At the recent NZ Rowings Championship at Lake Ruataniwha, the Wānaka Rowing Club had their best result ever. With 1230 competitors from 42 clubs, Wānaka entered 25 events, finishing in 11 A finals and 9 B finals; winning three gold medals, one Silver and one bronze medal and with several fourths and lots of finals.
Wānaka's Sam Pearce won the Men's Club Singles in a personal best time of 7.40. Sam started school-aged rowing with the Wānaka Club when he was just 13, and has competed at three Maadi regattas before moving on to club rowing last year. Sam's excellent form comes just in time for the NZ Rowing Champs at Lake Karapiro on February 18, where he will be competing in a single and a double with past Maadi singles winner Jack McLaughlan.
The under 15 and 16 girls squad were unstoppable once again with outstanding performance in both the Under 16 Quad and Under 15 Double, where both crews took the lead from the start, and won by clear water easily to gain gold medals and the second crews made the B finals, finishing in the top 16 in the top 16 in the South Island.
In the Under 16 doubles both crews made the A final, with Emily and Lyla having to settle for Silver after a tough battle and conceding the gold to arch rivals Dunstan and Neve Faed and Samara Goodall.
Emily took to the water in the Intermediate single, just pipped to the post and missing out on a bronze medal, she finished fourth.
Tao Hawkey Hight, our sole 16-year-old boy, had an impressive row in the Intermediate singles, finishing fifth in the B final.
Year 13 rowers competing in the club events also did well. Harriet Norris and Phoebe Wood who have just moved down to Wanaka to attend the Mt Aspiring College hostel, won a bronze in the Club Coxless Pair.
Rata Horan just missed out on a medal in the Women's Club Singles, taking fourth place. Rata and Harriet qualified for the A final for the Women's Club Double with the sixth fastest time, but this was cancelled at the end of the day as the rising winds shut down racing with only four events to go.
Owen Lea and Quinn Curtis who were the seventh fastest boat in the heats, and Phoebe Wood and Pip Crowley were also affected by the cancellations of their Club Double B finals.
Sadly Rob Bruce’s mum, Lorraine E Bruce QSM, passed away on January 28, 2020.
Lorraine has been a stalwart of rowing for many, many years. Her interest began following her son’s then her grandchildren’s involvement in the sport. She was secretary of the Otago Rowing Association for over 20 years and made a Life Member of the association in 2012.
Lorraine received a Rowing New Zealand Service Award for her involvement in the sport.
Rob was unable to make the regatta and as a tribute to him and the sterling work his mum has put into rowing over the years, the Wānaka crews wore a black armband for the regatta.