For the first time in about 45 years, Queenstown has a New Zealand rowing representative.
Marley King Smith, 17, has been selected for the NZ under-19 men’s quad to compete at the world U19 champs in France in August.
The Year 13 Wakatipu High student was chosen to trial for the team after the school’s incredible success at the recent national schools Maadi Cup regatta on Lake Karapiro, near Cambridge, where Marley won two golds.
His selection’s come after five days of rigorous testing at Rowing NZ’s Lake Karapiro HQ.
The first Whakatipu Rowing Club member to win NZ selection since the 1970s, Marley — who was inspired to take up rowing at Year 9 by his older sister, Lucia — says he’s grateful to coach John Morrison, his teammates and the whole club for their support.
While his goal’s to race a single scull at future world champs, he’s happy to be part of a team boat as he enjoys the camaraderie of racing with a group of mates, and the science of making a boat go fast.
The NZ U19 team — also including men’s and women’s eights — will gather again at Karapiro late this month.
They’ll live at nearby St Peter’s College and juggle school work alongside eight weeks’ intense training before heading to the worlds at Paris’
Vaires-sur-Marne — rowing venue for next year’s Olympics.
Marley’s currently developing a sponsorship package to help with training and racing costs.
Due to his January birth date, he’ll again qualify for the U19 worlds in 2024 and ’25.
Meanwhile, Wakatipu High teammate Ashton White recently rowed for the South Island against the North Island, also at Karapiro, and was in the winning boys’ coxed quadruple sculls.