Rowers handle the heat at state championships

CLARENCE Valley rowers enhanced the region's reputation as a powerhouse of the sport at the NSW State Championships in Penrith.

Competitors from throughout Australia made the journey to the Sydney International Regatta Centre for the two-day event, only to be confronted by a stifling heatwave.

The scorching heat threw the official schedule into disarray, with a number of races cancelled due to the oppressive conditions.

Fortunately for competitors and spectators, numerous races were still contested, with Clarence Valley rowers shining.

Defending women's under-17 double scull champions Leah Saunders and Stephanie Smith won their event in convincing fashion, claiming victory by a whopping eight seconds.

Saunders and Smith then teamed up with Sophie Dansie and Bethany Trigger to take out the women's under-17 quad scull.

Brendan Fisher and Isaac Bolton were involved in one of the meet's tightest finishes, with the pair nudging past the Cranbrook crew for a .28-second victory in the schoolboy double scull.

In other results Riley Elvery and Jason Fischer placed second in the men's under-17 double scull, while a composite crew of Sam Kapeen, Vincent Bolton, Nick Smidt and Jeremy Campbell (Port Macquarie) crossed the line for bronze in the men's under-16 quad scull.

The crew of Danica Smith, Kaisha Hinchcliff, Aneika Kapeen and Rachel Sykes finished second to the Leichhardt crew in the women's under-21 quad.

Meanwhile, former Clarence Valley rowers Sarah Eke and Kylie Duff were in the midst of world champions and Olympians as they competed in the championship's women's elite categories.

Duff won gold in the women's elite lightweight quad scull with the composite Mosman crew and managed sixth in the women's elite lightweight scull.

Eke competed against rowers such as Sally Kehoe, Kim Crowe and Pippa Savage and managed to finish sixth in a tough women's elite single scull final.

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