Eastern Bay rowers shine on the big stage

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CHAMPIONS: Finn and Elliott Jenkins celebrate winning a double sculls title at the National Secondary School Rowing Championships last week. Photo Peter Olifiers

A BRACE of gold delivered the perfect finish at the National Secondary School Rowing Championships last week.

The annual regatta, more commonly known as the Maadi Cup, was held on Lake Karapiro.

It set the stage for Whakatane High School twins Elliott and Finn Jenkins to win the double sculls under-17 and under-18 titles and close their high school rowing career unbeaten as a sculling crew. That feat was comfortably achieved, winning both finals by a resounding eight seconds.

“It was our last Maadi, so it was important that we had good results,” Finn said.

“We did talk about how special it would be to finish like that, but we did not let it get to our heads. It was important that we kept our composure.

“This was a solid plan and build up for us and I think we executed it as well as we planned. In both races, we wanted to go out early and build a lead.”

Elliott also won a silver medal in the under-18 single sculls final, making for a big workload through the five-day regatta.

The twins double took Wakatane’s gold medal count to 13 from the past five regattas and Finn said they had learned a lot through their time rowing and it was important to represent the school.

“The school has provided us with a lot, so it was important to give back on the national stage.

“We learned the importance of having support from people around you. You get that positive back from those people and you can turn that into results.”

Meanwhile, Trident High School’s Gus Olifiers won his school’s first medal since 2011. Making his Maadi debut, Gus claimed the under-17 single sculls title, winning by just under two seconds from New Plymouth Boys High School rower Manawa McLaughlin.

Gus missed out on the regatta last year after injury ruled him out.

But this year, he took the form from a North Island silver medal to Maadi to win what he described as a tough final.

“There is a lot more pressure in the single sculls boats. And the races are longer. I was really nervous at the start line and I can’t say I was expecting to win.

“I was running third in the final and then made my move about 750 metres in. I had taken the lead by the 1km mark and I tried to keep building. I wasn’t sure if I could keep the pace up. I burst into tears of joy at the finish line.”

Gus, who is eligible for another Maadi regatta next year, said the whole event was an amazing experience. He, like the Jenkins boys, paid tribute to the coaching efforts of Graham Watt and Matt Hill. The three rowers have all been picked for New Zealand junior trials at Karapiro next week.

Other crews from both schools also competed at the event. Gus and Jarred Bond placed eighth in the under-18 final and Jarred was the runner-up in the under-18 single sculls C final.

Whakatane’s Hugh Spence and Finn Jeffery finished eighth in the under-16 double sculls final. Finn also placed third in the under-16 single sculls B final.

Trident under-15 double sculls crew of Renske Brabant-Weitkamp and Linette Lengkeek placed fifth in the D final, while under-16 single sculler Victor Evans was eighth in the D final.

Maadi Cup medals

  • Gold – U18 double sculls: Finn and Elliott Jenkins (Whakatane)
  • Gold – U17 double sculls: Finn and Elliott Jenkins (Whakatane)
  • Gold – U17 single sculls: Gus Olifiers (Trident)
  • Silver– U18 single sculls: Elliott Jenkins (Whakatane)



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