Kiwi crews prove dominant at under-23 worlds

Last updated 08:23 27/07/2014
Kerri Gowler
Getty
YOUNG GUNS: The NZ under-23 crew of Kerri Gowler, pictured, and Grace Prendergast have won gold at the World Rowing Under-23 Championships in Varese, Italy.

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New Zealand crews secured four medals and sit atop the medal table on day one of the finals at the World Rowing Under-23 Championships in Varese, Italy.

The women's pair executed an outstanding race to win by clear water and set a new Under-23 Championship world best time in the process.

The women's four and men's coxed four won silver medals with the women's quad collecting a bronze medal.

Both the women's lightweight single and lightweight double secured their spots in today's finals after racing their semi-finals earlier in the day.

The highly anticipated women's pair final did not disappoint.

The kiwi pair of Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast powered into the lead and eventually won with a huge open water margin of almost 13 seconds.

Their performance was all the more impressive as their time of 7:02.89 broke the previous Under-23 Championship world best time.

"We were trying to put down a good time. It never feels like you are really far in front when you are racing," Gowler said.

Gowler and Prendergast won silver at the Lucerne World Cup earlier in the month indicating their arrival onto the international stage.

After a delay to clear weed off the course, the women's four final was away with New Zealand starting solidly sitting in fourth by the first 500 metre mark and in touch with the race leaders.

In the third quarter the four had moved into third and the crew of Emma Dyke, Kelsi Walters, Olivia Loe and Johannah Kearney put in a huge final sprint to take them up to second place, ahead of the Russians and win the silver medal.

After 500 metres in their race, the men's coxed four were in sixth place but still within striking distance of the fast starting Italians.

By halfway the New Zealanders remained in sixth place but were determined to show their strength in the third and fourth quarter as they moved through the field knocking the crews off one by one.

With 500 metres of the race remaining they had made their way into second place where they ultimately finished.

In the women's quad, the New Zealand crew of Claudia Hyde, Brooke Donoghue, Kristen Froude, Ashlee Rowe were consistent, holding onto third place throughout the race.

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