2 July 2019
North Shore man Ricky Daniel-Nield has had a crash course in rowing since being named in the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) squad to contest the King’s Cup in England.
It’s 100 years since six nations – New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and France – competed for the Cup as troops waited to return home after the First World War. This year those six nations will be joined by Germany and The Netherlands to race for the Cup as part of the Henley Royal Regatta at Henley-on-Thames in England from 5-7 July.
Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) Warfare Officer Lieutenant Daniel-Nield is no stranger to rowing but while the rest of the NZDF squad has all competed in traditional rowing, his experience has been in a surf boat.
“Friends told me about the King’s Cup and I knew I was fit enough but I thought not having time in the boat might count against me,” he said.
He made the cut and since then has been training hard to adjust his style – including studying YouTube videos the coach has sent him.
“There is actually quite a bit of difference between the strokes,” he said. “A surf boat is more of a sprint. You need to be a lot more powerful to get through the surf – it’s not really endurance.”
Style isn’t the only thing he’s had to learn – rowing terminology and even the status of the Henley Regatta are all new to him.
“I’ve got friends who rowed all through school and afterwards and they’re wishing it was them going. They’re very envious.”
Lieutenant Daniel-Nield said his inclusion in the squad despite a lack of experience was an example of the great opportunities available to NZDF personnel.
He was not actively involved in sport while growing up on the North Shore and attending Westlake Boys’ High School but has embraced it since joining the RNZN in 2012.
“I always did fitness to stay fit but this is the first time I’ve worked hard for a sport,” he said.
“It’s another opportunity the Defence Force has given me which I wouldn’t otherwise have had.”
Lieutenant Daniel-Nield has also been able to study Commerce and Science at Otago University while serving.
The NZDF squad for the event is: Leading Aircraftman Alex Hill (coxswain), Major Emily Hume, Lieutenant Commander Juliet MacLean, Corporal Rebekah Salt, Flying Officer Connor Broughton, Sub Lieutenant Rob Creasy, Lieutenant Ricky Daniel-Nield, Lance Corporal Mark Evans, Private Ryan Flintoft, Second Lieutenant Ashton Lovell, Lance Corporal Jack Proudfoot, Ordinary Rate Cathan Tamarapa, Rachel Gamble-Flint (coach), Wing Commander Rhys Taylor (manager).
A video of the team is at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1xmlt02faqd33qc/19-017_Henley_Rowing_Regatta.mp4?dl=0