Kiwi rowers win five gold at World Cup opener
New Zealand’s golden campaign at the London Olympics overflowed to the venue of the Sydney Games in 2000 today as a new-look squad made an encouraging start at the opening World Cup regatta of 2013.
Rowing New Zealand's planning for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro started in style as New Zealand claimed a record-equalling five gold medals – matching their haul at Hamburg in 2011 – and eight overall.
The men’s double sculls, lightweight four plus women’s lightweight double sculls and double sculls were all positioned in the middle of the medal pontoon today.
Veteran lightweight single sculler Duncan Grant started the collection yesterday by winning New Zealand’s 100th at World Cup level, and 51st gold.
The men’s quad also took silver while the women’s quad and men’s four were third in their events.
Although New Zealand produced a string of impressive performances, the competitiveness of the first Cup held in the southern hemisphere was diminished by the absence of leading European nations.
Michael Arms and Robbie Manson launched the golden sequence on the final day of the first of three stops on the World Cup calendar, extending New Zealand’s proud legacy in a class associated with Olympic champions Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan.
The new combination replicated their preliminary race form to triumph with ease.
Arms and Manson were in control throughout the 2000-metre journey and powered clear over the final 500m to beat Estonia by 4.35secs in a time of 6min 15.87secs.
Australia were third, 8.63secs adrift of the Kiwis.
Cohen is now tackling a new challenge in the silver-medal winning quad while Sullivan was a surprise non-selection on fitness grounds.
Sullivan can still be reinstated later this year but on today’s evidence he will battle to displace Arms and Mason, who were members of the quad at London 2012.
Julia Edward and Lucy Strack – reunited for the first time since 2010 – slipped back into the groove to win the lightweight double title by 1.79secs from Australia while Great Britain was third.
A limited preparation time – RNZ rejigged their crews less than a month ago – also proved no obstacle to Fiona Bourke and Zoe Stevenson who timed their race to perfection to beat China and Great Britain.
More than 3secs down on the British after 500m, the black-clad duo erased that deficit relentlessly and assumed the lead over the final quarter to cruise home 2.36sec ahead of their nearest challenger.
The men’s lightweight four (James Lassche, James Hunter, Peter Taylor, Curtis Rapley) adopted a different approach, obliterating their rivals by the first split.
They maintained their intensity throughout and a technically perfect performance enabled them to beat Great Britain by a massive 3.77secs.
Cohen, younger brother Hayden, Fergus Fauvel and Hayden Cohen were assured of a medal before the regatta began and settled for silver after finishing 3.27secs behind Great Britain.
Australia was third, while another crew from the host nation was included at late notice fill out a lane.
The women’s quad of Sarah Gray, Georgia Perry, Genevieve Armstrong and Erin-Monique Shelton claimed New Zealand’s first medal today, a bronze, after they were denied a silver in the shadow of the line by pre-race favourites, the United States.
New Zealand trailed Australia until the final stroke when they were pipped by an American side featuring three members of their victorious eight in London.
The men’s four (Jade Uru, Tobias Wehr-Candler, Adam Tripp and Robert Kells) trailed both of Australia’s two crews home.
The men’s eight – comprising under-23 rowers – was pipped for bronze on the line by Australia; their female counterparts were fifth in the six-team finale.
The squad returns home tomorrow and are back on the water at Lake Karipiro on Tuesday as the training programme focuses on a European campaign in June-July.
The women will take part in the annual Holland Beker regatta in Rotterdam and the third and final leg of the World Cup in Lucerne while the men contest the penultimate leg at London 2012 venue Eton Dorney and the a regatta at Henley before heading to Switzerland.
Selection trials for the World Championships in South Korea in August-September then take place to confirm the squad.
NEW ZEALAND RESULTS
Men’s lightweight single scull (Duncan Grant) 7:04.74 1
Women’s quad (Sarah Gray, Georgia Perry, Genevieve Armstrong, Erin-Monique Shelton) 6:26.75 3
Men’s double sculls (Michael Arms, Robert Manson) 6:15.87 1
Men’s four (Jade Uru, Tobias Wehr-Candler, Adam Tripp, Robert Kells) 6:00.41 3
Women’s double sculls (Julia Edward/Lucy Strack) 6:58.15 1
Women’s double sculls (Fiona Bourke/Zoe Stevenson) 6:56.93 1
Men’s lightweight four (James Lassche/James Hunter/Peter Taylor/Curtis Rapley) 5:58.98 1
Men’s quad (Nathan Cohen/Gergus Fauvel/Nathan Flannery/Hayden Cohen) 5:53.20 2
Women’s eight (Genevieve Behrent/Louise Ayling/Grace Prendergast/Kerri Gowler/Jessica Loe/ Eve Macfarlane/Linda Matthews/Kelsey Bevan/Laura Campbell) 6:17.38 5
Men’s eight (Thomas Murray/Isaac Grainger/Shaun Kirkham/George Howard/Jonanthan Wright/Alex Kennedy/Brook Robertson/Stephen Jones/Caleb Shepherd) 5:35.50 4
World Cup points standings: Australia 81 1; Great Britain 68 2; New Zealand 55 3.