Matt O’Leary on Training in New Zealand

Matt O’Leary Racing This Fall

Hello from the New Zealand summer!

I’m now a week into the NZ training camp and things are going very well. I am settled in with a very friendly host family (Kevin & Jane Burgess) right on the edge of Lake Karapiro, and about a 10min cycle from the boathouse. They both love rowing and are friendly with most of Team NZ, past and present.

Before coming down, I had been in touch with the coach at Waikato Rowing Club, Matt Cameron, who has been very helpful in my first week here, including getting me a set of oars and into a training group. Through Sean Colgan I have access to a boat from SL Racing (local manufacturer) that is very fast – stiff and good geometry.

There are plenty of fast boats here to compete with. This week I’ve been training with the Waikato club team, racing a W4-, M2-, and some M1xs, among others. It’s great to finally get in a big group and race 8 boats across. New Zealand also has four regional development squads, one of which is also based out of the Waikato boathouse. I’ll hopefully be able to jump in with those guys from time to time as well.

The North Island Club Championships take place next weekend (27th-29th) and will provide a good racing opportunity. I am only allowed to race the premier 1x, and there are no lightweight races, so I only get one event, and I will have my work cut out for me. The whole NZ squad will be there, as well as all of the local club rowers – and some 2,000 juniors.

The Irish LM2x and LM2-/M2- are here as well, training out of the Waikato boathouse. They’ve been talking about breaking into singles for some of the races, which would be great.

Aside from the palms of my hands resembling blocks of Swiss cheese, so far this has been a great way to spend the winter. The consistent, high level of competition in training and unlimited access to rowable water is exactly what I’ve been searching for in the US. Coupled with two multi-day 8-lane regattas in the next 5 weeks, I am excited to test my speed here and again back home in the spring.

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