Friendship key to success for rowing scholars
08 July 2022 | News
Two Lincoln University Sports Scholars who have rowed together since high school were both selected to compete overseas this month, though in different boats.
Will Gilbert and Matthew White started rowing in 2015 as Year 9 students at Christchurch Boys' High School and found they formed a winning combination.
Will is heading to Italy as part of the New Zealand U23 squad for the world champs this month, while Matthew will be in Queensland as part of the Trans-Tasman Universities squad.
During their four years of rowing at school, the pair brought home nine medals, including three golds, at New Zealand secondary school national championships. In 2016, they were part of the U18 South island team which beat the North, and both were picked to trial for the NZ U19 junior rowing team.
Will was also selected to row in the U19 Four in the Czech Republic and won a silver medal, but any rivalry between the friends only pushes them to perform better.
"Basically, Will and I have been close mates all these years and have pushed each other through our great rivalry and friendship," Matthew said.
"I do believe that without Will, I would not have achieved as highly as I have, and I think our long friendship is the key to how we both have succeeded."
After finishing school, they each decided to enrol at Lincoln University, with Matthew pursuing a Bachelor of Environmental Management and Will studying a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing).
During his first year at Lincoln, Will rowed for the Southern Rowing Performance Centre (Southern RPC) but Matthew took a year off from the sport.
"I picked up rowing again in my second year of university and applied for the Sports Scholarship a year later than Will did," Matthew said. "From there, I dramatically got back into rowing. In 2021, we both rowed for Southern RPC after a hard winter of training to get up to the high performance level again."
The duo moved to Avon Rowing Club last year and had an extremely successful nationals experience, picking up six medals combined.
"From this performance, we both were then selected to trial for the NZ U23 team," Matthew said. "Similarly to our U19 trial, I unfortunately didn't make the team, but luckily Will did.
"However, I was subsequently selected in the New Zealand University rowing team bound for Queensland in mid-July."
During their time rowing for Lincoln, Will has won six national gold medals and a world silver medal and Matthew has gained two silvers and a bronze.
Both will be planning to stay on course for many more.
PHOTO: Will, left, and Matthew in action.