Rowers just happy to be at Maadi Cup after Covid complications

If you've spent the past few months driving a teenager to training at 5am, five mornings a week, you'll be fairly excited they've finally made it to rowing's Maadi Cup.

However, you still won't be nearly as excited as the kids themselves because getting to Twizel has been a journey in itself.

"All four of us caught Covid so we had a week off training," one student told 1News at the regatta.

"Rowing today was the second time we've rowed together," another said.

"In February, it felt a very, very, very big stretch that we would be racing here."

Around 1400 rowers across the country have done just that to compete in the prestigious rowing event.

Rowing New Zealand's Mark Weatherall said the turnout itself is something to celebrate, even if Covid has torn trough everyone's training.

"Around 60 to 70% of those that are here have had Covid, or have returned from having Covid," Weatherall said.

Christs College celebrate after winning the 2021 Maadi Cup.

Still, it's a Maadi Cup unlike any before.

Usually the banks of Lake Ruataniwha would be packed, but despite the Government's scrapping of restrictions on outdoor gatherings, Rowing NZ kept theirs this year and introduced zones of 100 which have become crucial, with four schools already confirming Covid in their camps this week.

"To be honest it was a no brainer for us," Weatherall said.

"We wanted to do what we could to reduce the risk because there's still a number of cases of Covid, especially in the South Island, moving around."

Spectators are only allowed into the venue for finals on Friday and Saturday, meaning those already in the area have had to park up on the bank across the lake from the schools for the time being.

Despite the awkward arrangement, supporters told 1News they're still enjoying it.

"You can still see the starts down there and you can see the finish and the tents on the otherside," one parent said.

"We're normally involved riverside with the big tent and food but this is the next best"

Despite the challenges, everyone is pulling together for more rowers to become part of the Maadi Cup legend.