Hawke’s Bay’s Madeleine Parker makes NZ Rowing Under 23 Women’s Sculls Team

Hawke’s Bay rower Madeleine Parker competes in the New Zealand national rowing teams at Lake Ruataniwha, Twizel in February. Photo / Included

Hawke’s Bay Rowing Club‘s Madeleine Parker has been selected for the New Zealand U23 women’s sculling team.

At 18, Madeleine is the youngest member of the Women’s Sculling Squad and the only member of the Hawke’s Bay Under-23 squad.

She said she almost didn’t believe the news when she was told she’d made it.

“All the girls are a bit older than me. The other rowers are 22.”

She said this is her fifth year of rowing as a sport.

“Mum and Dad told me to sign up because they said I’ve always been pretty strong and fit so I should just try.”

Last year she successfully tested for the New Zealand U19 women’s team.

“We were supposed to go to Bulgaria and the World Cups but we couldn’t because of Covid so it was just training camps to try to develop further.”

She has also received a full scholarship from the University of Virginia as part of her rowing, which is scheduled to begin in August.

At the New Zealand Rowing Champs in February, she finished second in the women’s senior singles and fifth in the women’s senior doubles ahead of the U23 trials.

The U23 national tests were held at Lake Karāpiro on February 21-25.

She said some of the trials included a 2km ergometer test on a rowing machine, seated races and 2km time trials on the rowing track.

She said there were about 20 girls who went through a process and only eight were chosen.

She said she did not meet her new comrades before the trials.

“I knew her. Because a lot of them are older, I looked up to them in a way and wanted to be like them, but I hadn’t met most of them.”

She said they haven’t decided on the squad arrangement for racing yet because there are three other girls in America on scholarships who could join either the Women’s Sweep Squad or the Women’s Sculling Squad.

“We’ll meet them in Italy for a month’s training camp and then we’ll know. Until then we only have to train in singles and doubles.”

The team will travel to Italy in July for a month-long training camp and compete in the World Rowing Championships.

She said Covid made it so she had to miss many events, but she hopes more can take place soon.

“It’s getting better now, I think things will start now.”

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