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There is a little extra motivation for Dunstan’s rowers this year.
They had been on track for another dominant Maadi Cup, the national secondary school rowing championship regatta.
Then Covid-19 hit and, as in the way of so many other things, they had their season cut short.
Now, they are on something
of a mission.
After a break during lockdown, the Dunstan Arm rowers had come back enthused and had a good winter training programme.
Many of them were key in Otago’s interprovincial championships win earlier in the season.
As they head into the Otago championships, which begin today at Lake Ruataniwha, coach Simon Smith is confident about where the team was at.
"I think everyone came back with a lot of unfinished business," he said.
"They came back with some real big goals for this season — we’ve got some big goals for this year.
"Obviously, we’ve got a very strong senior group and a very strong junior group.
"We’re missing it through the middle a little bit.
"We’ve got some big aspirations with nationals and then Maadi Cup.
"We try to constantly just get better, tweak things slightly and try to get better and better."
Many of the rowers had returned personal-best erg test results this week, Smith said.
Those were encouraging signs.
However, at this point he was not too worried about results.
The Otago championships would be a good indicator for where they were at, while also a chance to test some combinations.
Smith said alongside many of the stars from recent years, the club also had a talented crop of novices coming through.
The ability to continue its success has been notable
at the club.
"That’s been the big key to
our success. We’ve kept it going for a number of years now.
"We’ve been very successful for close to nine years with our Maadi results and our nationals results.
"You’ve got to keep thinking from the bottom up.
"You’re not going to have a top end unless you’ve got a bottom end.
"You’ve got to keep putting into the juniors, filling in that bottom of the bucket and everything will come out the top."
Dunstan’s rowers will be among 1089 competitors in Twizel this weekend.
Notable among those is the 38-person St Peter’s Cambridge crew, which is travelling south as a replacement for the Maadi Cup trip to Twizel which was cancelled last year.
Racing begins today and concludes tomorrow.