Golden day for St Margaret's College rowers
St Margaret's College rowers enjoyed a magical afternoon at Lake Ruataniwha yesterday, capturing two gold medals within just over an hour at the national secondary school championships.
No sooner had Wallis Russell, Saskia Klinkenberg and Star Davidson rowed to victory in the under-15 coxed four, along with crew-mate Biddy Tothill and coxswain Natalie Bocock, they were straight back into it.
There was no sign of fatigue for Russell, Klinkenberg and Davidson, who were impressive in the St Margaret's under-16 coxed eight, which went on to claim another gold.
Christchurch Girls' High led the under-16 coxed eight at the halfway mark, but with only 500 metres to go St Margaret's were a quarter of a boat-length behind.
St Margaret's were pulling them up inch by inch into the final few hundred metres and finally crept in front. St Margaret's kept their momentum and grabbed the gold with a quarter of a boat-length to Christchurch Girls High, who took the silver, with Rangi Ruru managing bronze.
St Margaret's teacher in charge of rowing, Trudy Keys, said they decided to mix up the seating in the boat for the final. Davidson moved into the stroke seat, which proved a great tactical decision.
"It worked wonders. We've got quite a few tall girls and Star rows really long. We thought it was one of our strengths.
"It kept creating a nice long stroke and really added to their boat-speed."
The other members of the under-16 eight were Izzy Goddard, Lily Marshall, Shara Quin, Millie Borren, Georgia Voice and coxswain Lucy Morton.
Tothill secured a second gold medal yesterday, in St Margaret's under-18 lightweight coxed four alongside Tayla Duff, Emma Henderson, Ella Wells and coxswain Grace Cocks.
Christ's College also had a successful finals day, with their under-17 coxed eight holding off St Paul's Collegiate and St Bede's College to take gold.
The victorious eight consisted of George Perkins (stroke), Jack Caulton, James Chapman, Tommy Brennan, Michael Newton, Henry Bell, Monty Elworthy, Tom Darry and coxswain Harry Burgess.
College's under-18 lightweight coxed four also triumphed, from Marlborough Boys' College and Onslow College. Their crew was made up of stroke Sam Doyle, Ashley Pont, Oliver Tyro, Grant Tomerill and coxswain Paddy Hone.
There was further delight for Canterbury rowers with the Rangi Ruru under-18 coxless pair of Lucy Hutchinson and Kate Hayman producing a fine performance to nab gold.
Rangiora High's Rose McEwen secured a silver medal in the girls' under-17 single sculls final, with Napier Girls' Georgia King winning the race.
The Christchurch Boys' High under-17 double sculls combination of Henry Lissaman and Josh Rodger also finished second, behind Wakatipu High.
The last day of racing today will see 24 finals contested. The highlights will include the boys' and girls' under-18 eights.