatta runs alongside the Rowing NZ junior trials at Lake Karapiro, in which Southland Boys High School's Tim Yaxley will be staking his claim for selection.

- The Southland Times

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