Jackie Kiddle back in the front seat
May 7, 2019
Gold medal-winning rower Jackie Kiddle has retained her “hard fought” seat in the 2019 New Zealand women’s lightweight double scull boat after a “disappointing” performance at last year’s World Championship.
Kiddle, 25, and her boat mate Zoe McBride, 23, will compete in the World Rowing Championship in Poland in June and The Netherlands in July.
Only three medals came home with the 2018 World Championship teams – New Zealand’s worst performance in a decade. Kiddle and McBride finished last in their final.
Keeping the seat was particularly significant being Olympic qualifying year. Competition was tough, with Kiddle, McBride and returning Olympian Sophie Mackenzie training in anticipation all summer. The three then trialled against each other for a week in March.
Kiddle knew something major needed to change after finishing last in 2018. While fearful of under-performing again, she put time and effort into overcoming the mental hurdles faced in professional sport.
“How I approached that mentally was always going to be a big challenge, especially knowing I would have to fight for my seat with Sophie Mackenzie coming back from a few years break post Olympics.”
She was “stoked” to be named in the team again, and “proud” of what she achieved. Her sight was firmly set on Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Kiddle’s coach Gary Hay said Jackie’s inclusion in the elite team was “richly deserved”.
“Jackie produced some outstanding results in training over the summer period and was the standout female rower at the recent trials. Her recent results rank her among the best lightweight rowers in the world.”
He was looking forward to seeing Kiddle and McBride “perform with distinction against the world’s best” at the world championship.
Kiddle won her place in the team while juggling training and her Master’s degree at the University of Waikato. “On weeks when we have a heavy training load the brain doesn’t always want to switch on.” But with the support of lecturers Kiddle was managing to succeed academically as well as on the water.
Kiddle came from a sport-focussed family. Her sister Bridget represented New Zealand in hockey and her brother Ricky rowed for the Central Region Performance Centre.
It was her Dad, Grant, who suggested she start rowing in 2008. She played every sport possible in her first year of high school, but rowing was where she excelled.
Kiddle was looking forward to wearing the silver fern alongside her new-found confidence while representing New Zealand on the world stage next month.