Rowing: Strack wants single sculls title back

Lucy Strack
Lucy Strack
Lucy Strack (North End) was recovering from a back injury 12 months ago and it cost her a spot at the London Olympics.

She was the dominant single sculler when the New Zealand championships were held on Lake Ruataniwha two years ago. She won the premier lightweight single sculls and was second to Olympian Emma Twigg in the heavyweight event.

This year's championships start on Lake Ruataniwha today and the finals will be on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Strack (23) was out of the boat for 10 weeks and missed the vital training she needed to make the Olympic team.

She has been injury-free for the past 12 months and has been training at Lake Karapiro with Dick Tonks.

''All the girls in the New Zealand elite squad - heavyweights and lightweights - have been training together and we have had a hard summer under Dick Tonks,'' Strack said.

''We have been doing lots of kilometres and it has been good fun.''

Her aim is to get back the lightweight single sculls title but she has not had many races to test her form.

''We have trained hard through the regattas,'' Strack said.

''We had one race before Christmas but we only raced the quadruple sculls.''

At the North Island championships, Strack finished fifth in the premier heavyweight single sculls and second in the premier double sculls.

There have been five lightweights in the women's summer squad at Lake Karapiro this season and they will all be racing in the single sculls this week. They include Olympians Julia Edward and Louise Ayling, and under-23 representative Sophie McKenzie and Strack.

It will be difficult to beat the heavyweights in the premier single sculls because they have spent more time in the single sculls this year. Olympian Emma Twigg is favoured to retain the heavyweight singles title.

Olympian Fiona Bourke (Otago University), who won a gold medal in the women's premier quadruple sculls last season, has entered the heavyweight single sculls and the premier eight.

Strack will be competing with her in the eight for the Southern Regional Performance Centre team.

Otago's Zoe McBride (16) will be tested when she competes in the premier lightweight single sculls against the elite scullers this week. She is also competing in the women's under-20 single sculls and the double sculls with Hannah Duggan.

McBride won three gold medals at the championships on Lake Karapiro last year and stroked the New Zealand women's quadruple sculls to a bronze medal at the world junior championships in Bulgaria last year.

Another member of the New Zealand training squad competing at Lake Ruataniwha this week is Fergus Fauvel (Otago University) who will compete in the premier men's single, double and quadruple sculls.

Johannah Kearney (Oamaru), a member of the Southern RPC squad training in Christchurch, will be competing in the women's under-20 eight, coxless four and pair.

Bryce Abernethy (Otago), who also trains in Christchurch, will be competing in the men's under-20 eight, single sculls and coxless four and in the lightweight single sculls.

A Dunedin crew to watch is the Otago men's club double sculls of Jack O'Leary and Eachann Bruce. They will also contest the single sculls.

Other crews in action are Caitlin Buist and and Nicola Shanks (University) in the women's club double sculls, Emma Winders and Anna O'Leary (Otago) in the women's under-19 double sculls, and Jack Waddell and James McNicol (North End) in the men's under-20 pair and the under-19 double sculls.


NZ championships
Lake Ruataniwha
• Date: February 19-23. Finals, February 21-23.
• Venue: Lake Ruataniwha.
• Numbers: 737 rowers, 721 crews.