Tauranga rowers excel at Champs

The team at Madi. Supplied photo.

The Tauranga Girls College Rowing squad has excelled at the New Zealand Secondary School Champs held at Lake Ruataniwha in Twizel.


With 2089 students competing from 120 schools across New Zealand, the regatta was one of the largest many of the local rowers have attended.

Following on from the success the Tauranga Girls College Rowing squad achieved at the recent North Island Champs where the squad of 27 girls came 12th out of 93 schools.

The girls achieved four medals including two Silver and two Gold medals including winning the Exhibition Novice Quad - Olivia Phizacklea, Brooke Poutawera, Danelle Neilson, Isabel Baker and cox Alana Yorke.

The New Zealand Secondary School Rowing Champs, also known as the Maadi Cup is held over the course of six days with over 600 races competing in 52 events.

The regattas name originated from World War II, members of the 2nd NZEF based at Maadi Camp in Egypt competed in regattas on the Nile against local Egyptian rowing clubs.

Renamed the Maadi Cup it was first raced for in 1947 at Wanganui.

Tauranga Girls College rowers entered 20 crews with 14 crews making finals including three A Finals, four B Finals and four C Finals.

“To make an A Final at Maadi Cup is a huge achievement. To have the whole squad rowing in a final was simply outstanding” says Andrew Ede, one of the dedicated Coaches.

The highlight for the squad was watching the Under16 Quad of Rosie Frood, Courtney Ryan, Saffron Hann, Taylor McCormick and cox Molly Johnson win the Bethlehem College Cup and the NZ Title.

“The girls worked extremely hard over the season and deserved to win a gold medal” said Duncan Bydelay, the gold winning coach.

This was the first gold medal win for Tauranga Girls College Rowing at Maadi Cup in 11 years.

“We have a squad of 27 dedicated girls who all rowed their hearts out” says Tauranga Girls College Rowing Club president Phil Holland.

“The results were simply amazing and huge thanks needs to go to the girls but also the many coaches and large number of volunteers that help to make this possible. We had so many supporters make the trek down south which really made the week.”

The squad stayed at a small town of Omarama for the week with a team of dedicated parents and supporters.

“It was amazing to row with so many people watching and cheering for you” says Rowing Captain Grace Ede, who is in her last season of school rowing.

“I can’t wait to start training again for Maadi Cup next year in Cambridge” says second-year rower Emily Holland.

The Maadi Cup alternates yearly between Lake Karapiro in Cambridge and Lake Ruataniwha in Twizel.

“The level of commitment these girls have is outstanding,” says Tauranga Girls College rowing club captain Bruce Fettes. “To be part of such a great group of girls and to see them grow so much over the season is what makes this all worthwhile.

Phil says they are grateful for the support of their coaches.

“We have been blessed with some amazing coaches who all freely give up their time to help our girls reach their fullest potential.

“We certainly could not run a program without them. The fact we can compete and beat schools that have full time paid coaches and deep pockets is a testament to the culture and positive attitude Tauranga Girls College Rowing has.”

Tauranga Girls Collage Rowing is always on the lookout for coaches and volunteers who are keen to be part of the squad as well as sponsors to help keep the rowing program going.

If you are interested, please contact Phil Holland on 027 6695354 or e-mail tgcr.president@gmail.com

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