Chance to row with seasoned athletes on lake

Closed borders and cancelled international competitions may have forced rowers on to local waters but all is not lost.

The Rowing New Zealand Winter Squad - a combination of the New Zealand under-23 squad and senior lightweight rowers - has been training at Lake Dunstan as part of a South Island training camp.

Head coach Tom Stannard said the athletes would usually be rowing internationally, but Covid-19 had caused a different approach this year.

Squad members based themselves in Clyde and trained with the Central Otago Development Squad on Wednesday.

The 24-person camp was an opportunity for the athletes to keep up their training, and importantly their mental motivation, as well as engage with the grassroots rowing community, Stannard said.

The recent cancellation of the World Rowing Championships in China scheduled for October was mentally challenging for the athletes.

‘‘As much as the coaching team think its the dream sport, [rowing’s] a really tough one [mentally].’’

Lightweight rowing world champion Jackie Kiddle and New Zealand under-23 squad member Veronica...
Lightweight rowing world champion Jackie Kiddle and New Zealand under-23 squad member Veronica Wall train on Lake Dunstan on Wednesday evening They're part of the Rowing New Zealand Winter Squad touring the South Island and training with the Central Otago Development Squad. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON
World champion lightweight rower Jackie Kiddle understood the mental challenges the sport presented.

Kiddle was a last-minute addition to the Winter Rowing Squad - she had been scheduled to compete at the Olympics in Tokyo, however her lightweight double sculls partner Zoe McBride retired from the sport four months ago.

Kiddle turned her focus to the World Championships, which were then cancelled.

‘‘The Olympics has been a goal for a very long time and that’s now five years of training I didn’t get to put forward, but in saying that I think there’s been a lot of positives come out of this,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s definitely given me a bit more motivation coming down here, especially as the Olympics is on ... a bit more motivation to really get stuck into the next cycle.’’

Dunstan Arm Rowing Club head coach Simon Smith said the opportunity for the region’s development squad to train with the seasoned athletes gave the younger athletes the confidence to push to the next level in the sport.

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