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Christ’s College is seeking a successful defence of the AON Maadi Cup for the first time since 1999, when the regatta gets underway at Lake Karapiro near Hamilton next week.
Monty Batchelor is captain of the coxed eight crew. He is convinced Christ’s second place finish at the recent South Island Championships doesn’t represent a dip in form.
“It was a bit disappointing because South Islands are a big deal, but we treat a lot of the pre-regattas like training runs. We weren’t in the boat we will use at Maadi and have made some adjustments to our crew since.” Batchelor insists.
St Andrew’s College won the South Island Championships coxed eight gold to second placed Christ’s by over six seconds, with Christchurch Boy’s High School in third.
Christ’s only have two returning members, but an even split among Year 13s and younger members.
“It’s coming together really well. The younger boys are learning quickly. We go up to Maadi on Friday and will have a few training sessions before settling into our work.” Batchelor enthuses.
Rowing runs deep for Batchelor. His father and grandfather rowed at Christ’s while Monty was involved in last year’s Maadi triumph. What’s the difference between a Maadi race and a normal race?
“I try and treat Maadi like a normal race, but you do get nervous because of the crowd and the hype. I was lucky to have a few experienced boys around me last year who helped ease my anxiety. This year one of my jobs will be to make it easier for the younger boys.”
A change of water will be a challenge as well. The regatta returns to Lake Karapiro after being staged at lake Ruataniwha in Twizel.
“I have rowed at Karapiro before and the big difference is the temperature is warmer and there is a bigger current which makes the course slightly slower, aside from that there isn’t really a lot of difference,” Batchelor explains.
Batchelor will be in a different position this year, driving the boat from the middle crew in the sixth seat. He expects the race will be wide open.
“St. Andrew’s will fancy themselves after South Islands. Westlake won in the North Island and Hamilton Boys’ and St. Kent’s are looking strong.” Batchelor concludes.
Christ’s also won silver in the U18 coxed quad and bronze in the U16 coxed four and U16 coxed eight races at the recent South Island regatta.
In total, over 2,161 rowers plus 131 reserves from 127 schools will be competing on Lake Karapiro from Monday 27 March to Saturday 2 April.