The rowing season opened Sunday, January 18 with the Chisipite Regatta staged at Mazoe Dam. Six schools: Chisipite, Peterhouse Girls, Arundel for the girls and St George’s, Prince Edward and Peterhouse for boys competed, alongside rowers from other high schools who row under Hunyani Rowing Club. The rains held back, leaving beautifully sunny skies with slight northwestern winds and a full dam, great rowing conditions. The 1000m and 2000m single, double and quad scull races served as qualifiers for South African Championships to be held in Pretoria in March.
The opening race of men’s 2000m A category saw St George’s College’s P. Zwanikken win in a qualifying time of 8:04.2. The A Intermediate Class, a group of rowers advancing from B to A category races was swept by St George’s rowers in the 2000m race with S. Duncan coming first in a fantastic qualifying time of 8:05.2 with teammate B. Leipe following in second in 8:14.3
Several hours later, the women’s 2000m single scull A race was particularly exciting, with a close contest among ten boats. Chisipite Coach Kristina Johnson rowing for Hunyani won in an impressive SA qualifying time of 7.44.6 while Youth Olympian Daniella Du Toit, also of Chisipite, came a close second in 8.16.01. Arundel Coach Joey Swanapoel, rowing for Hunyani finished third in 8.25.