Otago University Rowing Club Olympians with boats named
after them at Lake Ruataniwha. Pictured (from left) are
Louise Ayling, Louise Trappitt, Fiona Paterson, Fiona
Bourke and Rebecca Scown. Photo by Sonya Walker.
The Otago University Aquatics Centre rose out of the
ashes of the fire that destroyed its old clubrooms, boats and
equipment in 1999.
The Otago University Rowing Club was determined to turn its
misfortune into gold by creating something better.
Aquatics Centre chief executive Glen Sinclair pulled a few
strings and enlisted the help of the University of Otago
Students Association to build the new centre.
The new facility was completed in 2002 at a cost of $1.4
million and its benefits became clear when seven of its
former students competed at the London Olympics.
At the championships at Twizel last week, its five female
Olympians had boats christened in their names. They can be
used for double sculls or pairs.
It is in line with Rowing New Zealand's policy of
concentrating on small boats that brought success at the
The boats are named after Olympians Fiona Paterson, Louise
Trappitt, Rebecca Scown, Louise Ayling and Fiona Bourke, who
all competed in London.
Each of the five boats cost $18,000 for a total bill of
The University club renews its stock of boats every four
years to make sure the best equipment is available for the
The Otago University Rowing Club and the Aquatics Centre has
established a tradition of excellence in the last decade.
''We have named the boats after the Olympians to inspire
future students,'' Sinclair said.
''We have been successful because we have supplied the boats
and equipment and let the rowers get on with their training.
They don't have to worry about anything else.''
The project was backed by the Otago University Students
Association and the Community Trust of Otago.
''They have given us continuous support for the project,''
''We take the rowers to a certain level and the Rowing New
Zealand system takes them to the next level.''
Paterson studied health sciences at the University of Otago
in 2001, was selected in the New Zealand under-23 team and
has trained at Lake Karapiro since then.
She competed in the double sculls in London and retired from
the sport after last week's national championships at Lake
Trappitt studied physical education in Dunedin from 2004 to
2007 and raced in the quadruple sculls at the Olympics.
Scown studied marketing and art history at the University of
Otago from 2002 to 2005 and won a bronze medal in the women's
pair in London.
Ayling studied physical education and psychology in Dunedin
in 2006 and competed in the lightweight double sculls at the
Bourke studied chemistry, accounting and surveying in Dunedin
from 2006 to 2009 and was a novice when she started rowing at
the Otago University Rowing Club. She competed in the
quadruple sculls in London.
The Otago University Rowing Club had single sculls named
after Olympic champions Nathan Cohen and Hamish Bond last
year. The Aquatics Centre has suffered a setback because
Rowing New Zealand's High Performance programme has cut the
$30,000 subsidy that is used to fund a coach during the