Glittering final day for New Zealand at World Rowing Cup
New Zealand announced its arrival to the international season with an absolutely glittering display on the final day of racing at the World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, Poland.
The New Zealand elite rowing team, competing in their first international event of the 2017 season, wrapped up the day with six medals – five gold and one silver – as well as two new world best times and one world cup best time.
New Zealand’s gold medal haul came from the men’s single sculls, the women’s pair, the men’s and women’s double sculls and the women’s eight, while the men’s eight took home silver.
Today’s results have rocketed the team to the top of the medal chart and the world cup points leader board after scooping their first medal yesterday with Jackie Kiddle claiming gold in the women’s lightweight single sculls.
Today, Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler scored not only the first medal of the day in the women’s pair but also a new world best time.
The duo, who have been training under coach Gary Hay, were absolutely dominant in their final, leading from the start and powering down the course with an unrelenting pace. Other crews had no choice but to fight for the minor medals as the kiwi duo crossed the line with a new world best time of 6.49:08.
Behind them, Megan Kalmoe and Tracy Eisser of the USA took silver while Australia’s Sarah Hawe and Molly Goodman pipped Chilean twins Antonia and Melita Arbraham for bronze.
“It was actually a really enjoyable race. We just wanted to push ourselves and see what we could do, not knowing how fast everyone else would be.” said Prendergast.
“We wanted to control it, but it felt like we had a lot of fun.”
In the race which featured two sets of sisters the younger of the Gowler sisters, Jackie, took fifth place along with crewmate Kirstyn Goodger in their world cup debut.
Robbie Manson came into the men’s single sculls A final as the fastest qualifier and proved himself to be the new man to watch with a masterclass win and a new world best time.
Competing in the single sculls event at world cup level for the first time, Manson was a newcomer in a final stacked with the likes of world champion and Olympic silver medallist Damir Martin, Olympic champion Nico Stahlberg, under-23 world champion Tim Ole Naske and Olympic finalist Angel Fournier Rodriguez
However with a clear water advantage by the mid way point Manson, who is coached by Noel Donaldson, powered away to an untouchable lead and crossed the line to collect a gold medal with new world best time of 6:30.74, an incredible three seconds faster than the previous record set by Mahe Drysdale.
“I was never going out there to race the other guys, I was just going out to put out the best performance I could and I saw the numbers coming in the second half so I just put my foot down.” Manson said.
It would be a further eight seconds before Cuba’s Angel Fournier Rodriguez crossed the line for silver and Nico Stahlberg of Switzlerland took bronze.
Olivia Loe and Brooke Donoghue won women’s double sculls gold in a fine display of sculling.
The combination, coached by James Coote, once again showed poise and control as they took the lead at the 500 metre mark before unleashing a powerful kick that left the chasing group of Ling Zhang and Xinyue Zhang of China and Olympia Aldersey and Madeleine Edmunds of Australia to fight for the minor medals.
The New Zealanders crossed the line in a scorching 6:39.13, giving them the gold medal as well as a new world cup best time, just two seconds shy of the world best time.
“The race went well, we just wanted to focus on our own boat in the first half, assess where we were and then really put in the work in the second half, and I think we achieved that” said stroke Olivia Loe
In the men’s double sculls Olympians John Storey and Chris Harris executed a spectacular race to earn the gold medal.
Storey and Harris played a game of cat and mouse with the Norweigan duo of Kjetil Borch and Olaf Tufte in the early stages of the race. The New Zealanders, coached by Calvin Ferguson, then laid down the charge to get a clear water advantage over the rest of the field.
With their bow in front the kiwis were untouchable and motored to a gold medal in a time of 6:06.89, while four seconds behind Borch and Tufte of Norway were resigned to silver and the Polish duo of Dominik Czaja and Adam Wicenciak outrowed Australia’s Luke Letcher and David Watts for bronze.
The women’s eight of Ruby Tew, Ashlee Rowe, Georgia Perry, Kelsey Bevan, Kelsi Walters, Rebecca Scown, Lucy Spoors, Emma Dyke and cox Sam Bosworth were the fastest of the big boats in yesterday’s exhibition race, and proved themselves once again to win gold.
The British crew led the field out of the start but faced a sustained challenge from the New Zealanders who have been training under coach Dan Kelly following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
In a mature race strategy, the black boat took the lead with 500 metres remaining, crossing the line half a length ahead of powerhouse Great Britain in a time of 6:01.27 while the usually dominant US crew had to settle for bronze.
The men’s eight cox Caleb Shepherd played it cool led the crew from third place to second in a blistering A final.
The black boat came across the line in second place, five seconds behind a flying German crew who set a new world best time with 5:18.68, just under a second faster than the previous world best time. Great Britain claimed bronze.
The pace of the A final was too hot for single sculler Hannah Osborne who crossed the line in fifth place.
Osborne, on her world cup debut under coach James Coote, held her own against a loaded field including Olympic medallists and world and European champions, but couldn’t match the pace which saw Olympian and world medallist Magdalena Lobnig of Austria secure gold and mark up a new world cup best time of 7:13.260.
Silver went to European champion Victoria Thornley of Great Britain, and Olympic bronze medallist Jingli Duan of China snatched bronze.
The men’s quad of Giacomo Thomas, Nathan Flannery, Cameron Crampton and Lewis Hollows looked slick as they led the field down the course to win the B final in a time of 5.44:78.
The combination, who are coached by Mike Rodger, were simply untouchable after taking the lead just after the 500 metre mark and crossed the line with a clear water advantage over chasers Great Britain and China.
Cameron Webster and Alex Kennedy took second in the men’s pair B final.
With only four boats in contention it was a tight race with all boats within two seconds of each other for all but the last 250 metres of the course.
After sitting in third for the first 1500 metres Webster and Kennedy muscled their way into the lead but were pipped on the line by Australia’s Hamish Playfair and Simon Keenan while Argentina’s Francisco Esteras and Axel Haack took third.
The New Zealand elite rowing team will now resume training before contesting the Henley Royal Regatta in Henley-on-Thames from 28 th June - 2 July.
Full results from the World Rowing Cup II in Poznan can be found at worldrowing.com.