Taylor excited to be switching from sculling

TO THE FOUR: Peter Taylor, left, is switching to the lighweight four this season with the impending departure overseas of crewmate Storm Uru, right.
TO THE FOUR: Peter Taylor, left, is switching to the lighweight four this season with the impending departure overseas of crewmate Storm Uru, right.

A sweeping change has London Olympics bronze medallist Peter Taylor pumped about the upcoming rowing year.

Taylor, who combined with Storm Uru to win bronze at Eton Dorney last year in the men's lightweight double sculls, has switched to a sweep oar boat this summer and wants to row for New Zealand at the World Cup regatta in Sydney as part of the lightweight four.

The 29-year-old's partnership with Uru - which has also brought the duo gold, silver and bronze medals at world championship level - has been temporarily put on hold with Uru heading to England in April to study for a MBA at Cambridge University.

And while the duo may again team up for their third Olympic campaign for 2016 at Rio de Janeiro, Taylor is buzzing at the chance to race in a new boat.

He has switched from sculling to train in the lightweight sweep oar programme under coach Dave Thompson, alongside James Lassche, Curtis Rapley, Armin Svoboda and Alistair Bond.

"It's got my excitement levels up," Taylor said.

"I guess I could have stuck with the double and tried to find someone else to fill Storm's shoes. But I've been doing that for a long time and may have felt stale.

"I could have done the [lightweight] single too - I've spent a lot of time in the single over the past six years and it's one of my favourite boats.

"But I thought a new environment would be good, with new people to work with, and it's been great. They're young, energetic guys, I'm having great fun with them and they don't have any perceived limits in what they can do," Taylor said.

"It's a one-year focus for me and next season we'll see what happens."

Taylor returned to training in November and was surprised to find he was still in good shape, returning strong results in fitness testing and then combining with Rapley to win the heavyweight men's pairs title at a pre-Christmas regatta at Lake Karapiro that featured some of the national elite summer squad men's sweep oar members.

"I came away at Christmas feeling pretty good about where I was at."

Taylor said he was also pleased with how he has adjusted to the demands of the sweep oar, although a niggling rib injury has sidelined him recently for a fortnight. He was hoping to be back in the pair with Rapley at this weekend's Cambridge Town Cup regatta at Lake Karapiro.

"I'm quite happy about how the boat feels - it's very similar to how it feels to me in the double or single sculls. I just need to learn to relax a bit more - with just the one oar on one side the pressure on that part of the body has been quite hard to adjust too and that's why the ribs have been sore."

The opening World Cup regatta of 2013 is notably earlier than usual - March 18-24 - because it is being held in Sydney instead of in Europe.

And while that will mean the New Zealand contingent won't have the same distance in training as they usually do, the other countries will be in the same boat - so to speak.

"It'll be interesting to see how Sydney goes. I'd love to be selected in the lightweight four and race there. We might even have an upper hand against the others, as we'll be coming from our national champs and selection trials in our summer.

The New Zealand lightweight four combination missed competing at the London Olympics when they failed to qualify at a last-chance regatta last year, but Taylor feels the current squad is capable of jumping up to the elite international level.

"This four is capable of getting some great results."

Waikato Times