Strong start from NZ Rowers
This weekend saw New Zealand Rowing summer squad athletes compete in the first domestic regatta of the season. Emma Twigg and Mahe Drysdale both won their respective singles events in a convincing fashion while many premier fields displayed strong competition amongst the summer squad athletes.
With selection for the Rio Olympic Games on the horizon this was one of the few opportunities for the New Zealand summer squad athletes to prove themselves. The short summer season will culminate with the National Championships in February and the National Trials in early March.
Following her year overseas studying Emma Twigg was dominant in her first race in the women’s single. Twigg finished 3 seconds clear of world champion double sculler Eve Macfarlane with her doubles partner Zoe Stevenson in third and Canadian sculler Carling Zeeman, racing under Hawkes Bay colours, in fourth.
Mahe Drysdale made a strong showing winning his race by nearly 15 seconds in contrast to the close battles he experienced earlier in the year against Hamish Bond.
The women’s double was won by summer squad members Lucy Spoors and Sarah Grey with Brooke Donoghue and Georgia Perry finishing two seconds back. Olivia Loe and Claudia Hyde finished in third while the 2015 world champion double of Zoe Stevenson and Eve Macfarlane came in fourth. Places first to third are all vying for selection in the women’s quad with the aim to qualify for the Rio Olympics at the qualification regatta in May 2016. The lightweight double combination of Julia Edward and Zoe McBride placed fifth in the quality field convincingly beating fellow lightweight squad mates, Sophie Mackenzie and Jackie Kiddle.
As expected Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler were dominant in the pair while London Olympian Fiona Paterson, who has recently returned to the sport, and partner Kelsey Bevan finished in second place.
The men’s pair came down to a tight finish with Stephen Jones and Shaun Kirkham from the men’s eight just managing to overhaul the lightweight pair of Peter Taylor and Jamie Hunter in the absence of Hamish Bond and Eric Murray.
The pairing of Robbie Manson and John Storey claimed line honours in the double scull ahead of Chris Harris and Jade Uru.
The women’s eight, racing in the men’s open four, managed to finish third behind the New Zealand summer squad men’s four and lightweight men’s four.
The next domestic regatta for the New Zealand summer squad will be the Cambridge Town Cup between 29-31 January at Lake Karapiro.