A top Queenstown junior rower’s off to an American university whose rowing exploits feature in a newly-released film directed by George Clooney.

Marley King Smith, who rowed for New Zealand at the under-19 worlds in France last August, has accepted a full four-year scholarship from Seattle’s University of Washington, starting September.

Screening this past week at Arrowtown’s Dorothy Browns Cinema, The Boys in the Boat is based on a best-selling book chronicling the university eight’s against-the-odds progression to the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where they narrowly won gold for the United States.

Marley, who’s just turned 18, had already been wooed by US universities after his U17 and U18 single sculls golds at the secondary schools’ Maadi Cup regatta over the past two years.

Late last year, he and his dad Bas visited University of Washington, University of California, Berkeley, and Princeton, in New Jersey, after invites from five colleges.

The colleges paid for flights and accommodation for the pair.

Bas says they found the west coast rowing programmes were better.

Additionally, the Seattle uni offered full costs for four years including flights home each year.

Marley and Bas were also impressed by its burning desire to be no.1 again — they’ve won more titles than any other US uni, but Cal Berkeley’s latterly had the wood on them.

At the Paris U19 worlds, Marley competed in the NZ quad which just narrowly missed out on the final — if he’s back at the world U19s in Toronto, Canada, this year, he’d love to row single sculls.

Having only just returned from an Achilles injury, he was still best singles sculler at the recent Canterbury champs, decided on heat times as weather put paid to the finals.

His next priority’s next month’s club nationals, where he’ll race in a Clyde-based Dunstan Arm Rowing Club quad coached by Simon Smith.

[email protected]

- Advertisement -