Two Sophie Smiths relishing time together

Sophie Smith from Dunedin (left) and Sophie Smith from Alexandra shoot a smile at the camera...
Sophie Smith from Dunedin (left) and Sophie Smith from Alexandra shoot a smile at the camera prior to racing together for Dunstan Arm at Lake Ruataniwha earlier this season. PHOTO: SHARRON BENNETT
Sophie Smith had no-one to row with in Dunedin this summer.

So the 17-year-old shifted to Alexandra to link with the girls powerhouse Dunstan Arm Club, moving in with head coach Simon Smith and his family.

She shares a bedroom with his daughter, who also happens to be a star rower.

Her name?

You guessed it — Sophie.

Not only are both Sophie Smiths living together, they are also racing together.

They are in a double sculls boat, as well as a quadruple sculls crew with Mackenzie Ealson and Paige Furrie, and an eight.

It has created its fair share of confusion.

They are now known as Sophie A (16) and Sophie D (17) — referring to Sophie Alexandra and Sophie Dunedin.

Both have had impressive school rowing careers to date, having achieved well on the national stage.

They have also both represented Otago at the South Island interprovincial meeting and rowed together there.

Today, they will be among the top competitors at the South Island championships at Lake Ruataniwha.

Simon Smith said the transition had gone well.

"It’s turned out really good.

"They’re like sisters really. Actually, the whole crew’s like that.

"They train together on a daily basis, they gym together — it’s enhanced both of their rowing abilities.

"The way they’ve been able to gel together and push each other and support each other."

While there was some "friendly rivalry" between the pair, they largely brought out the best in each other.

Sophie D — who has moved from St Hilda’s Collegiate to Dunstan High School this year — was enjoying the switch.

Alongside the club competitions, she will also compete for Dunstan at the Maadi Cup, which it has had plenty of success in over recent years.

"It’s pretty different to Dunedin," Sophie D said.

"But training-wise it’s a lot funner having all the girls around."

The South Island championships were another stepping stone for the Dunstan squad, which was tracking well ahead of the busy part of the season.

 

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