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Te Awamutu Ďtop spotí for training

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier

Christís College U16 Rowing TeamBy Cathy Asplin

Don’t be surprised if you hear Te Awamutu people have been cheering on Christ’s College this week at the National Secondary School Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro.

The Christchurch rowers have become ‘adopted sons’ of the town, staying locally at the Roadrunner Motel, enjoying meals specially prepared for them by Robert Harris and, for the first time this year, training on Lake Ngaroto.

Under 16 coach Peter O’Connor says he stayed in Te Awamutu when he was rowing during the 1970’s. The boys’ school has also based its rowers in Te Awamutu for several years while they attend the national champs (staged in North Island alternate years).

“So we knew the town quite well, its close to the airport and just a short hop in hired vehicles over to Lake Karapiro. We have been treated very well here and find it’s beneficial for our rowers to be away from the hype and hustle.”

As a rower he raced on Lake Ngaroto, so was well aware of the training facility close to town. After a chat with the Te Awamutu Rowing Club they came to an arrangement to utilise the storage facilities and the lake.

“We decided to bring up an extra boat this year, as well as a coach boat, and to leave them at Te Awamutu Rowing Club so we could train on the lake. It’s been a great decision.”

Under 18 coach Don McDonald agrees. “Its been a perfect setting for us - easy to get to training, suitable storage for the boats, a relaxed atmosphere - it’s a great wee spot.”

The rowers have also enjoyed warm weather and calm water conditions (unlike the snow, wind and cold weather that hampered last year’s nationals in Twizel).

Mr McDonald has coached at Christ’s College for two years after many years coaching in Wanganui. His current charges won the U18 Eight event at the South Island secondary school championships on Lake Ruataniwha and are expected to challenge the best from the North Island in the glamour race - the Maadi Cup - on Saturday.

If they can win Te Awamutu will no doubt be claiming a tiny piece of the victory as well !