Top Christchurch-based rower builds future beyond sport

Mark Taylor is set to have a busy week at the national rowing championships at Lake Karapiro....
Mark Taylor is set to have a busy week at the national rowing championships at Lake Karapiro. PHOTO: GUS PATTERSON
It has been a summer of new challenges for Mark Taylor.

He has balanced rowing with full-time work for the first time.

He has also added sweeping to his repertoire.

The Oamaru rower, based at Christchurch’s Southern Regional Performance Centre, will take that into the national championships on Lake Karapiro, beginning on Tuesday.

A week shy of his 21st birthday, he will row in the under-22 single and double sculls, as well as the four.

He will also race in the premier quadruple sculls and the eight.

It is a tough schedule and he said he would probably have a busy first two days and last two days at the event.

But being busy is something he has become used to.

Six days a week he does two and a-half hour training sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening.

In the middle of those he works all day as a builder.

That was in contrast to previous years, when he had used the day to recover.

His results had remained decent — winning three medals at the South Island Championships — although he did feel his rowing had ‘‘taken a bit of a hit’’.

Despite that, it was important to look long-term and realise building had a future beyond rowing.

In the meantime, he was enjoying the mix of both.

"It’s all well and good to sit around and recover and get the most out of your trainings," he said.

"But that’s all I was doing.

"I wasn’t able to save a bit of money and pay for the different things rowing ends.

"Basically, it’s more of a sanity thing, I reckon.

"Rowing goes well most of the time, but if one day it hits the fan and you don’t enjoy it as much, you have something to fall back on and revive the day."

Taylor is in his fourth season at the RPC and feels it has been a worthwhile move.

He has represented New Zealand at both the junior and under-23 world championships and hopes to get a trial for the under-23 squad again.

Progressing from the RPC to the national summer squad was another goal, while the the Paris 2024 Olympics remained the long-term aim.

That would depend on whether he could show he was good enough over the coming years.

However, he knows now he has a future whether that eventuates or not.

"I want to end up building," he said.

"Rowing can only take me so far, but it’s something I want to do. So I’ll take it as far as I can, as far as I want to.

"Then when it feels like I’ve done my run, I’ll have something else I’ve been working on and really enjoying.

"I’ll be able to hop into that and there will be a seamless transition."