Mercer Row­ing Club hunts for row­ers

Franklin County News - - SPORT - RUWADE BRYANT

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.

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