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Christchurch Rowing quickly up and running after earthquake

by Richard Gladwell and Christchurch Media on 22 Mar 2011
Christ’s College Rowing Club after the Christchurch earthquake . ..

Christchurch rowers have bounced back quickly from the two earthquakes which hit in September and again in February. The Canterbury region runs major schools rowing programs aimed at producing rowers for the Regional Performance Centre. Clubs on the Avon River were hit very hard in the first earthquake and again in the second, which also badly affected many of the rowers' homes, including that of South Island Rowing Manager, John Wylie - whose home was completely destroyed.

The sport has been able to quickly pick itself up, and 95% of the regions school rowers are back in full training ahead of next week's Maadi Cup at Karapiro.

John Wylie is also back driving rowing and yesterday was on a fund raising mission to Dunedin.

Here we present a story from the Christchurch Star by the evergreen Nick Tolerton, two weeks after the February 22 earthquake and the second from The Press, just four days after the devastating earhquake of 22 February 2010.

From the evergreen Nick Toleron writing in the Christchurch Star, 08 March 2011:

With four or five months of training invested in the Maadi Cup national secondary schools regatta which starts at Lake Karapiro on March 28, hundreds of schools rowers have resolved not to waste it.

About 95 per cent of Christchurch crews will compete in spite of the earthquake's devastation of the city, and many have relocated to other centres to train and made arrangements to attend local schools.

Rangi Ruru Girls' School (which won the Star Trophy for the most successful school last year), Christ's College, and Christchurch Girls' High School have based themselves at Lake Ruataniwha.

Classes are being run for them at the Twizel school from 3.30pm to 8pm each day after the local students have finished their day in school.

The Villa Maria College and St Thomas of Canterbury College crews are based at Lake Hood in Mid-Canterbury, while Marian College have paired with Tauranga Girls' High School. St Andrew's College has its girls in Tauranga, too, at Bethlehem College, and the boys are training at Lake Karapiro and attending St Paul's Collegiate in Hamilton.

Some crews have stayed in Christchurch - St Bede's College is using the Stewarts Gully Sailing Club and training on the Waimakariri River.

The September earthquake severely damaged Christchurch's rowing facilities at Kerrs Reach, and the latest major quake compounded that.

Most clubhouses are irreparably damaged, and the Avon River probably cannot be used for a couple of months because of the sewage in it.

But Canterbury has a proud tradition in schools rowing - its schools usually provides about 17 per cent of the Maadi Cup oarsmen and last year won a third of the medals - and they aren't going to let the earthquakes change that.

'They put a lot of training into the Maadi Cup,' said regional rowing manager John Wylie.

'My three granddaughters are rowing at Christchurch Girls' High, and they have a heavy work schedule. Although it is tapering off now, they were doing close on 200kms a week.

'That's an indication of the effort here right across the board.

'All the work the schools have put in, they're not going to throw it away and let the earthquake disrupt their focus.'

Mr Wylie received many offers of help from North Island schools after the February 22 quake, and passed the contacts on for Christchurch schools to make their own arrangements.

It was all about the crews maintaining their focus, he said.

If they wanted a thing hard enough, they'd make an effort to achieve it, he said.

'They're bloody good kids - they'll come out of this on top.'

He knows how tight knit the rowing community is.

Mr Wylie's own house was 'pretty well totalled' in the quake, and last Monday about 18 rowers turned up on his doorstep to move his furniture out.

'They emptied it in 10min flat, it seemed! That team ethic is there, and I'm immensely proud of it,' he said.

For the full story!click_here

And from The Press on 26 February 2011:

Canterbury crews were already heavily affected after the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 and were kicked out of their Kerrs Reach home.

This time the buildings are damaged as are the pontoons and boats will not be on the water 'for a very, very long time', according to the Canterbury Rowing Association boss.

Regional manager John Wylie surveyed the damage at Kerrs Reach – a procedure he's getting too much practice at – and told The Press the buildings were 'stuffed'.

'But what's been so great is the support that's come in from all directions to help our Maadi crews,' Wylie said.
'An offer came through [yesterday morning] from Nelson for accommodation, boats, training facilities.'

Wylie said he had had about 20 similar offers from all over the country.

'We've even had offers from an Auckland school to take pupils for classes and everything until after Maadi so they're not so interrupted.'

The Canterbury Mazda School Regatta, the school championships, was due to take place this weekend at Lake Hood, just south of Ashburton, but has been called off. 'I called it off because it was going to be too much strain on some people,' Wylie said. 'But I understand a lot of schools will still be at Lake Hood this weekend training and a lot are going to [Lake] Ruataniwha too.' Wylie said the adversity of the last quake had forced Canterbury rowers to find others ways and places to train and their performances had improved.

For the full story and photo!click_here

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