Golden glow for NZ rowers at World Cup regatta
New Zealand's rowers sent out a huge warning sign to the rest of the world at the final World Cup regatta of the season in Lucerne last night.
The Rowing NZ team dragged in an incredible six gold, one silver and two bronze medals in Switzerland from 12 boats in A finals.
After the squad won five gold and a bronze at the second World Cup in France last month, the Kiwis will head to next month's world champs in Amsterdam full of confidence.
Hamish Bond and Eric Murray won yet another men's pair title - their 18th consecutive at Olympic, world championship and World Cup level to extend their world record for successive victories - in dominant fashion.
"The others came out hard and we were expecting that,'' Murray said.
''People have been trying to push us off the start. We had to make sure we still had the lead before we widened the gap.
''We have to keep the pressure on ourselves because we know one day someone will challenge us. We won't be ready unless we practice that wind [at the end of the race]."
The hugely promising women's pair of Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast almost stole the Kiwi spotlight when winning silver.
The under-23 combination turned in a huge effort to finish behind only the Olympic and world champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning of Great Britain.
The young duo were almost five seconds ahead of the elite New Zealand senior crew of Rebecca Scown and Louise Trappitt, who gained bronze.
However, Rowing NZ appear set to stick to their original plan and still have Scown and Trappitt represent their country at the world championships while Gowler and Prendergast will head to the world under-23 champs in Italy later this month before returning home.
"We just tried to stay in our own boat and not get fazed by who we were rowing against,'' Prendergast said.
''This was our first international race as we are under-23s. This was a very good experience."
The women's double scull crew of Zoe Stevenson and Fiona Bourke produced a tremendous final 1000 metres to snatch gold ahead of Lithuania and Poland.
The Kiwis, who could only manage to win the B final last month, came storming through in lane six to win in 6:59.87 and again signify they will be a force at the world champs after being pipped for gold last year by Lithuania.
Emma Twigg completed a treble of World Cup titles with a hugely impressive victory over current world champ Kim Crow of Australia.
The women's single sculler won in 7:31.52 to make a clean sweep of gold from the World Cup events in Sydney, Aiguebelette and Lucerne to stamp herself as the one to beat in Amsterdam.
Men's single sculler Mahe Drysdale also kept up his winning run with a dramatic win over arch-rival Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic.
In a race that saw Lithuania's Mindaugas Griskonis fall out of his boat when in third spot, Drysdale went past the fast-starting Synek and then held off a late surge to back up victory in France and his win at the Henley Regatta the previous weekend.
Julia Edward followed up her surprise victory at the second World Cup regatta in France last month by again romping to a win in the first A final of the day for NZ boats.
The Rotorua lightweight women's sculler raced out to an early lead and was never headed, with her winning time of 7min 55.03secs almost three seconds clear of Greece's Aikaterini Nikolaidou.
Edward will now focus her attention on the lightweight women's double sculls with new crewmate Sophie McKenzie, with the duo to contest that event at the world champs.
The New Zealand men's lightweight four crew of Curtis Rapley, Peter Taylor, James Lassche and James Hunter came from behind to pull away from fierce rivals Denmark to score back-to-back golds after winning gold in France.
The NZ women's quad of Erin-Monique Shelton, Lucy Spoors, Georgia Perry and Sarah Gray matched the bronze they gained in France when third in their final behind Germany and Canada.Steady improvers since heading overseas, the men's quad of Chris Harris, Nathan Flannery John Storey and Jade Uru just missed out on bronze but Karl and Robbie Manson were a distant last in the men's double scull final.
The NZ under-23 men's eight were a promising fifth in the A final and look poised to defend their u-23 title in Varese, while Alistair Bond and Adam Ling were second in the C final of the men's lightweight double scull the previous day.