Australia has closed off the first leg of the 2018 Trans-Tasman Regatta with a two-point lead over New Zealand. With Saturday seeing the team combine into Eights for heats and finals, it was Australia that came away with the 141 points to New Zealand’s 139 at the close of the day.
Australian U21 Team Head Coach, Jason Lane said: “The team has set themselves up well at the conclusion of the first leg of the regatta but there’s plenty for us to build on in the coming weeks, especially as we only have a two point lead over the Kiwis.
“The athletes will return to their home bases, training in small boats, and then we’ll reconvene in Canberra for a pre-departure camp in August, training in big boats, before we travel to Lake Karapiro for the second leg of the Trans-Tasman. It has been an extremely enjoyable weekend of rowing and I’d also like to extend my gratitude and congratulations to the New Zealand team for making it such a competitive weekend of racing.”
The morning started with calm conditions, and the U21 Lightweights from New Zealand and Australia combining into a quadruple scull to race alongside the Women’s Eights. Porta Bennett and Connor Ryan of Australia joined Kaylin Wren and Jack Castle of New Zealand, with the crew crossing the line first in the heat and second in the final.
New Zealand’s Women’s Eight of Lily Butler, Shannon Cox, Anna MacQuarrie, Justine Hobbs, Danika Caton, Claudia Mecchia, Grace Holland, Jessica Turfrey and coxswain Kaitlyn Shields were the victors of the two female eights, crossing the line in a time of 6 minutes 55 seconds, with Australia coming in 5.89 seconds behind them.
Australia’s Women’s Eight featuring Celia Cowan, Michaela Franz, Alexandra Findlay, Ella Bramwell, Sky Froebel, Kirstie Green, Charlotte Wirtz, Olivia Bartram and coxswain Phoebe Georgakas battled increasing head winds and choppy waters for the final. The Australians finished second to New Zealand again, in this instance in a time in a time of 8 minutes and 2 seconds, which was 7.28 seconds behind the New Zealanders.
In the Men’s Eights, it was Australia who dominated both the heat and the final. The crew of Nathan Kennedy, Rohan James, Matthew Murray, Alex Grzeskowiak, Alex Nichol, Jackson Kench, Nick Lavery, Paddy Holt and coxswain Andrew Le were the victors in the final in a time of 6 minutes 3 seconds.
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Joseph Graham, Cameron Donald, Nathan Luff, TK McLaren-Taplin, Blake Bradshaw, Angus Shotter, James Brott, Jordan Gasson and coxswain Xavier Ram managed to improve their finishing time from the heat when it came to the finals. The New Zealanders crossed the line in the heat some 19.35 seconds behind the Australians, however in the final the men in black upped their game, finishing in a time of 6 minutes 9 seconds, 5.83 seconds behind the Australians.
The second leg of the Trans-Tasman Regatta takes place from 23 to 25 August on Lake Karapiro, New Zealand.