Stella’s Junior World Rowing Campaign

Good Morning!

Thank you for your support to myself and the rest of the Juniors leading up to our World Championships!

The 10 week campaign took a bit of a turn when I found out I had a stress fracture on within the 3rd week, But after lots of long sessions on the bike, and plenty of milk, I was eager to jump back into a reserve double with Kathryn Glen two days before we headed off to the Czech Republic.

The boat seemed to have pretty good speed heading into our heats, which was lucky because it landed us with a win, allowing us to progress straight through to the semi-finals.

We had little knowledge of what race plans worked best for us, and little time to experiment, however, in the semi we had a close race with Germany in some rough conditions and landed a second fastest time which was just 4 seconds off the world record. This was when ourselves and our coach finally thought that we could have a chance at a podium position, but also bearing in mind that the top four boats were all within 1 second of each other, so it was gonna be tough!

The feeling after our A final when we secured a bronze was one of the most rewarding feelings. Kathryn and I are so great full for the abundance of support and hope that people had towards us through the short 2 weeks of training we had together and will remember it forever.

Kind Regards,

Stella Clayton-Greene

Campbell’s Post

Dear Legion of Rowers,

I just wanted to send you a little bit of a paragraph to let you know how my time went in the Czech republic and thank you once again for your sponsorship!

My time in Prague started on the 31st of July, when we touched down after a very long, but thankfully uneventful flight. From here, we went straight to the hotel to check in and get changed for training that same afternoon. The bus ride out to the lake everyday was about 40 minutes but our buses were quite nice so it wasn’t bad. For the next week and a half we trained twice a day, just getting used to the atmosphere and our new boat.

By the time the 8th rolled around and the Junior world champs started our squad was well adjusted and ready to attack the next 5 days of racing. Our first race was a quite a competitive one as we came up against Great Britain and America. Two powerhouses of rowing, but we were well prepared and it was good to get a feel of how competitive the field was. USA and Great Britain shot out early but we kept our composure and reeled USA back in by about the 1k to finish second behind Great Britain, who we always knew would be a class crew with 2 of their 4 returning champions from last year.

Onto the Semi’s 2 days later where we were up against the home favourites Czech Republic. The semi’s were a big day because we knew that crews will do anything to make the A final and only 3 spots were available. As expected Czech republic flew out of the gates fast and it took us a little while to catch them but by about the 1500m mark we were even with them to take the win by just over half a length. Onto the A final and the nerves were starting to build up but our boys did well to hold them down. We learnt from our previous races and decided to give it a bit more at the start in an effort to keep a hold of the very starting Italian crew. This plan worked as we were still in touch with Italy and equal with Great Britain coming through the first 250. From here we executed our race plan perfectly putting us in a good position coming down to the last 500. In the last 500 we wound the rating up to pull away from Italy and finish 2nd place behind a very good Great Britain crew.

From here, I plan to row for waikato RPC and hopefully try make the U23 squad next year before heading over to a university in the states to continue my studies.

Once again I would like to thank you for your contribution because without it I would not have been able to have the experiences I have had.

Yours Sincerely,
Campbell Crouch

Veronica’s Blog

Dear the Legion of Rowers,

I have just arrived home from Europe yesterday! The NZ cold is a bit of a shock to the system but good to be back home, somewhere familiar.
Juniors this year was such an unforgettable experience, lots of very high standard racing! Being in the single taught me a lot about managing myself as a rower and also has given me more drive to work hard for the coming domestic season. Coming away with a fourth place was pretty good, although no silverware. I gave the racing my absolute 100% so couldn’t have asked for anything better. Racing was very challenging but was fantastic experience for the future. Prague was a very beautiful city, so many old buildings and fantastic history. As a team we went for a tour one afternoon and looked around the city which was great.
Racice was a fantastic racing venue, a custom rowing course that was only about 2500m long, similar to other venues like Plovdiv. Was a very fast course with 11 world records broken over the course of our regatta which was impressive! It was a rather barren course, the surroundings reminded me of Twizel a bit, very dry environment as I think it was elevated a bit above sea level. We were very well equipped at the course, with the rowing NZ tent and trailer and ergs, plus a freezer and fans which were very very helpful to combat the heat. There was a heatwave while we were there with temps reaching up to 37 degrees so plenty of ice towels were used to say the least! Contributed well to the European summer glow though which was nice.
Hotel Duo where the team stayed was very nice, located on the outskirts of Prague, about a 45 minute bus ride away from the course. Safe to say we got very well acquainted with the bus driver during our stay! While we weren’t training or racing lots of time was spent in the lobby playing cards and drinking raspberry lemonades from the hotel bar.
The tour was absolutely fantastic, amazing to be able to visit such a beautiful country, but to also get such good racing experience, and to be surrounded with such a successful team! Everyone got along really well and can’t wait to see everyone around the country this season. Thank you all so much for your fantastic support, gave lots of the badges to the officials at the world champs so they will be treasured by quite a few people all over the place! Being my third and final juniors campaign gives me a little bit of sadness to think that this was my last year as a junior, as all three years have been so fantastic. Being able to have been part of the magic for the past three years has been an absolute honour, and has taught me so much not just about being a successful rower but about being a driven and motivated person. Thank you again for your support, and will hopefully see you all around in the future!
Kind regards,
Veronica Wall 

Update from Sam

The Road to Racice (8-12 August 2018) 19 August 2018

Hi everyone
We are back from Racice! It was an amazing experience. We left NZ on the 29th of July. The plane trip was incredibly long and we were very happy to arrive in Prague. After a small day of rigging and rowing we were ready for our final training week. The course in Racice is made from an old sand mine. It is about an hour out of Prague, so we had to bus to and from the course four times a day (one training in the morning, back to our hotel for lunch, and then back to the course for afternoon training). It took us a couple of days to acclimatise to the weather – it was 38 degrees most days and really muggy. It was a bit of a change from
Karapiro.

