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After two days of waiting, the national rowing championships began on Lake Ruataniwha yesterday.
They had initially been scheduled to start on Wednesday, but the regatta was delayed due to Covid-19 Alert Level 2.
Racing has been condensed into a three-day programme.
Otago crews were among those to stake their claims yesterday.
Dunstan Arm predictably stood out as it continued to impress on the national stage.
The club will be well-represented in the semifinals today, as plenty of its crews qualified through yesterday’s heats.
That success came mainly in the women’s grades.
In the senior women’s grade, Paige Furrie, Mackenzie Ealson and two rowers named Sophie Smith took a convincing win in their coxless quadruple sculls heat.
One of the Smiths and Furrie combined to finish second and advance in their senior women’s double sculls heat.
In the senior women’s single sculls, Eva Hofmans delivered an impressive performance to claim a comfortable victory in her heat.
In the senior men’s grade, Simon Smith and Greg McLaughlin also put on a strong display to finish second in their double sculls heat.
The club also had several other crews impress in the club and intermediate grades.
Otago Boys’ High School pupil Reuben Cook also had a strong day.
He claimed a convincing win in his men’s club single sculls heat, before partnering William Haley to finish to win their double sculls heat.
Wanaka’s Pipi Horan was similarly impressive.
She won her intermediate single sculls heat, before teaming with Emily Findlay to win their double sculls heat.
Bella Sarginson, Neve Faed and cox Thomas Mitchell then joined them to win their quadruple sculls heat.
The Otago club’s Grace Twaddle also won her heat in the same single sculls grade.
Meanwhile, Mahe Drysdale faces stiff competition in his attempt to win a 10th national title in the men’s single sculls.
The two-time defending Olympic champion managed only the fifth-best time in the heats yesterday.
Drysdale finished third in his heat, 5sec behind Jordan Parry and 2.5sec behind Tom Murray.
Parry was part of the men’s quad which finished ninth at the 2019 world championships, while Murray claimed silver in the men’s pair.
Up and comer Jack Lopas won the second heat in a time more than 4sec faster than Drysdale and was followed home by past men’s double sculls world champions Chris Harris and John Storey.
The final is today.
— Additional reporting RNZ