Historic results only likely to open more doors for Kiwi recruits.

 

The influence New Zealand athletes are having on US college rowing is shining even brighter after the season ending NCAA and IRA championships this weekend.

University of Washington smashed the 1V Eight at the IRAs in New Jersey as well as picking up the national points championship.

Former St Peter’s Auckland athlete Harry Fitzpatrick now a part of sporting history after sitting in two seat of the Huskies eight that took out the big title, winning in 5min 27.24sec.

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Harry Fitzpatrick in two seat of the Huskies eight that took out the big title, winning in 5min 27.24sec. Photo: Sharron Bennett 

Cal Berkeley, last year’s champions, were third in 5.30.44 with former Auckland Grammar boy Tommy Barrell stroking.

Former Cambridge High student Seth Hope was in the Yale 1V that finished fifth.

Washington claimed the prestigious Ten Eyck trophy for overall points, with their 2V Eight also winning. They absolutely smoked the opposition on the Mercer Lake course, finishing in 5.34.31.

That boat included former Hamilton Boys’ cox Kieran Joyce, Ethan Blight out of St Kentigern and Ben Shortt from Auckland Grammar.

Former St Peter’s Auckland athlete Harry Fitzpatrick now a part of sporting history after sitting in two seat of the Huskies eight that took out the big title, winning in 5min 27.23sec.

Another former Westlaker, Brahn Erdmann, helped Harvard collect the Lightweight Men’s Eight title in 5.36.82, with ex-Otago Boys’ athlete Reuben Cook in the Princeton eight that finished second in 5.39.40.

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Former Westlaker, Brahn Erdmann was in the  Harvard crew that won gold in the Lightweight Men’s Eight. Photo: Sharron Bennett 

But one of the most inspiring New Zealand influences has to be with the emergence of Tennessee University at the NCAA women’s championship held in Bethel, Ohio.

Last season a group of four New Zealand athletes, Alice Fahey, Meg Flanagan, Nicole Campbell and Sophie Hill transferred with their coaches from Southern Methodist in Texas to join the Tennessee programme.

“I think coming over from SMU, we all knew that it was practically two crews combining and that we had to make an effort from the start to become one or else nothing would work,” says Alice. “So, we really went in with the mindset of let's just like get to know each other, see how we work together and then just commit, commit, commit!”

The results have been spectacular. Tennessee moving from a school hovering around the top 20 in the country to winning a bronze in the 1V Eight, as well as finishing third in the overall standings.

Sophie stroked the 2V Eight that won a bronze. That race was won by Stanford, which included Beckie Leigh, the U23 who won a silver with the New Zealand Four at the world championships last year.

Alice puts a lot of Tennessee’s success down to the coaching team of Kim Cupini and MJ Keys, the twin sister of New Zealand age-group and Avon coach Logan.

Alice has one more year at Tennessee and reckons they are just getting started.

“Considering all the foundations we built this year I'm excited to see where the crew will go next year. And we've got some very fast recruits coming in too.”

Texas won the 1V Eight in 6.09.92, with Lucy Burrell sitting in three seat of the Stanford boat that finished second in 6.11.80.

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Tennessee University sqaud at the NCAA women’s championship held in Bethel, Ohio.

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Meg Flanagan, Nicole Campbell, Sophie Hill and Alice Fahey - Kiwis from Tennessee University representing at the NCAA women’s championship held in Bethel, Ohio.

Indiana is also a programme on the move.

New Zealanders Nico Daly, Piper Maaka, and sisters Sophie and Emily Bowden, part of the crew that was second in the C Final of the 1V Eight.

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Indiana University women's rowing team on route to the NCAA women’s championship held in Bethel, Ohio.

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New Zealander Nico Daly, part of the crew that was second in the C Final of the 1V Eight for Indiana University at NCAA women’s championship held in Bethel, Ohio. 

Presentations were a big opportunity to catch up with all the other New Zealand athletes. And then it was on the bus for the four-hour trip back to Knoxville, Tenn.

After that, Alice Fahey is on a plane back to New Zealand, where Under 23 trials await.

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Andy Hay

Andy Hay is a freelance producer, writer and rowing coach. He was cox of the world champion New Zealand eight of 1982 and '83. He is NZ Olympian #446.