Maadi Cup rowers make school history books
A frantic week of rowing ended in mixed success for Auckland’s crews at the Maadi Cup regatta in Cambridge.
New Zealand’s premier school competition brought both triumph and disappointment for the 122 schools that entered the sixday event from March 23 to 28.
After only six seasons back on the water, Mt Albert Grammar School achieved its first medal in more than 50 years in the boys’ under-18 coxless pairs.
Jonathan Winter and Fergus McSwiney grabbed silver for the school, breaking the 53-year drought and earning the duo a spot in the national trials.
‘‘These two have worked really hard and have been professional in their approach,’’ MAGS director of rowing Will Maling says.
‘‘It was about showing respect to the Mt Albert community while we were down there.
‘‘A lot of emphasis was on developing character.’’
It was the perfect way to honour the memory of former head coach Kerry Ashby, who was in charge of the crews more than 40 years ago. Ashby died on March 3.
All the crews at the regatta performed a tribute race for Ashby and Sir Don Rowlands, New Zealand’s rowing legend who died on March 18.
MAGS’ under-17 girls’ eight crew earned their place in the record books by becoming the first female eight crew from the school to make the A final.
Also making history was Epsom Girls Grammar, whose under-18 eight crew won silver to become the first in their category to make the podium for the school.
Incredibly, the crew started in lane eight and were up against strong competition in the final, beating a determined Waikato Diocesan crew but narrowly missing out on a gold medal to Christchurch’s St Margarets’ College.
Epsom’s captain Annabel Childs says their run to the final was less than ideal.
‘‘We didn’t race well in the warm-ups, so we weren’t too hyped and went into the day calm with nothing to lose.
‘‘We rowed it more like a training run.
‘‘When we finished we didn’t actually know we had medalled – everyone was in shock,’’ the 17-year-old says.
Glendowie College was the top Auckland school and seventh best in New Zealand, after the rowing squad won two gold medals, one silver and one bronze.
The MAGS under-17 girls’ eight became the first in the school’s history to reach the final.
Western Springs College under-16 boys crew compete in the W6 500m bowl semifinal.