Oarsome turnout for regatta

Te Awamutu Rowing Club’s Richard McDermott competed in the men’s masters’ singles. Photo: Jeremy Smith 

Rowing was back on the water at Lake Karāpiro on the weekend and it was the Te Awamutu Rowing Club which got the season off to a great start. Reporter Jeremy Smith was there to capture the action…

Te Awamutu Rowing Club’s second annual Clive Steenson Memorial Regatta on Lake Karāpiro attracted more clubs than the event
under its previous guises ever did.

Now, organisers are reflecting on a day they say “couldn’t have gone any better” after more than 700 rowers from 20 clubs from as far north as Whangārei, and as far south as Clifton, took to the water.

Though the club has run the long-standing event for more than 50 years, it was renamed the Clive Steenson Memorial last year to honour its club stalwart, who died in 2021.

It is designed to provide rowers who are new to the sport another opportunity
to row in a competitive environment.

For some competitors, Saturday was their very first race – and estimates were that about 230 of the athletes who took part were novices in the sport, or in their first year of rowing.

The rest were in either their second or third year.

Throughout an association which spanned at least 55 years, Steenson coached the Te Awamutu club for 40, helping it become the best in New Zealand in 1981, when the club won the Centennial Oar.

“Without Clive’s legacy, the Te Awamutu club simply wouldn’t be what it is today,” club regatta secretary Ann Edmondson told The News.

All told, 30 Te Awamutu rowers took part, joined by other Waipā competitors from Cambridge Rowing Club, Cambridge High
School, St Peter’s School, and Waikato Rowing Club.

“Clive was a man who was, quite simply, dedicated to the betterment of rowing and he took pleasure in the process of helping others
row well,” Ann said.

“So, with that in mind, Saturday was an absolutely brilliant day.”

Rochelle Panting, front, heads to the water with Wendy Reynolds. It was Wendy’s first rowing race.

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