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Macaela Turfus is eyeing up a big year and hoping it starts well at the New Zealand Championships, which begin on Lake Ruataniwha today.
Turfus rows out of the Dunstan Arm club when home in summer but is a member of the Regional Performance Centre based in Christchurch.
She is one of about 20 rowers in the Southern RPC - the other RPCs are in Auckland, Waikato and the Central region.
The RPCs were set up by New Zealand Rowing to enable promising rowers to train together and receive specialised coaching.
Turfus (20) impressed while competing for Dunstan Arm while at Dunstan High School and has just begun her second year at the RPC.
It is tough work with a high performance environment which asks much of the athlete.
"It is such a good environment as everyone who is there, wants to be there, and are there to work hard,'' she said.
"We do anything from 10 to 13 trainings a week. On the water most mornings and then in the afternoons we might do an erg or do some gym work. We get Sundays off and also Thursday afternoons.
"You have to be organised obviously and with study coming up you have to have everything planned out. But it is a lot of fun. You are with girls who want to do the same thing as you.''
For the championships this week, she is in the under-20 singles, the under-20 doubles with Marion Hardwick and the under-22 doubles with Shannon Cox.
She is studying nutrition at Christchurch Polytechnic, mixed in with rowing training.
The goal for her this year is to make the national under-21 squads which will compete against Australia in a series later this year.
The trials are at Lake Karapiro in May so this week's championships will be a good guide to where she is with her form.
Other Otago athletes rowing out of the RPC southern squad are Mark Taylor (Oamaru), Jared Brenssell (Oamaru), Bradley Leydon (John McGlashan) and Jack McLaughlan (John McGlashan).
The championships have attracted 764 athletes from 49 clubs with 77 events being contested. The finals start on Thursday and continue to Saturday.
There are four grades at the national championship.
A rower begins as a novice. Once they have completed their novice year, they will move to intermediate. Once they win a medal nationally in intermediate, they then move up to club. The same applies to club, where you then move up to senior.
A competititor can then stay senior as as long as they do not row for an RPC. The RPC athletes can row only in the premier class, but anyone can enter premier to race against them.