As the final day of the 2024 Aon Maadi Regatta dawned, anticipation filled the air. Throughout the week, the regatta had been blessed with spectacular weather, and today was no exception.

 

The morning greeted participants with clear skies, setting the stage for an exhilarating conclusion to the event. Athletes prepared to demonstrate their skill and determination under ideal conditions, promising a day of thrilling races. Competitors and spectators alike gathered, buzzing with excitement for the culmination of this prestigious regatta. However, there was a bittersweet feeling in the air, as the day marked the end of competition, stirring mixed emotions for all involved.

The third event of the day featured one of the prestigious events, the girls U18 1x, where the top female sculler was to be determined. Tegan Negus from John Paul College quickly took the lead, determined to maintain her position after being the second fastest qualifier from the semi-finals. Emma Bagrie from Wellington Girls had a slow start but quickly found her race pace, pulling alongside Tegan. Behind them, four crews formed a line as they passed the 500m mark. By the halfway point, Emma had surged ahead, leaving the rest of the field clear water behind. The focus then shifted to the battle for the minor medals, with crews jostling for position. Tegan Negus (JPCR), Sophie Gibson (ASHB), and Tegan O’Dwyer (CAMB) were right alongside each other, with Sophie Gibson from Ashburton making the first decisive move to break away with her dominant swing style stroke. Tegan from Cambridge followed suit, pulling ahead of Tegan from Rotorua. Emma secured a commanding victory, finishing over 11 seconds ahead. Sophie Gibson claimed silver, while Tegan O’Dwyer, last year's U17 1x winner, clinched bronze from lane one.

GU18 1X Welington (3)

Emma Bagrie from Wellington Girls College after winning the girls U18 1x. Photo: Picture Show Ltd. 

In the boys U18 1x, Carter Baxter from St. Thomas of Canterbury in lane three surged ahead of the pack right from the start, quickly pulling away to a clear-water lead by the 500m mark. The rest of the field seemed to adopt a more measured approach, with only lane one falling behind as they approached the halfway point. The second half of the race promised to be where the real action would unfold. James Dimock from Macleans College was the first to make a move, gradually catching up to Carter and pulling level by the halfway mark. He was closely followed by Matthew O'Meara (JMCG), Josh Bartlett (TIMB), Jameson McConnochie (TRGB), and Jimmy Middleditch (CASH). Dimock maintained his pace and stayed ahead of the field, with a close finish for second to fourth place. Josh Bartlett from Timaru Boys made a strong final sprint, overtaking the field with the highest rating, moving from half a length down to secure the silver medal. Matthew O'Meara from John McGlashan College just beat out Jimmy Middleditch from Cashmere by only 0.02 seconds to claim the bronze. A phenomenal finish from all on the line.

BU18 1X McLeans (4)

James Dimock from Macleans College after winning the boys U18 1x. Photo: Picture Show Ltd 

The girls U16 4+ race was highly impressive, with St. Kentigern College's crew in lane seven getting ahead early and bringing along the U15 4+ winners from last year, Westlake Girls. Columba College, identifiable by their distinctive orange hats, began to make their move, gradually pulling ahead of Westlake by the halfway mark. The battle for third place was closely contested, making the third 500m a crucial part of the race for the field to establish their positions. Columba College continued to gain distance on Westlake, with the South Island crews on the inside challenging the North Island crews on the outside for third. Waikato Diocesan, in their tandem-rigged four, put on an incredibly impressive display in the last 500m, closing the gap on Westlake and carrying that momentum across the finish line to secure the silver medal. Westlake Girls settled for bronze, while Columba College, coached by Jared Brenssell and Ellen Foley, maintained their composure to clinch the gold medal.

COLU U16 4+ (2)

Columba College after winning the girls U16 4+ Photo: Sharron Bennett Photography 

The girls U18 4x+ race posed the question of whether the crew from Wellington Girls, coached by Catherine Duffin and featuring Emma Bagrie in the three seat, could claim the single, double, and quad titles. Initially, the black and gold crew from Mt. Aspiring took the lead, but Wellington Girls quickly surged ahead. Cashmere High, known for their beautiful, upright, and long quad style, began to close the gap on Wellington. Having already claimed victory in the U16 and U17 4x+ earlier in the regatta, Cashmere High was determined to add the U18 title to their collection. Meanwhile, Ashburton's bow was hovering just on Cashmere's stern, holding third place. With 250m to go, Cashmere had closed the gap to just two seats, both crews trying to make a decisive move up or pull away. As they approached the final stretch, the gap narrowed to a canvas, and then vanished altogether. In a thrilling finish, Cashmere College, coached by Matt Allen and Joe Young, clinched the title, completing a clean sweep of the U16, U17, and U18 quad events at the 2024 Aon Maadi Regatta. This is the first time this has happened in Maadi Regatta’s history. Their winning time was 7:16.99, with Wellington taking a close second in 7:17.75, and Ashburton College securing third place with a time of 7:23.45.

