Abley wins corporate rowing competition!

After a one-year hiatus, the Abley rowing team came back stronger than ever to win Canterbury Rowing Club’s Corporate Challenge on Saturday 7th May. The challenge required us to learn how to row an 8 together in six weeks. This is no easy task, since rowing is the ultimate test of teamwork, timing and patience. I am proud to say that our Abley crew rose to the challenge and took out the title.

We put out a call to all Christchurch employees, and quickly had interest from a mix of people who had rowed previously plus also some complete novices. Each year we start from the basics and work our way up to racing as an eight. The dedicated crew trained twice a week for six weeks leading up to the big day.

The first time we met our competitors was at the indoor competition. We raced other teams in a 2000m relay, with  each person rowing 250 meters. It was our well-oiled transitions and sheer enthusiasm which led us to victory. This win gave us confidence for the upcoming regatta. 

Regatta day

Then the big day arrived, regatta day. The team rolled into Kerrs Reach, Christchurch on a sunny autumn day and set up camp alongside the river. We were in the first race of the day, heat one. We carefully lined up next to our opposing crew and the starting buzzer sounded. Hectic is the only way to describe it, we shot off the line with our rating through the roof – the adrenalin of racing had kicked in and we panicked! Technique went out the window and the timing was off. We chased the opposing crew down but were second across the line. We came off the water with burning forearms and a sense of disappointment because we knew we could do better. After a rest and a good team chat we were ready to go again. Our second race we focused on our boat and our rhythm and the boat flew. ‘Long and strong’ was our mantra for the day. Winning the second race meant we progressed to the grand final.

Next the fours raced, with one four from each company. Four of our keenest rowers put their hands up to race and did a tremendous job.

Getting into the final - and winning!

Finally, we lined up for the final, against the team who had beaten us in heat one – the pressure was on for redemption!  The starting buzzer sounded, fortunately we had a much stronger start and found an awesome rhythm. Slowly but surely, we moved past the other crew and got out in front. We came up alongside the crowds and could hear them cheering. All we had to do now was keep our cool and get across the line first and we did, we won!

It was awesome to take the win but, more importantly everyone came away with a great sense of comradery. For me, as the newest graduate at Abley, it was a fantastic opportunity to share my passion and row alongside a really diverse and inspiring group of people from our organisation, including Steve Abley (Chief Executive), Mark McPhail (Financial Controller), Richard Fry (Group Manager Service Delivery), Ann-Marie Head (Associate Director, People + Places team), Steve Ford (Senior Spatial Advisor), Ria Chapman (Innovation Project Coordinator) and Gavin Jeter (FME Specialist, Digital Engineering).  

We will be back next year!