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"Injury has set me back but I'm not far off achieving selection for NZ Under 21trials."

Xavier Simpkins

2022 Training Grant - Rowing

I’m 18, from West Auckland and graduated from St. Peter’s College where I started rowing 5 years ago.

For the 2023 season I coached for St Peter’s college and rowed out of West End Rowing Club, where I competed in mens Senior sculling in the Single, Double and Quad as well as racing in a few eights races. During October-December 2022 I consistently finished in the top 3 in Auckland and the top 10 in the North Island. At the start of the year as I entered a crucial training camp I caught dengue fever which was a major set back, but with some consistent training and help from my main coach Sam Jackson I got back up to pace and got a bronze in my Double and forth as stroke seat of my Quad and fifth in my Single as well as having some successful coaching results at North Island’s with Jack Whitcomb winning Gold in the U17 single.

This success gave me some inspiration but because of the extra load on me from racing and training so quickly after being really sick, my body didn’t quite hold up and I injured my back just 2 weeks before nationals. At Nationals I qualified for 3 A finals before my back gave out, after some late chirotherapy I managed to finish third in the country stroking my Senior double and led through the early stages of my race in the senior quad before I started deteriorating, but still managed to finish in the top 5 and I pulled out of my A final in the eight due to my injury. These results landed me a New Zealand Under 21 trial which started the day after Nationals ended, so I trialed through injury. I didn’t manage to claim a spot on the team but I wasn’t far off so I’m looking forward to next year.

Photo credit to Conrad Blind at Rowing Picture Show


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