We had one afternoon off to see the sights around Prague. It is a beautiful city rich in history. We travelled as a large group and it was a nice time for the whole squad to relax together before racing began.

We decided not to go back out to the course for the opening ceremony as it was logistically too difficult, and too hot! We didn’t want to be standing around for hours the day before racing started.

Wednesday afternoon saw the singles heats, and then everyone else raced on Thursday. On Thursday my quad came a comfortable second in the heat to the Swiss so we progressed to the semis on Saturday. It was a surreal experience having my first international race and hearing the Nationalities being called out at the start. All kiwi crews progressed well into their either quarters or A/B semis so everyone was happy.

Saturday was challenging weather conditions. It was an extremely strong tail wind. This, combined with the hot water temperature, led to some very fast racing with every single boat class record being broken.

Unfortunately a few costly mistakes in our quad’s semi final meant we came 5th and so missed out on the A final. This was incredibly disappointing as we felt we had the potential to make the A final. However we just had to accept that that is racing on the day.

The good news was that all kiwi crews had made either an A or B final and so everyone was racing on Sunday together. This is a fantastic result for our squad.

Sunday we lined up for the B final against some still very tough competition. Our aim was to prove that we should have been in the A final. We felt we had a good comfortable race and came through to win the B final in 6.00 minutes which would have placed us 4th in the A final. It was great to celebrate NZ’s three junior medals (silver and two bronzes).

Overall the campaign was an immense amount of fun and it leaves me wanting more for the future. I would like to thank everyone for your support along the way.
We are still smiling and looking forward to the future.
Easy speed.
Sam Cummins.

 


The Mens U19 4x- (Will Thompson, Sam Cummins, Zac Rumble and Harry Church).

Sam’s first Update

The Road to Racice (8th – 12th August 2018),   – Blog update

Hi everyone

There is only one week to go before we leave for Racice, Czech Republic. The past two months have gone so fast and have been fantastic. Since my last blog the whole Junior team moved from the Lodge at Lake Karapiro, to the Podium Lodge, which is very close to the Velodrome and St Peters. We love the Podium Lodge, as it has been purpose built for tall athletes. The beds are extra long, and I can actually stand up straight in the shower! There are two rowers per unit, and each room has its own kitchen, TV, and heat pump. The heat pump good these freezing Cambridge mornings. It’s been -3 one morning, with most mornings around zero.

We have two extra members of our squad – two goldfish named Rocket and Comet. They live in “the hub”, which is our shared dining room / kitchen. We have settled into a good routine, training both morning and afternoon. We go to school at St Peters every day between 10am and 2pm. Even though everyone else in on holiday at the moment, the Year 13s in the squad have still had to go to school each day, as we will have three weeks off when we go overseas.

The rowing is going really well. We raced at the winter series a few weeks ago, against the U23s and the NZ University teams. It was a fun three days of racing, and we came away with the fastest overall time of any crew. Here is a photo of us leading the U23 four and quad down the course. Our crew has had a few niggley injuries but generally we are really well and healthy. Duncan, our coach, is super cool, and is strict with hygiene. I now wash my hands like a doctor. He took us for an afternoon snack recently, and we managed to eat 75 chicken wings between five of us (the quad plus James Hall who is in the single).

We have Sunday’s off, so last Sunday the whole squad went to Raglan. That was fun. And yesterday we went to Mt Maunganui for a walk around and a swim in the hot pools. That’s me back left. It’s cool for some of the South Island rowers who haven’t been to these before.

We are now starting to prepare for the long plane trip. Rowing NZ is very organised and we have a detailed schedule to stick to while we fly, to help us adjust quickly to Czech time. I’ve got a lot of dehydrated tramping meals, biscuits and shepherds pies to supplement my plane food.

Thank you again to everyone who has helped make this dream possible, both financially and through messages of support and help. I am very grateful and humbled to the Legion of Rowers who awarded me one of four awards last weekend. I’d also like to say a huge thank you to the Pohutukawa Coast Helping Hands Trust, who gave me a grant to get me over the line. A special thank you also to Howes and Brown Optometrist’s, who urgently replaced my one-off specially handmade prescription glasses after a mishap in the boat resulted in my only pair ending up on the bottom of Lake Karapiro. Supporting my vision to row, literally!

We receive our uniform this week, and fly out on Sunday night. I will do my very best to make you all proud as we wear the silver fern!

Follow us on Instagram; nzjuniors2018.

Easy speed,

Sam.