Today the Sparks New Zealand Development Group took to the road for their week long tour of of the South Island and some of it’s many different rowing locales. The first stop is Invercargill, where the group will row out of the Waihopai Rowing Club. Waihopai has a long tradition of producing some of the top rowers in the world, with several Olympians from the past decade having tread its concrete boat bays and plied its flat river waters.
Before the group got on the road for a week of uninterrupted water time, there was one last thing to take care of in the form of a mid-term 2K test. The third week brought a sharp increase in intensity as the group looks ahead to their last erg test of the program on July 21st, but as a marking point, there was a test scheduled for this morning. Partly it serves as a progress marker: how much has each rower gained in terms of fitness and efficiency? But it also serves as practice for the final test. A 2K test being what it is, one needs to practice the act of being well outside one’s physical comfort zone, something this group is getting more and more accustomed to in ways both physically and emotionally, being thousands of miles away from their lifeboats back at home. Even on dead legs from a week of hard, intense training, several rowers set new bests and have zeroed in on new targets for a little less than two weeks from now.
With that major third week hurdle behind the group, there might be an urge to let down this week, but Coach Malcolm and special guest coach Peter Sinclair have a technically intensive few days planned where rowers will be testing their mettle and technical prowess in a racing matrix to see not who has the best erg, but who moves a boat fastest–which is the end goal in rowing.