North Island Secondary Schools Rowing Championships
On Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 March, the School’s Rowing squad competed at the North Island Secondary Schools Championship. The team worked well throughout the two days to ensure a busy finals day with 24 A finals and 7 B finals, which is the largest number of finals the team has participated in over the last ten years. The team showed determination and resilience throughout the weekend, resulting in one gold, four silver and five bronze medals in a competitive field, leaving Grammar fourth on the points table.
There were some exciting races over the 2000m course, with flat conditions and tailwinds helping to secure some fast times. It was fantastic to see rowers from every age group of the team make it onto the podium, demonstrating the depth within the Rowing program.
The Novice group (rowers in their first year of the squad) had a solid start to their first North Island Championships, securing bronze in the Under 15 Octuple, the Under 15 Eight and the Under 18 Double after a fast sprint to the line. The Novice Eight finished second, and in one of the closet races of the day, the Under 15 Four consisting of Form 4 students J. M. Hiddleston, C. G. Howlett, L. J. Platt, F. M. Taylor and cox O. Wilson missed out on a first place by just a 20th of a second to Westlake Boys High School.
The Under 16 Four had an outstanding day with a hard-fought second place finish and finished their racing day off well with the Under 16 Eight securing gold by a two second margin. The crew – consisting of of Form 5 students H. D. S. Barrell, J. A. Hawksbee, F. P. Houghton, S. N. R. Lyne, H. D. Mackenzie, A. J. Merrilees, L. W. Toner, C. J. D. Wallis and cox B. A. Smith – had the third fasted time in the heats, put that to the back of their minds, stuck to their race plan, and rowed with confidence and maturity to beat St Peter’s College and Hamilton Boys’ High School.
The Under 17 squad, who have worked hard this season to step up into the senior grade, raced aggressively and with a solid rhythm to gain silver behind Hamilton Boys’ High School and bronze in the Fours and Pairs races.
The Under 18 squad secured three pairs in the A final but failed to convert. In the final race of the day – the Under 18 Eight – two Grammar crews competed, with the top eight aiming to row a long and powerful stroke. They struggled to stay in touch with the leading crews over the last kilometer and finished fourth, three seconds behind Westlake Boys High School in bronze, with the second Under 18 Eight finishing sixth.
Congratulations to the entire crew and S. N. R. Lyne, the stroke for the Under 16 Eight, crossed stage to on behalf of the crew to receive the gold medals and the School’s congratulations.
The Rowing squad will now put the finishing touches into the boats and hone their minds on racing in preparation for the penultimate event in the rowing calendar – the Maadi Cup – during Summer Tournament Week and the rescheduled Head of Harbour regatta for the junior squad.