​Finals Racing Never Disappoints

A thin layer of fog hangs over Lake Karāpiro on the first day of finals for the 2023 Aon Maadi Regatta. Underneath the low clouds lies some glassy water - everything you could hope for at the business end of the regatta.

The programme today held 47 races: 26 A finals and 21 B finals. Medals will be up for grabs in all A finals but securing a top 10 place by finishing in the top two of the B final is just as important for the crews that narrowly missed qualification for the A final.

First up was the boys under 17 single B final where Austen Plimmer from St Paul Collegiate took top honours with a time of 7:37.63 that would have seen him in 6th place in the A final. But it was Tauranga Boys College’s Jameson McConnochie who put their foot down from the word go in order to claim his title as boys under 17 single champion which see’s him win a Laszlo single skiff for his school. McConnochie put in the hard yards through the all-important third 500 and pushed out to clear water over the rest of the field. Harrison McClintock of St Peters Cambridge took the silver medal position just in front of a flying Josh Bartlett from Timaru Boys High who managed to sprint his way into the bronze medal position over the final 250m.

In the boys under 15 double it was clear from the get go that we were going to have a race on our hands. The yellow boat from Wakatipu High School pushed the pace from the start and took Glendowie College along for the ride. Coming through the 1000m mark it looked like Wakatipu High School were going to run away with it as they used their long stroke to push out to half a length lead over the boys from Glendowie College. But Finlay Christenson and Xavier Warren showed their grit and determination and never let the Wakatipu duo get any further. Coming through with 400m left to run the Glendowie College upped the power and put their bow out in front. Another big push at the 250m mark and their boat came to life, flying toward the finish line and crossing 1.7seconds ahead of Wakatipu High School in silver, with St Thomas of Canterbury College taking the bronze medal.

St Andrews College held on by the skin of their teeth to take gold in the girls under 15 coxed quad. The Christchurch crew had a dominant middle 1000m, pushing from 5th to 1st place with some extremely tidy rowing. It was Whanganui High School who really put the pressure on over the last 500m getting their bowball up level with St Andrews in the final sprint. St Andrews crossed the line in 1st place in 7:39.38, Whanganui High School in second in 7:39.70. Hauraki Plains College held on to finish in the bronze medal position in 7:44.08, just a whisker ahead of Columba College who claimed 4th in 7:44.10.

Drama filled the start of the boys under 18 pair when Cashmere High School experienced a breakage in the first 100m. After the restart it was Cashmere who had an exceptionally good start and got their nose in front. But a cool headed St Bedes College got into their work 500m in, taking half a length lead over the rest of the field. From here there was no looking back for the duo as they moved out to clear water by the 1000m mark. Christs’ College comfortably held on to second place, with the real fight taking place for bronze - Cashmere High School were caught in a tussle with Kings College 2. But a rating lift saw Cashmere move away from King Colleges to take the bronze.

The girls under 18 novice double saw crowd favourites Twizel Area School walk away as champions after a dominant week at the 2023 Aon Maadi Regatta. Kiara Thyne and Sadie Mason finished in the gold medal position, five seconds ahead of Whanganui Collegiate in second, and Hauraki Plains College coming home in third.

The girls under 17 single is a hotly contested event, especially since the winner walks away with a brand new Laszlo single for their school as they do for the equivalent boys race. This year the single will be going to Cambridge High School. Tegan O’Dwyer proved too strong, crossing the line as champion over 5 seconds in front of Sophie Gibson from Ashburton High School. Madeline Cox from Hamilton Girls High School crossed the line in third, narrowly holding off Waitaki Girls High Schools Emma Spittle.

Last but not least was the girls and boys under 18 fours. Two prestigious trophies were on the line, with the boys battling it out for the Springbok Shield, while the girls giving it their all for the Dawn Cup.

The boys under 18 four were first up with the favourites from South Island Secondary Schools Rowing Championships, St Bedes College, and North Island Secondary Schools Rowing Champions, Sacred Heart Auckland. The two crews showed their class right from the start, locked side by side for the majority of the 2000m course. But over the last 300m the crew from St Bedes turned on the after burners and sailed to half a length lead which they held to the finish line. St Bedes took top honours, followed by Sacred Heart Auckland, with Westlake Boys High School pipping Kings College on the line for third.

The last race of the day was the girls under 18 four and by 250m in there was no doubt that Rangi Ruru Girls School 1 were there to claim the Dawn Cup as their own. Alice Wallis, Phoebe Wallis, Georgia Bethell, Nicole Vance coxed by Annabel Wynn-Williams powered their boat down the course, opening up lengths of clear water by the halfway mark. Behind them the race for 2nd and 3rd started to take shape with Rangi Ruru Girls School 2, Wellington Girls College, and Waikato Diocesan locked together coming through with 500m left to run. Waikato Diocesan put their foot down to secure themselves the silver, with Wellington Girls College finishing ahead of Rangi Ruru Girls’ School in bronze.

In a regatta that is normally dominated by large rowing programmes, the 2023 Aon Maadi Regatta has bucked this trend. The first 15 events were won by 15 different schools, and out of the 26 gold medals on offer over the first day of finals, 20 schools were able to walk away as champions.

Join us again tomorrow for more thrilling racing on the last day of the 2023 Aon Maadi Regatta. The event programme can be found online at the Aon Maadi Regatta website, as well as the livestream of racing each day thanks to Altitude HD Ltd.