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Burning the calories at summer rowing camps

07 Feb 2018

Nearly 190 boys spent much of the summer holidays at Lake Ruataniwha, as part of the rowing programme run at College since mid-2014.

“We go away the first week of the December holidays, and again from 5 January and 19 January, taking 63 boys each time and staying in houses and farmstays at Twizel,” says Henry Smith, Head Coach and Master in Charge of Rowing.

“With parents catering for two of the camps and College kitchen manager Rex Quigley catering for the other, this is a huge event, requiring 359 meals a day on average. Boys burn between 6000–7000 calories a day so they need plenty of good food.”

All U16, U17 and U18 boys attend, plus a few U15s – engaged in  

33 intense days of training over the course of the three training camps. The seniors within the rowing programme will cover close to 1500km over this period, and the juniors about 1000km.

“The camps are as much about culture as rowing.  The philosophy is that when they leave the programme, they will be a better person than when they walked through the doors.

“It’s social, they’re with their mates; it’s a sport they choose, often if cricket or athletics don’t appeal; and it’s for boys who want to win. They learn that they need the right mental attitude. Rowing teaches you that the more you put in, the more you get out. It’s about work and reward.”

College has won the Maadi Cup 11 times since 1987, and is the only school that hasn’t been out of the top eight in the last 30 years of Maadi competition.

“We usually have 15–20 boats selected to attend Maadi and around 45–50 boys.”

This year’s event will be held at Ruataniwha on Monday 19 to Saturday 24 March.

In preparation, the boys are now training up to 30 hours a week at Kerr’s Reach – 10 times a week for seniors and eight times for juniors. Not until a couple of days before the regatta will the boats be confirmed, says Henry.

“It’s a tough, brutal process, but it’s fair and the boys understand it. Everything is transparent.”

Working with Henry on the rowing programme are teachers Tony O’Connor and Andrew Taylor, former New Zealand rowers Ian Smallman, Lucy Hutchinson and Chris Newman, full time rowing coach and boatman Malcolm McIntyre, and rowing tutor for 21 years, Anthony McNamara. 

Rowing Camp 2

Rowing Camp 1

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