Cash U18 4X

Cashmere College after winning the girls U18 4x+. Photo Sharron Bennett Photography

Earlier today, several rowers who had competed in the single sculls also participated in the boys U18 2x. The John McGlashan duo started strongly, seeking to avenge their silver medal in the U17 double sculls last season by aiming for gold today. By the halfway point, they had a significant lead over last year's winner, Xavier Small, joining Ashton White this year from Wakatipu High, with Josh Bartlett and Blake Parker from Timaru Boys making their customary surge towards James Dimock and Logan Turrall from Macleans College in the latter half of the race. Pukekohe High School's crew, sat just off the pace of these crews in fifth. Angus Loe and Matthew O'Meara from John McGlashan College claimed victory, followed by Wakatipu High in second and Macleans College in third place.

 

In the girls U15 8+ race, Waikato Diocesan and Epsom Girls Grammar initially took a slight lead, by the 500m mark, all crews were still within half a length of each other. Rangi Ruru's second crew then went ahead, overtaking their number one crew. The coxswain of Rangi Ruru's second crew, Charlie Ward, issued a challenge to Grace O'Connor, the coxswain of the number one crew. Waikato Diocesan stayed close behind Rangi Ruru, with Auckland Diocesan in fourth place. Despite both Rangi Ruru crews pulling ahead to clear water, they continued to battle fiercely for the lead. In the final stages, a fast-finishing St. Margaret's crew pressured Waikato Diocesan, but Waikato Diocesan managed to hold them off. The Rangi Ruru number two crew beat their number one crew at the line, resulting in Rangi Ruru Girls claiming both gold and silver, reminiscent of their success in the U18 8+ event last year. Waikato Diocesan secured the bronze, over St. Margaret's by a mere 0.31 seconds.

History was made in the boys novice U18 4x+ when the crew from Te Aho O Te Kura Pounamu fought bravely for the gold medal with Whanganui High. They were just out-sprinted in the closing stages but will take home the silver medal from their schools only A-final at their first ever Aon Maadi Regatta. A school to look out for in the coming years.

BN18 4X+

On the podium - the boys novice U18 4x+bronze, silver and gold medal winners. Photo: Picture Show Ltd. 

The final races of the day were the boys and girls U18 8+s’. The crowd was at full capacity as everyone was interested in the final events of the 2024 Aon Maadi Regatta.

The first of the ultimate races of the day was underway with Rangi Ruru and Waikato Diocesan up a canvas early. However, Christchurch Girls made a strong move, extending away to lead the pack at the 500m mark. Christchurch Girls continued to push ahead, with St. Margaret's joining Waikato Diocesan and Rangi Ruru in a tight battle for silver. St. Margaret's gradually pulled ahead of the other two crews, closing in on Christchurch Girls' lead. Despite the intense competition, Christchurch Girls maintained their lead, spurred on by their determination to win the Levin Jubilee for the first time. With a remarkable display of strength and skill, Christchurch Girls crossed the finish line first, securing the gold. St. Margarets claimed silver, while Rangi Ruru fought off Waikato Diocesan to take home the bronze in a thrilling race to the finish.

As the excitement was felt at the finish line, the last race of the day sat poised in the blocks, ready to close out the program for the 2024 Aon Maadi Regatta. 

St Magarets Girls High School GU18 8+ Silver Medal (3)

Christchurch Girls U18 Coxed eights crew. Photo: Picture Show Ltd.

As the excitement was felt at the finish line, the last race of the day sat poised in the blocks, ready to close out the program for the 2024 Aon Maadi Regatta. 

