Auckland's Diocesan School for Girls looking for gold at Maadi Cup
A sense of expectation will greet Auckland's Diocesan School for Girls when they travel to Lake Karapiro for the 2017 Maadi Cup rowing regatta next week.
Dio's under 18 girls eight are the defending national champions and if their recent form is anything to go by, all eyes will be fixed on them as the team to beat.
They returned from the North Island Secondary Schools Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro last weekend with their third consecutive North Island gold, cementing their place as one of the country's best.
For head rowing coach Rachel Williams, the school's overall performance at the recent regatta is a testament to where the club has come in the last four years.
"Overall we made 17 A-finals, which is the most in that competition," Williams said.
"The squad raced really well and it's what we push a lot at Dio rowing. We talk a lot about the whole club pushing for the same success."
Williams said she couldn't be prouder of the under 18 eight, who joined four fellow Dio crews on the podium throughout the regatta.
The under 15 eight picked up bronze, while the under 15 four picked up silver. The under 18 pairs also dominated the podium with a gold and bronze finish in the final.
However, the eight has always been the pinnacle event and Williams said their win stood out for the club.
"To have our top eight really inspiring the club at the end of the day was just awesome, and you could see the excitement through the whole squad at the end of the day," Williams said.
"A rowing season is a long time, with a lot of ups and downs, so to come to the end of the season and have an exciting result like that is always pretty pleasing and makes it all worth it."
Williams didn't want her girls to get complacent, however, and said that winning the national title at the Maadi Cup was by no means a certainty.
"We don't get any false impressions thinking we'll walk into another gold," Williams said.
"It's the biggest girls race at school rowing in New Zealand. There's some very good rowing pedigree down in Christchurch and we're expecting some fast eights to come out of there. But we're going to have a crack."
The Maadi Cup begins on March 27 and runs through until April 2.