Liesl Ah Shene
THE Zwartkops Rowing Club returned from the South African National Schools Rowing Championships, held at the beginning of the month, with their heads held high and 21 medals.
The club proved hard work paid off when it placed second in the championship’s club division. Hailing from Motherwell and forming part of the boys’ team that took part was Nasiphi Ntsiza, 16, of Newton Tech High and Aphiwe Elese, 15, of Cingani High School.
Nasiphi, who is in grade 10, was very happy about the win.
“Two years ago I did not even know what rowing was. Now I have won three medals participating for the first time at national level,” he said.
Of the three medals Nasiphi brought home, one was gold for his times under 16.4, one a silver for under 19.4, and the other a bronze for doubles under 16.
Nasiphi said he believed hard work paid off and part of the hard work the team did was to practise three times a week in season.
Aphiwe Elese competed at the championships for the very first time and also came back with three medals – one gold, and two silver medals.
“I started rowing in 2008. It was my first time competing in the national championships and it felt really good competing and coming back with medals.
“Rowing has taught me a lot of things like how to swim, and the risks that come with it is if you fall out you can drown, but I know how to save myself from that.
“I have been practising hard at Redhouse. We practise on Tuesdays, Thursdays and on Saturdays. It feels good winning, I am very happy,” Aphiwe said.
The other members of the boys’ team are Xhanti Mpambani, 17, Jacobus Dorfling, 15, Siboniso Pama, 16, Herman Dorfling, 14, and Bennie Kilian, 15.
The other members of the girls team are Courtney Brown, 15, Chantel van Heerden, 15, Stacy Smit, 15, and Jade Hanbidge, 15.
Head coach Rosemary Brunette said the best the club had ever done was at the championships.
She said the Zwartkops Rowing Club was 140 years old and was the oldest sports club, based in its original place, in the country.
Brunette has been involved since 1991.
“I find that it gives the best overall workout, without you actually realising just how hard you are working.” – additional reporting by Ntombentsha Msutu.