Matt Kavanagh Nails National Erg Record

Matt Kavanagh started rowing at the end of 2001 when Brian Hawthorne was doing a project out of North Shore RC and he heard about it. He had done half a novice year at school and always wanted to do it again. Last month Matt broke a New Zealand erg record for the 43-49 age category for 60 minutes rowing 16, 376 meters. So we sought him out for an interview,.

Matt tells his rowing background

I got involved competitively at North Shore till 2010 when I shifted to Auckland Grammar RC as I was teaching there at the time. We formed an interprovincial group including some school leavers as well. Then I moved to Cambridge RC and then Waikato RC. I loved it but from when I started I got a NZ development squad trial 2003-4 and that was the week my first child was due to be born so I didn’t attend. My 4th child was born in my last year of rowing competitively.

As a masters rower I dabbled in a bit of  coaching at St Peters and teaching my own children. Then I got back in a boat and now I live in Wellington and coach there.

When I’m not coaching I try to row in the single or on the erg. I need to have some sort of challenge. I’m 47 and at the moment I’m targeting as many national records as I can get.

We got flat water in the B final at North Island Champs when I was doing my single and I did 7.53 so I was miles off the pace of the young fellows. On the water I’m going to try to reduce my single time to 7.45 or 7.30 to stay competitive as long as I can.

Matt’s Erg Records

The first one I did was the 10k which I did in 2022. I have broken that again recently 35:47 minutes. Then I did the 30 minute record which is 8440 meters and I want to get to 8500 meters – that’s my plan. Then I did the 6k record…. 21 minutes and I’d like to go under 21 minutes for that.

I’d like to hold a 1:45 split for 30 minutes at some point. I don’t know if I can do that.

Last week I beat the 1 hour record which surprised me – I haven’t done an hour since 2010. You can tell from my smile how good that felt!

Here’s my race plan for the 60 minutes.

Matt smiling after breaking the erg record
Matt’s 60 minute erg race plan

I have had a spell of being busy with Maadi coaching and I got sick and so my next aim is the 5km but I didn’t feel in condition, so I’ve gone back to the longer ones.

How to get an erg record recognised

Matt explains how to get your erg score into the record books.

Send photo of the screen and the code that pops up on the screen and your personal details to Concept2.

Future plans

I would love there to be someone out there going tit for tat with me – facing each other to step up and steal the record. That would be a lot of fun.

Sometime this year I want to do the 5k record. Under 17 minutes is my ultimate goal.

There is a marathon, and a half marathon which are the longest…. I doubt I will attempt the marathon and anything under 5 km would be challenging – I’m better at the longer distances. Even against the big boys.