Golden girls: From left, South Island U15 girls’ coxed quad winners Caitlyn Purdue, Chelsea Wood, Amelie Dee, Eve Pagan and Zara Small with coach Shane Muir

No pressure, but Wakatipu High’s aiming to be the best sculling school for the third year running at next week’s prestigious national secondary schools’ Maadi Cup rowing regatta.

The school’s taking a likely-record 40 rowers and five coaches to the six-day event, stating this coming Monday on Twizel’s Lake Ruataniwha.

Regaining the ‘President’s Scull’ might seem daunting with star rowers Marley King Smith and Olivia Key having left school.

However, Amy Wilson-White, president of the Whakatipu Rowing Club, which delivers the school’s rowing programme, is buoyed by how they went at the South Island secondary schools regatta on the same lake two weekends ago.

The school won four golds — the under-15 girls’ coxed quad (Zara Small, Chelsea Wood, Caitlyn Purdue, Eve Pagan and cox Amelie Dee), U17 boys’ double sculls (Harry Lightfoot and Seb Watson), U16 boys’ double sculls (Charlie Manser and Max Davis) and U16 boys’ coxed quad (Charlie Manser, Max Davis, Mckellar Thornton, Jasper Crawford and cox Abbey Pedersen) — plus six silvers and three bronzes to retain the Bell Trophy for ‘best South Island school overall’.

‘‘We won medals across all the crews — from our novices to the seniors and in both the boys’ and girls’ events,’’ Wilson-White says.

‘‘It shows we’re looking good for the future and a comforting indication we’re on the right track even without our superstars.’’

Amazingly, an U15 rower, Mike Perry, stepped up when tonsilitis took out one of the school’s top U18 boys, and the U18 quad still managed to pick up a bronze.

Wilson-White says the crews took a lot of inspiration out of Marley Smith — who rowed for New Zealand at the U19 worlds in Paris last year — visiting them at the regatta and giving an motivational speech.

She adds they’ve had amazing community support for Maadi, ‘‘especially from Skyline and Fergburger who have pitched in to support our fundraising and provide much of the huge quantity of food we need to take’’.

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