Finals on the last day of the 2018 Aon Maadi Cup saw a perfect combination of clear skies and fierce racing.
Run by the NZSSRA and Rowing NZ, the Aon Maadi Cup is the national championships for school rowing and being New Zealand's largest rowing regatta, it's the most prestigious event on the school rowing calendar.
The boy’s under 17 single sculls made for a great first event of the day, with a strong battle between Jason Nel of St Peter’s School (Cambridge), Jack McLaughlan of John McGlashan College and Cambridge High School’s Seth Hope. Nel maintained a consistent lead for the majority of the course with McLaughlan and Hope making last minute advances. McLaughlan only captured the lead just shy of the finishing line, finishing just over two tenths of a second ahead of Nel in 7:57.66. McLaughlan also took home gold in the boy’s under 17 double sculls with crewmate Nic Chamberlain.
The girl’s under 17 single sculls was another tight race with only three seconds between medallists. Mollie Gibson of Ashburton College made a comeback after placing second in her semi-final, taking gold after making an impressive time of 8:23.38. In addition to their gold medals, Aon’s new Aon Maadi Cup Legacy initiative will also see Nel and Gibon’s school take home a new skiff from Aon & Laszlo Boats, and a set of new sculls from Concept 2. Russell Bailey of Aon commented, “We wanted to recognise rowing excellence in the under 17 single sculls category and we’re delighted to award John McGlashan College and Ashburton College with new equipment for their rowing programmes. Jack and Mollie each made impressive performances to take away gold today, and we are proud to be a part of their event.”
Taking home the Dawn Cup was St Peter’s School (Cambridge), securing an easy first place in the girl’s under 18 coxed four and finishing 9 seconds ahead of second place Rangi Ruru Girls’ School. The Dawn Cup was donated by Noel Lynch at a Maadi regatta held on the Wairoa River in 1980, and the cup’s name is a tribute to its first race where due to darkness, finals were scheduled for a Sunday morning at 6.30am. Originally won by Queen Charlotte College, Rangi Ruru Girls’ School have gone on to win the cup 15 times.
Winning back to back medals was Waikato Diocesan School taking gold in the girl’s under 17 coxed eight, with four of the eight’s sweepers also taking gold shortly after in the girl’s under 16 coxed four, missing their first medal presentation. Coxswain of the eight Emma Barker also takes home the Simon Briggs Cup for coxswain of the regatta, coxing the most crews into A finals.
Representing the south was Roncalli College’s Jack Gibbs, a crowd favourite today winning the boy’s under 18 single sculls in an impressive fashion and three seconds ahead of second place Fergus Ritchie of Lindisfarne College. Jonte Wright of Wanganui Collegiate School took bronze, fine form for a novice season.
In perhaps one of the most anticipated races, eight crews battled it out for the Levin Jubilee Cup, awarded to the fasted under 18 girl’s eight. In a comfortable lead from the 1000m mark, St Peter’s School (Cambridge) took an easy first place in 6:55.10, with Rangi Ruru Girls’ School and Waikato Diocesan School placing second and third respectively. Winning the Levin Jubilee Cup also meant St Peter’s School left their mark on the scoreboard with an impressive trifecta in the under 18 girl’s events, winning gold in the coxed four, the coxless pair and the coxed eight. Not to be forgotten was their novice double sculls, also taking home gold.
Hamilton Boys’ High School made their trip south worthwhile, taking home no less than four medals in today’s finals. Their haul included gold in the boy’s under 16 coxed quad sculls, boy’s under 18 novice eight, boy’s under 15 coxed eight, and boy’s under 18 coxed four - just missing out on gold in the boy’s under 18 eight. After Hamilton Boys’ High School lead from the 500m mark, Christ’s College pulled away at 1750m, crossing the line first and clocking a time of 6:01.90. The Maadi Cup hails from WWII, where two second NZEF members based at Maadi Camp in Egypt raced in regattas on the Nile against the Egyptians. The Kiwi Oarsmen beat the Cairo River Club in 1943 to win the Freyburg Cup, which was then gifted back to Cairo River Club. In return, Youssef Baghat also presented the Kiwi crew with a cup. At the end of that year the cup was offered to the New Zealand Rowing Association as a trophy for an annual boy’s eight-oared race between secondary schools, and it was then that it was renamed the Maadi Cup.
Full results are available on rowit.nz