NZ win five World Cup medals
Another dominant gold medal performance by champion pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray was the highlight for the New Zealand team on a finals day at Eton Dorney that yielded four gold and one silver for the Kiwi crews. The double of Robbie Manson and Michael Arms and the men's lightweight four both won a second world cup gold this year. Emma Twigg capped off an excellent regatta when she won gold in the women's single scull. Rebecca Scown and Kayla Pratt captured silver in the women's pair.
The regatta was again plagued by rough weather conditions, which required another lane reallocation. The redraw of lanes meant crews with the best results were in lanes 5, 6, the next best in 3,4, and then 1,2.
Duncan Grant was the first of the kiwis to get A finals racing underway in the Lightweight Men's Single Sculls. Grant was allocated lane one, and lead the race early on despite the tough conditions in that outer lane. Unfortunately, Grant couldn't sustain his early pace and finished up in fourth place.
Rebecca Scown and Kayla Pratt showed off their new combination in style, finishing second and taking the silver medal. They clocked in a time of 7:00.41, a boat length behind the Great Britain pair. Scown won bronze in this event just under a year ago at the London Olympic Games with her former team mate Juliette Haigh, who has since retired from rowing.
Hamish Bond and Eric Murray continued their dominance in the Men's Pair, powering past their competition to win gold in 6:16.01, 15 seconds ahead of their nearest rival. It was a superb race from the New Zealand crew, and the victory marks their 14th consecutive major title win - a new record in international rowing. This was the first international regatta for Bond and Murray since their Olympic gold medal winning performance in August last year, and many will be watching closely to see if the pair can remain unbeaten over this Olympic cycle.
Men's Four (Adam Tripp, Bobby Kells, Tobias Wehr-Candler and Jade Uru) were just off the medal pace, taking fourth place in 6:02.67. Australia won gold in 5:56.40, Great Britain silver and Romania bronze.
The men's double scull of Robbie Manson and Michael Arms won their race in 6:13.78 to back up their victory at the Sydney World Cup in March. Manson and Arms led from start to finish and were able to hold off a much stronger field than the one they faced earlier this year.
Lightweight Men's Four (Curtis Rapley, Peter Taylor, James Lassche and James Hunter), gold medalists from the Sydney World Cup remain unbeaten in 2013 but had a very lucky surge for the finishing line where the Danish four were putting immense pressure on after a few messy strokes in the last few hundred metres of the race. The New Zealanders crossed the line in a time of 5:49.46.
Emma Twigg improved on her Olympic fourth-placing at this regatta with a comfortable victory in the women's single scull.
Rowing New Zealand's High Performance Manager Alan Cotter is proud of how the New Zealand crews raced in the finals. Cotter says "It was an enormous team effort; all of our athletes performed extremely well and stepped up from the Sydney World Cup. These results give our crews an excellent benchmark ahead of the Lucerne World Cup, where we will see the fields strengthen further. Even those who were in B finals now have a taste of what the competition standard is like and where they can improve. All of our crews will want to step it up a notch in each of the upcoming regattas."
The men's quadruple scull ranked 9th overall at the World Cup after their 3rd place finish in the B final yesterday. Joseph Sullivan also raced today in the B final, where he finished in 5th place for an overall ranking of 11th.
Cotter was impressed and believes the New Zealand crews will only get better. "Overall, this was a great regatta for the New Zealand rowing team. If we can continue to improve over the 2013 season we will be in good shape as we build towards the Rio Olympics in 2016."
The team entered nine events in total: eight Olympic events and the international-only men's lightweight single scull. Of the eight Olympic events, New Zealand came away with four golds and one silver from six A finals. At the team's last showing at Eton just under a year ago, the New Zealand rowers won five Olympic medals: gold in the men's single scull, men's double scull and men's pair; and bronze in the men's lightweight double scull and the women's pair.
The team has a busy schedule over the next few weeks, with the Henley Royal Regatta and the third and final World Cup being held in Lucerne before they return home to New Zealand.
Next weekend the women's squad competes at the Holland Beker regatta in Amsterdam, where they will be joined by single scullers Emma Twigg and Mahe Drysdale.