NZ rowing effort cools down at Eton Dorney
Both of New Zealand's defeated lightweight double sculls had their eyes on the long game following their heat action at the Olympic regatta on Sunday.
On the surface it was a pretty flat effort from the two in-form doubles, though they remained far from discouraged after they were both beaten by British crews.
Storm Uru and Peter Taylor had to be content with a gallant second behind British world and Olympic champions Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter who thrilled the big home crowd with an all-the-way effort. Both crews progress directly to the semis, but the Brits would have regarded the result as significant after finishing sixth in the last two World Cup regattas.
And the women's double of Louise Ayling and Julia Edward fared even worse, fading to third in their heat, also beaten by their British rivals who won the race convincingly. That result sees the Kiwis forced into repechage action on Tuesday to find their way into the semifinals.
After the dizzying heights of the Kiwi pair's world record and the heavyweight double's new Olympic mark on opening day, it was a bit of a reality check for the New Zealand squad. But both crews were very much putting on brave faces afterwards.
Taylor felt their final margin, with the Kiwis closing fast on the Brits at the end to get to within 0..73s, provided some comfort. "We're happy with a solid hitout and look forward to stepping up another gear come the semis,"" said Taylor. "We just took it as a good solid hitout, where we got the hurt on a bit."
Uru said there was no need to panic as they chase New Zealand's first ever Olympic medal in this event. He indicated the semifinals was when they would look to step things up.
"This was all about going out and racing our race today," said the Southlander. "This was only the first day, and the semis for us is important. We've just got to step up every time we race. That was a great hitout and we're going to be prepared for whatever comes at the semis.
"We would have liked to have won but there are bigger and better things later on in the week."
Ayling and Edward were far from despondent as they headed for an extra round of action. They may have been forced into third by the fast-finishing Danes but a closer inspection of times showed their 7:02 would have been good enough to win either of the other two heats.
"It's good to get the nerves out of the way," said Ayling. "We're not disappointed but we're not over the moon either we didn't get through to the semi ... but the repechage can allow us to put into place what we need to work on and can also give us that confidence that will help us to come through."
Edward felt it was important to keep things in perspective at this stage of the regatta. "Anything can happen at the Olympics so we just need to do what we can do and not worry about everybody else," she said.
"We're just going to treat [the repechage] as another race and just build our confidence a bit. The more races the better I say."
Both crews have the pedigree to kick on from this. Uru and Taylor have been together since Beijing, have one world title and a string of placings, and remain well in the game.
And though Ayling and Edward are a new combination, their results this year have been spectacular. They set a world's best time in their heat of the Lucerne regatta, before going on to finish second in the final, and also won the final pre-Games hitout in Munich. The repechage should be a doddle for them.