Taiwanese relish time honing skills in Dunedin

Taiwan rowers (from left) Chen Chao-Chen, Wang Yu-Wen and Chiang Shen-Hoa row in the School of...
Taiwan rowers (from left) Chen Chao-Chen, Wang Yu-Wen and Chiang Shen-Hoa row in the School of Physical Education's heat chamber as Dr Ashley Ackerman watches on. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O'CONNOR
A group of Taiwan's top rowers and coaches have been honing their craft in Dunedin.

Part of the Coach Education Initiative held in conjunction with the University of Otago, the group of 10 - including five national team rowers - has been in the city for the past week.

The trip is funded by the Taiwan government and came as a result of a connection with Peter Chen, who spent 30 years teaching at Otago's college of education.

In conjunction with the School of Physical Education, University rowing club and High Performance Sport New Zealand, it educated the Taiwanese across various areas of rowing.

Glen Sinclair, of the rowing club, and Tania Cassidy, from the PE School, had been key organisers.

They had helped bring in a range of coaches to do various sessions with the group.

There had been plenty of technical work and strength and conditioning, as well as things such as nutrition.

Yesterday, the group was in the PE School's heat chamber rowing on ergs in the hot temperatures.

That was something the Taiwanese were looking forward to, as it was a facility they did not have at home.

Indeed, there had been several differences they had noticed across the week.

The strength and conditioning had been one of the notable ones.

In Taiwan, much of that was general across all sports, while in New Zealand they had found it far more rowing-specific.

That came through in the core workouts they did, too.

Also, in Taiwan there tended to be one coach that did everything, while in New Zealand there were assistants and bigger support teams.

There was also a higher focus on technical details, whereas in Taiwan the emphasis was more just on rowing.

Practice was more enjoyable too, without the pressure to perform they felt in Taiwan.

It was part of an ongoing initiative, Otago having hosted a kayak group last year and likely to host another sport next year.

Head coach Chan Mei-Tsu said a great experience last year had been a large reason it had carried on the relationship.

"Last year we had a wonderful experience at the University of Otago because they provided some in-depth lectures - for example, sport physiology and sports nutrition and sport psychology.

"Also [kayak coach] Brendan O'Neill provided us with his expertise in kayaking instruction and training.

"So because of this, we came back."

After finishing in Dunedin the group will move on to Auckland, where it will spend three days before heading home.

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