Day 4 of the Aon Maadi Regatta featured clear skies and a gentle tailwind that persisted throughout the shortened day of racing.

With only four hours scheduled on the program, today offered a mix of relaxation for some and intense competition for others, particularly for our U18 sculling competitors.

The day kicked off with the girls U18 2x event. Te Awamutu College secured victory in the D-final, while Marian College claimed the win in the C-final. The first semi-final showcased Wellington Girls' dominant performance, clinching both the lead and the fastest time of the day. Hillcrest High's Rowan Giles and Madeline Coombes coached by Georgia Allen narrowly edged out St. Andrews by just over a second, securing their spot in the A-final. In the second semi-final, Mt. Aspiring's Annie Wells and Annika Massey, under the guidance of coach Matt Rickard, led Marlborough until the closing stages when Abby Craig and Ella Barnes surged ahead, winning for Marlborough Girls by almost two seconds. Cambridge High and Nelson Girls finished together on the line, rounding out the A-final qualifiers from that semi-final. Whanganui High is now set to compete against St. Andrews in the B-final.

MtAspiring Girls U18 2X

Mt. Aspiring's Annie Wells and Annika Massey competing in the girls U18 2x semi-final. Photo: Sharron Bennett Photography

In the girls U16 4x+ event, both Columba College and Whanganui High had two crews qualify for the semi-finals. Their top crews will compete in the A-final, while their second crews will contend in the B-final alongside St. Hildas, Auckland Diocesan, Hauraki Plains, Hillcrest High, Marion College, and Kings College. Be sure to cheer all of these crews on as making any final at this regatta is an exceptional achievement. 

Columba College GU16 Quad Semi (1)

Columba College Girls U16 4x+ in the semi-finals. Photo: Picture Show Ltd 

Make sure to catch the girls U18 1x finals, as they promise to be exciting. In today's semi-final, the times were very close, with five crews heading into the A-final within four seconds of each other. Among them is last year's U17 1x winner, Tegan O'Dwyer from Cambridge High School. The winners of each semi-final were clear, with Emma Bagrie from Wellington Girls' clocking a time of 8:02.04 and Tegan Negus from John Paul College finishing in 8:13.44. The question now is whether Emma will beat last year's U18 1x winning time of 8:01.04 in the final. 

Tegan O'Dwyer Cambridge high School GU18 1X Semi (1)

Tegan O'Dwyer from Cambridge High School racing in the Girls U18 1x semi final. Photo: Picture Show Ltd 

A preview of the excitement awaiting in the boys U18 2x final was evident in semi-final one. A sprint to the finish between Macleans College and John McGlashan College saw the gap closing on the leading crew of Xavier Small and Ashton White from Wakatipu High School. All three crews crossed within two seconds of each other, setting the stage for a thrilling final. Similarly, in semi-final two, the first three crews also finished within two seconds of each other, promising a fiercely competitive final. The crew from Glendowie College of Zane Cook and Frank Ison have also qualified for the A-final of the pair - a fearsome duo it seems.

Wakatipu BU18 2x (1)

Xavier Small and Ashton White from Wakatipu High School racing in the boys U18 2x  semi final. Photo: Sharron Bennett Photography

Several rowers in the girls U18 4x+ competed in their third race of the morning, having already raced in the singles and doubles earlier. Mt. Aspiring showcased another strong performance, leading semi-final one past the 500m mark with a commanding lead. However, the Ashburton quad began to close the gap, ultimately winning by two seconds over Mt. Aspiring. Marian College's third crew followed in third place, with Wanganui High securing fourth. In semi-final two, Wellington Girl’s took the win, followed by Cashmere High, Auckland Diocesan, and Marlborough Girls, who crossed together to progress to the A-final. In the B-final, there will be a battle for the top ten badges as both Iona College and Villa Maria College crossed in fifth place with a time of 7:30.8. 

Marlborough U18 4X

Marlborough Girls U18 4x+ semi final. Photo: Sharron Bennett Photography 

In the boys U18 1x, Matthew Dennis from Christchurch Boys High School emerged victorious in the D-final, while Harry Febery from Taupo-Nui-A-Tia College claimed the top spot in the C-final. Following the quarter-finals earlier in the day, this marked the second race for these athletes. Semi-final one saw an historic moment for Tauhara College, as Joseph Williams secured fourth place, earning the school's first-ever A-final showing at the Aon Maadi Regatta. In semi-final two, a thrilling duel unfolded between the day's fastest scullers, Josh Bartlett from Timaru Boys and James Dimock from Macleans College raced, in a line, to the line, with Bartlett beating Dimock by a mere 0.05 seconds, both finishing with a time of 7:24. Not far behind was Jameson McConnochie from Tauranga Boys, last year's U17 1x champion, who finished in 7:29.36.

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Joseph Williams from Tauhara College Boys through to the U18 1x A Final. Photo: Picture Show Ltd. 

All rounds of qualification have now been completed, paving the way for the final two days of competition for the 2024 Aon Maadi Regatta. For those narrowly missing out on the A-final, the B-final will be a chance to shine and fight for not only the win but a top-ten spot in the country. In U18 events, participants in the B-final will aim for a top-ten badge, which may also include a feature on the athlete profile page on rowit.nz. It may be a proud addition to their school blazer, and only a small symbol of the dedication and hard work put into the season. For everyone else they will be taking away the memories of pride for everything they have left on the race track this week.

For the rest of the results of today's racing see the results tab on rowit.nz and follow along on the livestream proudly sponsored by Milford - rowinghub.co.nz/livestream

Plus, follow Aon Maadi Regatta on Facebook and/or Instagram for 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.