A fast start from St. Bede's, St. Peter's College, and Christchurch Boys set the tone for an exciting race. St. Peter's initially took the lead at the 500m mark, but the rest of the field was close behind, keeping the race wide open. As they reached the 1000m mark, St. Peter's and Hamilton Boys were stroke for stroke, with St. Bede's in third. Hungry for victory after coming second last year, Hamilton Boys began to increase their lead, tightening the screws on the rest of the field. St. Bede's surged alongside St. Peter's, creating a tense battle for silver. In a thrilling finish, St. Bedes and St. Peter's crossed the line together but ultimately St. Bedes claimed the silver medal by a mere 0.15 seconds. Hamilton Boys High School crossed the finish line first, securing the Maadi Cup. This victory added to Hamilton Boys' impressive week, having also won the U18 pair and four events. The race marked an historic moment for St. Peter's, who claimed the bronze medal, showcasing their new found strength in eights rowing. Rowers in the St. Peter’s College crew also won gold in the U18 4x+ yesterday, making them extremely diverse rowers.

Hamilton Boys BU18 8+ Maadi Cup Winners (2)

Hamilton Boys High U18 Coxed eights crew. Photos: Picture Show Ltd. 

It was incredible to see the 33 schools finish the week with a national title to take home as well as the 54 different schools who were able to receive cheers from their supporters on the podium. An amazing 52 percent of schools attending this regatta have made the dias in what has been an incredible nationals event at Lake Ruataniwha. Thank you to all the supporters, volunteers, umpires, coaches and athletes who made this week as special as it was.

Sitting on top of the points tables for the 2024 Aon Maadi Regatta are:

  • Star Trophy (for overall champion rowing): 1st - Hamilton Boys High School (29), 2nd - Rangi Ruru Girls School (27), 3rd - St. Margarets College (24)
  • Executive Trophy (for champion sweep oar rowing): 1st - Rangi Ruru Girls School (27), 2nd (equal) - St. Margarets College and Hamilton Boys High School
  • Presidents Scull (for champion sculls rowing): 1st (equal) - Wakatipu High School and Cashmere College (20), 3rd - Whanganui High School (19)

Congratulations also goes to all other medalists today:

GU16 4x+: 1st - Cashmere High, 2nd - Dunstan High, 3rd - St. Pauls Collegiate

BU16 2x: 1st - St. Pauls Collegiate, 2nd - Glendowie College, 3rd - Whanganui High

GU15 2x: 1st - Twizel Area School, 2nd - Dunstan High, 3rd - Queen Margaret College

BU15 4x+: 1st - Tauranga Boys College, 2nd - Timaru Boys High, 3rd - St Kentigern College

GU17 8+: 1st - St. Margarets College, 2nd - Rangi Ruru Girls, 3rd - St. Peters School

GNU18 4x+: 1st - Whanganui Collegiate, 2nd - Ashburton College, 3rd - Villa Maria College

BNU18 4+: 1st - Otago Boys High, 2nd - Hamilton Boys High, 3rd - Whanganui High

BU16 8+: 1st - Christs College, 2nd - Kings College, 3rd - Westlake Boys High

GU17 2-: 1st - Craighead Diocesan, 2nd - Rangi Ruru Girls, 3rd - St. Hildas Collegiate

BU17 2-: 1st - Marlborough Boys College, 2nd - Sacred Heart College (Auckland), 3rd - St. Thomas of Canterbury

BU15 4+: 1st - Kings College, 2nd - St. Bedes College, 3rd - Hamilton Boys High

GU17 2x: 1st - St. Peters School, 2nd - St. Pauls Collegiate, 3rd - Marion College

BU17 4x+: 1st - Wakatipu High, 2nd - Wanganui Collegiate, 3rd - Whakatane High

GNU18 4+: 1st - St. Margarets College, 2nd - Cambridge High, 3rd - Waitaki Girls High

BNU18 4x+: 1st - Whanganui High, 2nd - Te Aho O Te Kura Pounamu, 3rd - St. Pauls Collegiate

GU16 2x: 1st - Dunstan High, 2nd - Sacred Heart Girls (Hamilton), 3rd - Onslow College

BU16 1x: 1st - Wellington College, 2nd - Whakatane High, 3rd - Nelson College

 

For the full list of the results from this week's racing see the results tab on rowit.nz and play back the livestream proudly sponsored by Milford - rowinghub.co.nz/livestream

Be sure to follow Aon Maadi Regatta on Facebook and/or Instagram to relive all the colour from the regatta.

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Anna De Long

Anna De Long's first Maadi was at Lake Ruataniwha in 2008, she was a U19 NZ Team coach in 2023 and will be again in 2024. Anna is also the Women's Lead Coach at Waikato Rowing Club.