Atown’s Bradley Leydon all set to row
New Zealand rower Bradley Leydon reckons it’s ‘‘pretty cool’’ coming from a small town and being selected to row for your country.
The 17-year-old former Arrowtown School pupil will contest the single sculls at the Junior World Championships in Lithuania in August after smashing the talent at the Maadi Cup in March.
Leydon was named in the team last week and is due to head to Cambridge next month where he’ll spend three months preparing. Not bad for a fellow who only took up the sport just over three years ago.
‘‘It’s pretty surreal,’’ the final year John McGlashan pupil said.
‘‘Mum [Jill Leydon] is pretty over-the-moon. She’s pretty excited and stoked that I will be wearing the Silver Fern.’’
Following a rugby injury, Leydon ’’thought I better do something else’’ and took up rowing.
It was only in 2016 when he managed bronze in the under-17 single sculls at the Maadi Cup that he knew he had some talent in the sport.
‘‘The first two seasons were a bit of a battle. I sort of didn’t get anywhere too flash.
‘‘It wasn’t until really the under-17 seasons that I realised I could do this better if I actually committed.
‘‘I guess this was when I really knuckled down and gave it a good crack.’’
Knuckle down he did, beating his nearest rival at the Maadi Cup at Lake Karapiro by almost four seconds.
‘‘Earlier in the week I was putting out the fastest times [at Maadi].
‘‘Going into the finals I was umming and arring about whether I was going to do it or not.
‘‘It’’s pretty cool to be from a small town [and win]. Those big Auckland schools and that, they have the money and the boats and then to go and beat them is a pretty good feeling.’’
Since then Leydon has had offers from the United States but for now he’s focussed on the World Champs.
The European rowers will be the toughest, he said.
‘‘I’ve been looking at their times and they are pretty reasonable but it’s a whole other level.’’
Looking further ahead, Leydon wants to study marketing or business at university and is happy to keep training six days a week to go as far as he can with the sport.
Bradley Leydon with Prime Minister Bill English following his win at the Maadi Cup in March.