‘Wee club’ makes presence felt

Celebrating one of their gold medals at the New Zealand Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro...
Celebrating one of their gold medals at the New Zealand Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro last week are (from left) Oamaru Rowing Club members Ned Newlands-Carter and Kouper Lynch with head coach Ivan Docherty. Insets. Top, Lynch (left) and Newlands-Carter after winning gold in the men’s novice double sculls; below, Emma Spittle wins bronze in the women’s club single sculls. PHOTOS: SHARRON BENNETT
What a week for the Oamaru Rowing Club.

Its team of 24 rowers took home five medals in total, two gold, two silver and a bronze, from the New Zealand Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro last week.

It was the second straight year the club won two golds at the national event.

Oamaru Rowing Club head coach Ivan Docherty could not be more proud of the squad.

"Very happy and very pleased with the results and contributions and effort that all 24 put on display, with no-one coming lower than fifth in New Zealand which is a pretty outstanding effort from a wee club in Oamaru."

Kouper Lynch and Ned Newlands-Carter, in particular, had an amazing week.

Competing at their first nationals, the duo won gold in the men’s novice double sculls and novice coxed four to go with a silver in the novice coxed eight.

Crossing the finish line in first place felt amazing, Newlands-Carter said.

"It’s such a cool feeling. It’s one of the best I’ve ever had."

Their "perseverance and determination" were key, he said.

"We pushed harder than most teams."

They were also second cousins and having that relationship off the water helped them, Lynch said.

"Chemistry was big."

The pair had "big futures" ahead of them, Docherty said.

"They got better as the week got on and they handled the A finals with maturity and capability beyond their years.

"They are now New Zealand champions and I couldn’t be happier for them."

Jakob Rohrbach and Louis Belt were a part of the novice coxed four and eight crews and each took home a gold and a silver.

Benna Webster, Kaitoro Walker, Lachlan Barry and Blake Taylor were the others in the coxed eight crew.

The women’s novice coxed four of Hannah Burke, Bridget Spittle, Hanna Strachan and Marei Grebe won silver in their event.

Rounding out the medal haul was Emma Spittle, who won bronze in the women’s club single sculls.

The 17-year-old also came fifth in the women’s under-22 single sculls, an outstanding achievement for someone her age.

It was her final time rowing for Oamaru as she would be shifting north to Christchurch for university, Docherty said.

He was looking forward to watching her continue her career.

"[She] again proves the potential is right up there and a girl to watch out for in the future."

He also loved seeing the club being able to field a club coxed eight, which finished fifth.

"I haven’t seen an Oamaru eight go that fast in my time."

The rowers will now disperse into their school crews in preparation for the South Island Secondary Schools Championships next Friday.