Golden end to World Rowing Cup III
New Zealand’s elite rowing team scooped a sensational six golds and one silver medal on the final day of racing at the World Rowing Cup III in Lucerene, Switzerland.
With nine crews competing in eight A finals on the concluding day, the result wrapped up a hugely successful start to their international campaign.
Single sculler Robbie Manson was on the hunt for gold and delivered.
The world record holder was in a class of his own, leaving a strong field including double Olympic medallist and four-time world champion Ondrej Synek floundering.
Manson thundered into the lead at the 1000 metre mark with his now signature powerful style.
The New Zealander collected his gold medal in a time of 6:49.08, two boat lengths clear of Olympic finalist Angel Fournier-Rodriguez of Cuba in silver and Stanislau Shcharbachenia of Belarus in bronze.
“It was hard work, I didn’t feel very good off the start but I just tried to focus on the process and do what I know works for me.” Said the 27 year old sculling sensation.
“I trusted my plan, and just kept my foot down so it worked well.”
It was a closer race for gold medallists John Storey and Chris Harris in the men’s double sculls A final.
The duo won their second world cup gold medal in style, leading from the gun and looking collected as they left their competitors chasing.
However Poland’s Miroslaw Zietarski and Mateusz Biskup looked dangerous as they unleashed a late sprint. Storey and Harris hung on for the win with just over half a second to spare, while Italy’s Filippo Mondelli and Luca Rambaldi took silver.
Brooke Donoghue and Olivia won gold in the women’s double sculls with a dominant display that honoured the late Martin Hyde, a chief umpire and father of their former under-23 teammate Claudia Hyde.
After a close start Donoghue and Loe, who were wearing black armbands in memory of Hyde, made themselves known and pushed out to an unbeatable lead.
The impressive surge saw the duo two seconds up at the 1000 metre mark, and then five seconds up at the 1500 metre mark and holding off an approaching sprint from Olympians Helene Lefebvre and Elodie Ravera-Scaramozzino of France.
Donoghue and Loe scooped their second world cup gold medal in a time of 6:50.20. France rounded out the rest of the podium with Lefebvre and Ravera-Scaramozzino taking silver and Noemie Kober and Marie le Nepvou earining bronze.
“It always feels closer out there than it looks on the camera. I never felt I could ease up. I had my foot down the whole time.” Said an elated Olivia Loe.
Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle scored their first world cup gold medal in the lightweight women’s double sculls.
Two-time world champion McBride and under-23 world champion Kiddle lined up alongside European champions Weronika Deresz and Martyna Mikolajczak of Poland, European bronze medallists Katherine Copeland and Emily Craig of Great Britain and under-23 medallists and local favourites Pauline Delacroix and Frederique Rol.
McBride and Kiddle hung back at the start before attacking at the 750 metre mark. In an outstanding display of sculling the duo moved into an untouchable lead.
The duo clocked a time of 7:00.33, over two lengths ahead of silver medallists Deresz and Mikolajczak and Russia’s Anastasiia Ianina and Anastasia Lebedeva who scored bronze.
“We had a really good race. I don’t think it ever feels comfortable, but I want to come out of these races feeling like I’ve given 100 percent no matter where we are in the field.” said stroke Jackie Kiddle following the medal ceremony.
The win was a welcome end to McBride and Kiddle’s first international regatta together this season after two-time world champion McBride was sidelined due to a wrist injury, leaving crewmate Jackie Kiddle to contest the lightweight women’s single sculls at the recent world rowing cup in Poznan, Poland.
Jamie Hunter and Tom Murray blitzed the rest of the field to win gold in the men’s pair.
The A final featured a packed line up including Olympic and world champions Martin and Veltn Sinkovic of Croatia who are racing their debut season in the pair following a glittering double sculls career, Henley champions Valentin and Theo Onfroy of France, and junior world champions Mihaita-Vasile Tiganescu and Cosmin Pacari of Romania,
The crews were no match for Hunter and Murray however, who burst out of the start and were indefatigable as they held their lead from start to finish.
The duo crossed the line in a blistering time of 6:34.50, with the Sinkovic brothers just over a second behind in silver, and the Onfroy brothers sneaking in for bronze.
“The idea was to race the race we wanted to,” Said Tom Murray following the race.
“It got quite hard at the end when the Sinkovich’s started sneaking up but we just stuck to it and it worked out for us in the end. We couldn’t be happier.”
Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler won their second world cup gold in the women’s pair.
Prendergast and Gowler made a determined effort, gaining a formidable lead over the US crew of Megan Kalmoe and Tracy Eisser.
The Danish pair of Hedvig Rasmussen and Christina Johansen of Denmark held on for bronze.
The world best time holders added the gold medal to their haul which includes gold at the World Rowing Cup II in Poznan and the the women’s pair title at the Henley Royal Regatta.
Despite being firm favourites for the win, Prendergast said the victory wasn’t without its challenges.
“It doesn’t matter where you are in the field, there’s always pressure.” She said.
“I think the key was sticking to our race plan and trusting our training.”
The second New Zealand crew of Kirstyn Goodger and Jackie Gowler couldn’t match the flying pace, finishing in sixth place, a still significant result for the first-year elites.
The gloves were off in the women’s eight A final.
New Zealand locked into a battle with European champions Romania in an exciting race.
It was a two boat race with the frontrunners bowball to bowball and matching each other’s moves.
The New Zealand eight, coxed by Sam Bosworth, were eventually outfoxed by the Romanians who unleashed a powerful surge for the line.
The European champions scored gold in 6:02.81 with the New Zealanders just two seconds behind.
Great Britain claimed bronze and the Netherlands trailed in fourth.
Giacomo Thomas, Nathan Flannery, Cameron Crampton and Lewis Hollows missed out on a medal in the men’s quadruple sculls by a whisker.
The race appeared to be a battle between Lithuana, Great Britain and Poland, with Lithuana striding ahead to secure their gold medal. Meanwhile a sprint in the last 250 metres saw the fourth placed New Zealand crew up their rating in an attempt to slip into the medals.
The powerful British crew managed to hang on for silver, while Poland nudged New Zealand out by under 0.7 seconds to claim bronze.
Hannah Osborne scored a second place in the B final of the women’s single sculls.
Osborne was up against an experienced field but played a mature race strategy to pick her way from fifth to second place, finishing hot on the heels of winner Dyana Dymchenko of Ukraine. Irish Olympian Sanita Puspure claimed third in a tight sprint with fellow Olympian Fie Udby Ericksen of Denmark.
The men’s eight faced Italy, Russia and Poland in the B final.
In a tight race the Italians led from the mid way mark, holding off a strong chase from Russia and New Zealand in the last quarter.
Italy snatched the win in 5:43.01, while Russia trumped New Zealand on the line to take second place, with all three boats finishing within one second of each other.
The New Zealand elite rowing team will now return to New Zealand to resume training in preparation for selection trials for the World Rowing Championships in September.
Full results from the World Rowing Cup III at worldrowing.com