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Kiwi rowers announce arrival with eight medals at World Cup

  • 30 May 16

In their first international outing of 2016 the New Zealand Olympic rowing team have delivered outstanding results winning eight medals at World Rowing Cup II in Lucerne, Switzerland and topping the medal table.

New Zealand rowing crews rowed in nine Olympic class finals and one international class and concluded the event earning eight medals – three gold, two silver and three bronze taking New Zealand to the top of the regatta medal table ahead of Great Britain who were in second place.

The men’s lightweight four, men’s single scull and men’s pair won gold while the women’s pair and men’s double earned silver and the women’s lightweight single scull, women’s lightweight double and women’s eight bagged bronze.

The results in Lucerne set the New Zealand squad up in a great position for World Rowing Cup III in Poznan, Poland in three weeks time.

Women’s pair Rebecca Scown and Genevieve Behrent started conservatively but by halfway had found their stride. In the absence of Olympic Champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning the United States crew were out in front with New Zealand sitting a length behind. Scown and Behrent finished strongly to claim silver behind the United States crew of Felice Mueller and Grace Luczak with the second Unites States crew finishing third.

Behrent was really pleased with their effort “We’re very excited by our result and feel like we’re in a good position. We’re looking forward to the next block of training and finding a little more speed to take them on next time.”

Double World Champions Sophie Mackenzie and Julia Edward came out of the blocks in the thick of the field, working their way into the lead by the third quarter of the race but couldn't hold off Canada and South Africa who came storming home leaving the kiwis with bronze.

Edward commented “It was probably a reflection of where we are and where our training is at the moment, it gives us a bit of fire in the belly to move forward.”

The men’s lightweight four of James Hunter, Alistair Bond, Matt Dunham and James Lassche rowed exceptionally under pressure. With all six crews within a second and half at halfway the kiwis found the power and extra speed to edge ahead in the third quarter ahead of the World Champions from Switzerland. As the commentator remarked, “The Swiss crowd expect this crew to win but the New Zealanders are writing a different script.” New Zealand crossed the line the clear winners and delighted with their efforts.

Matt Dunham, filling in for Peter Taylor, was ecstatic with the win “The race went pretty much to plan, we were a bit slower out of the start than we wanted to be but we were just really composed throughout the race. We had good timing and a lot of confidence in each other. We are really happy with the result.”

Mahe Drysdale stayed in contact with his rival from the Czech Republic Ondrej Synek in the men’s single scull in the early stages of the race until he put the hammer down in the third quarter. While the rest of the field were left behind Drysdale and Synek went to battle with Drysdale able to stride through the Czech in the last part of the race and win comfortably.

In the men’s pair Olympic champions Hamish Bond and Eric Murray started slowly but hit their stride and the lead in the second 500 metres of the race. From there they were unstoppable, holding their lead and comfortably fending off the challenge from South Africa, the Netherlands and Great Britain as they came down to the line.

Murray was pleased with the race “The race was good, we just stuck to a really long rhythm and we hit our stride really well and moved back through the crews and out of any trouble. It was a step up from the first race and because we’ve only been over here for a week so the legs are still freshening up from the flight.”

The New Zealand women’s eight held third place for the majority of the race and were right on pace with the United States and Great Britain and while they attempted to move up and challenge the frontrunners they were unable to pick up the pace in the final quarter, going on to win bronze.

Francie Turner gave an insight into how the race went “We had a really nice strong first 500 metres and we were right up there with the leading crews. We started to get a really strong position in the middle, which allowed us to start walking up onto the United States who were leading. Unfortunately we just couldn’t quite hang on in the last 250 metres and Great Britain rowed back through us but overall we really happy with our performance.”

The men’s double Robbie Manson and Chris Harris had a great start just behind the World Champions Croatia and were able to take the lead through the middle of the race. In the last quarter the Croatians took back the lead and the kiwis were able to hold off the charging Lithuanians to grab silver.

Robbie was surprised but elated with the race “We had a really good first race and much better start than last year, we came out a lot faster than we thought we would. We have plenty to work on going into Poznan and Rio but we’re really excited with how we’ve started off our campaign.”

The women’s double of Zoe Stevenson and Eve Macfarlane struggled with the fast pace in their final at the second World Cup and finished in sixth place.

The men’s eight had a promising race sitting in second place behind the Netherlands and on pace until the final quarter of the race. As the field geared up for a sprint to the line the New Zealanders were unable to keep up and dropped back in the field finishing fifth.

The New Zealand Olympic Rowing Team will next compete at World Cup III in Poznan, Poland between 17 – 19 June. Training will continue in Europe prior to departing for Rio for the Olympic Games in late July. The Olympic rowing regatta will take place 6-13 August 2016 at the spectacular Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas in the heart of Rio.

New Zealand Rowing Team to compete at World Rowing Cup II - Lucerne, Switzerland

Women’s Double Scull

Zoe Stevenson

Eve Macfarlane

Dick Tonks – Coach

Women’s Lightweight Double Scull

Julia Edward

Sophie Mackenzie

Gary Hay – Coach

Women’s Coxless Pair

Rebecca Scown

Genevieve Behrent

Dave Thompson – Coach

Women’s Eight

Rebecca Scown

Genevieve Behrent

Kerri Gowler

Grace Prendergast

Kelsey Bevan

Ruby Tew

Emma Dyke

Kayla Pratt

Francie Turner (cox)

Dave Thompson – Coach

Men’s Single Scull

Mahe Drysdale

Dick Tonks – Coach

Men’s Double Scull

Chris Harris

Robbie Manson

Calvin Ferguson – Coach

Men’s Coxless Pair

Hamish Bond

Eric Murray

Noel Donaldson – Coach

Lightweight Men’s Coxless Four

James Hunter

Alistair Bond

Matt Dunham (Reserve)

James Lassche

Gary Hay – Coach

Men’s Eight

Stephen Jones

Brook Robertson

Alex Kennedy

Joe Wright

Isaac Grainger

Shaun Kirkham

Michael Brake

Tom Murray

Caleb Shepherd (cox)

Noel Donaldson – Coach

Women’s Coxless Pair (Reserves)

Holly Greenslade

Olivia Loe

Dave Thompson – Coach

Women’s Lightweight Single Scull (Reserve)

Zoe McBride

Gary Hay – Coach