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The Maadi Cup begins at Lake Karapiro on Monday, featuring more than 2000 competitors from 131 schools.
In total about 10,000 people are expected to descend on the venue.
Dunstan High School and John McGlashan College were Otago most successful schools at last year's regatta.
Both provide medal hopes again, while Otago Boys' High School is also coming off a fine South Island championships two weeks ago.
Dunstan has dominated the girls grades in the South Island in recent years and has begun to see that translate to the national stage.
It brought home six medals from last year's Maadi Cup and has a chance of repeating that this year. Sophie Smith and Malia Banks form an impressive duo in the under-15 grade.
They provide a chance in the double sculls, while also being part of strong quad and octuple crews, which all won South Island gold medals.
Similar things can be said about MacKenzie Ealson and Paige Furrie in the under-16 grade.
The duo claimed silver in the double at last year's Maadi and gold in the quad and octuple.
In the under-17 grade, Meg Creagh and Skye Morton will also look to back up last year's medal-winning performance.
Otago Boys' has a strong contingent in the under-18 boys grade.
Ben Mason won three gold medals two weeks ago, one of which was in the single sculls.
Coming in one second behind him was Thomas Ryan who will not race the single sculls next week, but forms a strong double with Mason.
Edward George and Jack Webber will join them to contest the quad.
John McGlashan College will be equally threatening in that grade.
Nic Chamberlain claimed gold alongside Jack McLaughlan in the double sculls last year.
He will race with Will Turner this time around, while also contesting the single sculls.
In the under-17 grade, Angus Kenny will hope to be among the contenders.
Columba College's coxed four crew of Antonia Bachop, Niamh Paterson, Sienna Snow, Amelia Findlater and cox Ella Herbert will look to carry on after winning gold two weeks ago.
Among the other prominent single sculls medal chances are Sophie Smith (St Hilda's Collegiate, under-16), Hannah Cunningham (St Kevin's College, under-17) and Eva Hofmans (Bayfield High School, under-18).
Smith will also form a strong double with Mille Davenport, while Cromwell College's Holly Dalzell and Jordyn Robinson are a chance in the under-17 double.