Remember the city promo line Absolutely Positively Wellington?

It sure was when the U19 Women’s Eight was announced:

Georgia Bethell, Rangi Ruru Girls’ School

Nicole Vance, Rangi Ruru Girls’ School

Alice Wallis, Rangi Ruru Girls’ School

Emma Bagrie, Wellington Girls’ College

Nico Daly, Star Boating Club, (ex-Wellington Girls’ College)

Kate Barham, Wellington East Girls’ College

Zola Kemp, Wellington Girls’ College

Phoebe Wallis, Rangi Ruru Girls’ College

Annabel Wynn-Williams (cox), Rangi Ruru Girls’ College.

What a day for college rowing in Wellington, four girls named in the boat also heading to the worlds in Paris and made even better by Maxim Ericson from Wellington College making the U19 Men’s Quad.

Zola Kemp and Emma Bagrie were part of the Wellington Girls’ College U18 four that won bronze at the Aon Maadi Regatta.

Zola reckons the idea of making a New Zealand boat grew out of being part of the North/South U18 series last year and this season only added to her belief.

The first thing a lot of the athletes did after the selection announcement was hit the phones to let friends and family know.

National trials are quite a transformative experience - one minute you’re a rower in a schools programme, the next you’re being measured for a New Zealand uniform and off to Paris.

Nico Daly (Women’s Eight) got a series of Paris emojis from her father. That really helped things sink in for her.

Here’s Kate Barham from Wellington East Girls’ College explaining the reaction from her parents.



Andy Hay

Andy Hay is a freelance producer, writer and rowing coach. He coxed New Zealand's world champion eight in 1982 and '83.