Major effort for Maadi

About 2000 secondary school athletes are gearing up to compete at this year’s Aon Maadi Regatta in Twizel from March 18-23, hoping the hours they’ve poured into early-morning trainings will pay off.

Behind the scenes, a huge effort has been ploughed into getting everyone to the annual New Zealand Secondary School Rowing Championships.

The 2021 Maadi Cup parade reaches Cambridge’s Town Square after parading through the town. Photo: Mary Anne Gill.

The annual Maadi Regatta alternates between Lake Ruataniwha in Twizel and Lake Karāpiro. Heading south from Waipā are 46 athletes from St Peter’s Cambridge, 44 from Cambridge High School and two from Te Awamutu College.

For the parents, caregivers, coaches and support people involved the journey south is a major logistical exercise.

“We have to take everything we need – boats, oars, ergs for warming up and a big marquee the kids hang out in during the day,” said Cambridge High School rowing chairperson Nic Peacocke.

Peacocke is one of nine parents, five volunteer coaches and one teacher travelling south to support Cambridge High School’s 44-strong team at this year’s Maadi Regatta.

Also going is Karl Manson, employed to run the school’s rowing programme this year.  Manson attended four Maadi Regattas and rowed for New Zealand for seven years, taking silver in the men’s quad at the Rowing World Cup in Switzerland in 2015.

His Cambridge High team will be driven to Auckland on Saturday  and fly to Christchurch then travel to Twizel in rental vans hired for the week.  Their 12 boats will be driven to the South Island on a trailer.

The Maadi Cup, the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest secondary school sports event, isn’t cheap: with all costs factored in, Waipa’s athletes will each fork out around $3000 to take part.

“We fundraise to operate the rest of the season, but Maadi rowers pay for themselves,” Peacocke said.  “It is a big cost, but it’s a pretty amazing experience for the kids.”

St Peter’s Cambridge will take 42 rowers and four coxswains to the regatta.

“At Maadi, we’re fortunate to have our supporters on hand providing support – we’ll be taking down boats and a support trailer with equipment to cater for the rowers, and our parents and caregivers very ably take on the responsibility of cooking breakfasts and lunches for the team,” said director of rowing Josh Wedlake.

The team will stay about 40 minutes out from Twizel, on the way to Mt Cook.

Te Awamutu rowers Asarina Johnson (left) and Casey Lee Baker relax on the pontoon after a training session at Lake Ngaroto. Photo – Alya Mexted.



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