Nelson rower Zoe McBride became the first woman to win the premier and lighweight single at the National Rowing Championships since 1988. Photo Rowing New Zealand.

Zoe McBride leads Nelson’s national medal haul

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Nelson rower Zoe McBride became the first woman to claim the lightweight and open single-sculls national title in the same year since Philipa Baker-Hogan in 1988.

The world champion lightweight single sculler managed the feat on Saturday on Lake Ruataniwha near Twizel, at the National Rowing Chanpionships.

Zoe says she had some pre-race jitters.
“I was so nervous going into it. I knew it was within my ability to win it, but whether I could perform was the question.”

Zoe clocked a time of 7:55.03. Her closest rival was Olivia Loe, of the Southern RPC/Avon Rowing Club, who claimed silver with 7:59.03. Brooke Donoghue of Waikato RPC/Waikato Rowing Club rounded off the podium to take the bronze medal.

For an athlete with some glittering successes to her name, winning a red coat is still a career highlight.

“I’m super stoked about the red coat. It’s something I’ve wanted to win for so long – so to win it, and to win it in one of the most competitive events, is pretty special.”

Zoe had earlier teamed with Jackie Kiddle to win a bronze medal in the premier double.
Two other Nelson rowers in the Central Rowing Performance Centre, Brook Robertson and Sean Ducray also won medals.

Brook won silver in the premier eight and bronze in the premier coxless four.
Sean claimed silver in the Under-22 coxless quad.

There was even more success for the club with Grabrielle Hannen and Kayla Baker striking gold in the women’s Under-19 double sculls final.

The duo then earned a bronze with Mahalia Shand, Leah van Eeden and cox Evie Stawbridge in the women’s Under-19 coxed four.

The men’s Under-19 double of Jack Castle and Ryan Flintoff won silver.

The duo raced bravely to keep the silver by 0.44 seconds.

Several crews will now shift focus to the Maadi Cup National Secondary Schools’Championships on Lake Karapiro near Hamilton.

More than 2000 young people from around the country represent their school to try and take out the New Zealand Secondary School Champion title, which has turned into quite the proving ground for emerging rowers to push on to the age-group, world and Olympic level.

The event runs from March 27 to April 2.
More than 120 schools are represented throughout the week and more than 10,000 supporters watch the finals from the bank, as the event continues to swell in popularity on the back of the global success of New Zealand rowers, particularly over the last decade.