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Founded in the 1860’s on the banks of the Avon River, the Canterbury Rowing Club (CRC) has been a part of Christchurch for over 150 years, and holds the distinguished honour of the oldest rowing club in the country. Today the club is home to four secondary school rowing programs, Lincoln University rowing, and a growing club membership totalling approximately 200 active rowers. In hosting the inaugural Proskiff Indoor Rowing Championships, the club hopes to raise funds to help support a growing membership, and to continue to provide opportunities to the wider Canterbury community to engage in one of New Zealand’s oldest, and proudest sports.
Like many of our country’s rowing clubs, CRC is operated by a passionate group of devotees, seeking to keep rowing as an accessible sport to the local community. CRC Club captain David Hatton was first introduced to the club in 2009 as a member of the Canterbury University Rowing Team, then in 2014 he formally joined the club as a junior coach. He has since moved into the club captain role, and is proud of how CRC has developed in recent years with its athlete-focused approach at the core of the club’s values.
“We aim to provide an enjoyable and supportive athlete-centred environment, where creating a positive athlete experience is the focus. We believe that by providing that, and having the athlete experience at the centre of our program, athletes will look forward to coming to training and the results will follow.”
Canterbury Rowing Club Team at the 2017 Bankstream New Zealand Rowing Championships, Twizel.
The club has suffered its share of tribulations in the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes. What was left of the former building after the earthquakes was burnt to the ground in an arson attack that followed in 2012, claiming two of the clubs coaching craft. These days the club operates out of a temporary shed at Kerr’s Reach thanks in part to an Earthquake Recovery Trust Grant, however the loss of membership in the aftermath of the earthquake was perhaps the most devastating. Hatton was involved in university rowing at the time and recalls the impact on the club.
“I remember talking to Michael Petherick, who did a lot of good work for the club, and in the 2011-2012 season there were no club rowers at all, the squad was completely wiped out. It was the schools that kept us going over that period, and in 2012 we started actively recruiting again. We are still recovering from that, and we have been lucky to have strong affiliated schools.”
The CRC premises on the Avon River suffered earthquake damage, and an arson attack in 2012
Despite the setbacks the club has persevered, engaging school leavers and adult novices to boost membership and develop strong crews. The club proudly boated a women’s novice 8+ at the 2017 National Champs, finishing second, an event they will contest again in 2018. Add to that 6 club affiliated athletes in the New Zealand U23 squad for 2017, and the results show the club is in good shape to continue to build on its impressive history.
“We are passionate about the club, and want to keep growing it and making it better. The history that we have is pretty special, there are trophies in our cabinet that date back to the 1860’s that are a part of our heritage. The Centennial Oar (award for the club with the most points at nationals from sweep events) is originally from the Canterbury Rowing Club, we were third behind Avon and Waikato last year, so we are getting close to bringing that one home which would be pretty special.”
The Canterbury Rowing Club Women's Novice 8+ with their silver medals
Beyond rowing, Hatton hopes the Proskiff Indoor Rowing Championship will also encourage gym rowers and CrossFit athletes to get amongst the competition, with opportunities for team entries, as well as individual events across various distances.
“We hope the event will engage the community, rowers and non-rowers alike. If you enjoy the rowing machine or if you have an interest in rowing, this event aims to bring these interests together in an enjoyable way.”
An event catering to athletes of all ages and abilities, in support of a living piece of Christchurch history; the Proskiff Indoor Rowing Championships is not to be missed!
Date: Sunday 1st October
Event Venue: Christchurch Boys High School
Entry Deadline: Wednesday 20th September
Event Website: http://www.canterburyrowingclub.org.nz/indoor-rowing/