Rowing brothers ready to take on the world
A new men's double sculls combination for Rowing New Zealand would usually mean another familiarisation period.
Fortunately, the latest crewmates know each other rather well.
Brothers Robbie and Karl Manson will represent NZ at the remaining two World Cup regattas in France and Switzerland, and then at the world champs in Holland in August.
Karl, 23, replaces the injured Michael Arms in the boat that Robbie, 24, and Arms sailed to victory in all three World Cup regattas last year before Arms' back injury hampered the duo, who could only manage sixth at the world champs.
Arms was originally selected this year before his injury flared again, allowing Karl - part of the squad last year - to gain the spot after good form at the national champs and in trials.
''We've made some pretty good progress and good changes since then,'' Robbie said.
''We rowed together a few times over summer and have been able to build on that, and now we're really keen to get overseas and race at the World Cup.
''As brothers, we know each other really well, so it's easy to work well together.
''We live together, so we do get on pretty well together, and are similar in the fact that we like to get on with the job and get things done.
''But then I'm probably more outspoken - I'm the boss, I'm the leader in the boat.
''I guess Karl's more the muscle and I'm more the brains.''
Karl said the siblings, who rowed together in a double scull when finishing fifth in the world under-23 champs final in 2010, were similar in style as rowers.
''We also tend to have good patches and bad patches at the same time, in terms of our physical capabilities.''
''Rowing with Mike last year was a pretty good combination,'' Robbie said.
''It was unfortunate what's happened there, but it's given Karl a really good opportunity to step up, and it's pretty awesome to be able to row together at elite level.''
The recent announcement that 2008 men's pairs bronze medallist George Bridgewater was coming back from a break from the sport with eyes on being part of the sculling group for the 2016 Olympics will further increase competition for seat places.
''There's a lot of pressure on the sculling group as it is already,'' Robbie said.
''In the last three years, there's been three different men's doubles, so to get comfortable, and think your seat is safe, is just not how it works in the squad that we've got.
''If anything, it's going to be a good thing and make the sculling group stronger.''