Eights train at Sparks Rowing Development Camp on Lake Hayes in Queenstown, New Zealand. (Shot for camp film, “Get On With It.”) New Zealand Development Camp

New Zealand Development Camp New Zealand Rowing Development Program Overview

A 5 week Program for Ambitious Athletes in New Zealand

This is the most challenging and special experience we offer. The program is designed with rising seniors and college freshman in mind and meant to allow athletes to cultivate their competitive identity in preparation for the intensity of collegiate rowing. This program differs from our other offerings in that training intensity, being in an university environment, and adapting one’s athletic identity in highly variable conditions are emphasized over development of a relationship with the sport. High performance athletes with international experience row out of the club. Select athletes also train at Dunedin High Performance Sport NZ center, which functions as a elite-level research and development facility for multiple sports in coordination with the New Zealand Academy of Sport.

Students considering this option are expected to have a relationship with the sport, be more mature in their daily lives, and seeking an opportunity to develop specific aspect of themselves while enjoying an overseas experience. There are also unparalleled opportunities to explore New Zealand’s outdoors.

Hardship and appreciation go hand in hand in terms of developing athletes. This is evidenced by the level of training our NZL athletes go through paired with the community service and adventure aspects of the program that may be found on the program blog. U.S. junior athletes who would like to improve their rowing ability (including erg score) while learning a great deal more about how to enjoy the sport and who they are as people are encouraged to apply to this program.

Previous programs have experienced 7-8s average improvement in 2K PR with many moving into the thirties and twenties. Alumni have been recruited at selective universities, though we actively discourage undertaking this program with 2K or recruiting as an end-goal instead of seeing it as a byproduct. Students in Dunedin do not attend a regatta by program design; emphasis is placed on internal resilience instead and success in Dunedin requires deeper motivation.And since June and July are summer in the US, it will be ‘winter’ in New Zealand. Conditions are highly variable in Dunedin.

As one former NZL athlete put it: “It is not so much a camp, but a program that has taught me who I am as a rowing athlete and in some ways, a person. Given what’s required, it’s like racing everyday.. or maybe harder than that.”

Who May Apply

This is truly a college level opportunity. Student athletes must be able to demonstrate a prior relationship with the sport and athletic drive before being considered for this program. All students who wish to apply for the limited number of positions in the program must by necessity be more mature in their daily comportment and decision-making than the average high school athlete.  Maturity and thoughtfulness are – specifically – a requirement to find enjoyment here.

The program is sometimes an option provided by US college coaches to prepare incoming first-years. Successful completion of the program will allow students to demonstrate to colleges that they are ready for similar demands at top American universities. And all of these firsthand experiences will unfold within a protected environment.

Students will submit a short initial application. After this, a second round will require a letter of reference from their coach or someone similar. Finally, students will be asked to interview. See the application tab to apply.

Deepening a Relationship with the Sport

Rowing at Otago requires that athletes possess a prior relationship with the sport given the collegiate training environment, highly variable conditions, and a certain level of demand from their program peers that they be open to development both athletically and personally while in New Zealand. Many athletes have learned to scull and row small boats for the first time, but all who attend encounter challenges of one type or another – mental or physical – they work to overcome as they broaden their athletic and personal experiences. Overcoming these challenges is the real point of the program (and dare we say rowing in general), though a lower 2K is usually a byproduct.

Students will also be asked to participate in community service such as teaching Special Olympians how to row as the camp reaches beyond rowing in its spectrum of development and works to give athletes perspective on their own lives.

Rowing in Dunedin also offers the opportunity for athletes to go on a training road trip and spend time in the “adventure capital of the world” Queenstown as well as a few other scenic venues on the South Island during the course of training.

The ultimate goal of the program is to provide American junior athletes with the opportunity to rise above and beyond even what they thought they were capable of.

Questions may be forwarded via email here or find the application tab here.

New Zealand Development Camp Dunedin Program Staff

Glenn Sinclair

Glen Sinclair
Rowing New Zealand High Performance Board CEO & Head Coach, Otago University Rowing Club

Glen directs program operations. He won seven national premier lightweight titles, was a member of the New Zealand Under-23 team in 1996 and the New Zealand University team from 1995 to 2001, graduating from Otago with an education degree. He has been head coach of Otago University Rowing since 2003 and the Otago high performance squad from 2006 to 2008. He has been president of New Zealand University Rowing since 1999 and manager of New Zealand University teams. He has played a key role in integrating university rowing into the fold of New Zealand rowing, and was elected to the board of Rowing New Zealand in 2010 and frequently travels abroad to represent Otago and New Zealand.


David Olson

Sparks NZ Development Program Coordinator

Dave acts as the on-ground program coordinator for our NZ Development program. After growing up on a farm in New Hampshire, Dave attended boarding school where he was first introduced to rowing and living away from home. Following that he completed a successful career at the University of New Hampshire where he received a B.A. in English and a M.Ed. in Secondary Education while putting in countless miles on the water rowing for the university. Dave then taught English at a public high school in the White Mountains for three years before returning to the boarding school and rowing world teaching and coaching at Berkshire School in Massachusetts.


New Zealand Development Camp Dunedin Details

New Zealand Development Camp Dunedin Registration

June 20 - July 22, 2016

We’re happy to consider everyone for our program. Please be sure to read the application guidelines on the overview tab.

  • First Step: Submit an e-mail below with:
    • 1) 2K Score (while important, it is not the deciding factor)
    • 2) Current school year and age
    • 3) Seasons of rowing experience (again: while important, it is not the deciding factor)
    • 4) A sentence or two (max) about why you’re interested.
    • 5) Your program’s name
    • 6) A phone number for follow-up
June 20 - July 22, 2016
WAIT LIST
  • Second Step: Submit application deposit (goes toward program tuition)
  • Third Step: Coach or Mentor Reference
  • Optional Step: Alumni Reference
  • Final Step: Phone Interview

Camp Forms


Please complete the following forms. The information packet is yours to keep while the code of conduct, waiver, and medical forms should be printed out, signed, and returned us via e-mail at [email protected]

The travel and goals forms are to be filled out and submitted online.

  • Waiver -- To be printed, signed, and returned via e-mail.
  • Physical -- To be printed, signed by your physician, and returned via e-mail.


Thanks for sharing!