Mercer Rowing Club hunts for rowers
A rowing club south of Pukekohe with its base on the Waikato River is holding an open day to boost the number of young athletes taking up the sport.
Mercer Rowing Club, which was established in 1909, has generally been successful in recruiting youth out of Pukekohe schools, but in recent years, numbers have dropped off.
The club is hosting an open day this weekend its Mercer premises where it will give potential rowers and coxswains a tour of the venue and boat shed, and also spin them up on the rowing machines.
A free sausage sizzle will also be on offer.
Mercer Rowing Club committee member, Paul Cato, said: ‘‘After the London Olympics, we had a real big surge and a big bulge of kids that came through. After those ensuing last couple of years, for a number of reasons, we haven’t been so successful.
‘‘[We are] friendly and able to offer something that the others can’t - we have got really, really good water here and we mostly have it [the river] to ourselves.’’
Currently, the rowing club has a total of 35 school kids enrolled in its rowing programme, however, it aims to have at least 15 more athletes signed up before the season starts in August.
Mercer Rowing Club is responsible for four catchment schools: Pukekohe High School, Tuakau College, Onewhero Area School and Te Kauwhata College.
A majority of the rowers all hail from Pukekohe High School, and many of the club’s athletes are females.
‘We are dead keen to get more boys involved,’’ said Cato.
‘‘It doesn’t matter if you’re the biggest or the strongest, but you need determination... You really need that determination and dedication.’’
Mercer Rowing Club has produced some highly skilled athletes, which are taught by some of the best coaches.
Murphy Waters and Regan Bernasconi are two of the club’s top rowers, both of whom have been rewarded with countless A Final finishes in single scull events.
The club is also lucky to have a New Zealand rowing representative coaching some of their crews.
Leanne Henry was a bronze medal finalist at the 1994 Commonwealth regatta in Canada, won the Maddi Cup single scull in 1992 and she won the national title at the New Zealand Championship in 1994.
Mercer Rowing club is also on the hunt for more coaches.
For more information visit the open day this Saturday, 10am.
Mercer Rowing Club has some of the fastest vessels in New Zealand.
Sisters Sophie and Phoebe Tumata, two of Mercer’s top female rowers.
Left, Flynn Barron, Daniel Barron, Regan Bernasconi and Murphy Waters.