Dunstan Arm crews looking for improvement

Simon Smith
Simon Smith
Dunstan Arm can be confident it will enter this weekend’s regatta in a better place than its last major one.

Illness swept through its crews the week before December’s Otago  championships.

It still returned with a swag of medals though, an ominous sign before this weekend’s Canterbury championships.

Those championships begin at Lake Ruataniwha today and run until tomorrow afternoon.

Dunstan Arm coach and rower Simon Smith said the club’s crews had a much better build-up than it did a month ago.

The club had been successful in recent years and its goal was to keep improving.

"We don’t want to repeat what we’ve done, we want to better what we’ve done," Smith said.

"We’re doing that, we’re finding better boat speed already this year and technical improvements and just tweaked the programme slightly to try to get a bit more out of where we’re at.

"We’re in a stronger position this time this season than we were at the same time last season, and last season was a pretty amazing season for us."

The club is represented right through the grades, although is particularly strong in its age-grade girls crews.

They performed well across the board and won the under-15, 16 and 17 quadruple sculls at the Otago championships.

Particularly strong were the under-15 group.

The quad crew in that grade won their own age group, as well as the under-16 A final.

To do that it pipped the impressive Dunstan Arm under-16 crew, which finished second.

Sophie Smith, Phoebe Wellstead and Malia Banks raced in the winning crew in both grades, while Brooke Williams and Daendie de Beer raced in one each.

The under-17 boys were achieving highly, too.

Will and Zak Healey won the age-group’s double sculls, while Angus Kenny and Cullam Smith joined them to win the quad.

The consistent success across the board is impressive and Smith put it down to the competitive training environment.

"Every single training session they’re competing against each other. It’s constantly testing them and constantly challenging them.

"By the time they get to the regatta they don’t have to worry about competing against their own crews, it’s a bit of a release for them.

"I think it’s just the environment they have — they’re all mates, but they’re trying to beat each other every day."

Smith himself continues to impress in both the open and masters grades.

Despite racing against rowers nearly half his age, he still remains one of the South Island’s top competitors.

While winning was great, he was hoping for some more top performances from his crews this weekend.

That would leave the club in good stead ahead of the national championships and Maadi Cup.

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