Victory remains top priority for Bond, Murray
Defeat isn’t something the all-conquering New Zealand men’s pair want to think about as they prepare for their first regatta since last year’s London Olympics triumph.
Eric Murray and Hamish Bond will start their long quest for a second Olympic gold medal when they contest the second World Cup regatta of the year at London’s Eton Dorney course next month.
The pair culminated a four-year unbeaten run with victory at the same course at last year’s London Olympics and they’re now striving to emulate those unmatched standards.
So does Murray think about what a defeat might mean, should it occur?
‘‘No, not yet,’’ he said.‘‘We don’t consider it too much to be honest. Every time we go out we just try to go as fast as we can.
"If that means you lose because of it, obviously you have to do some soul-searching at the point in time. But we don’t sit down to look at those negative side of things too much.
‘‘Hey, maybe we should. But at the moment it hasn’t really crossed our minds.’’
Murray said maintaining the unbeaten record they’ve compiled since teaming up in the pair at the start of 2009 ‘‘isn’t really a driving force’’.
‘‘We want to keep going as well as we can, and if that means that we lose a few races, well, that would be highly disappointing.
‘‘We just want to try and get back up to the speed that we demand of ourselves – even getting back to that speed is going to take a massive amount of effort.
‘‘That’s really our aim – to go back and to go as fast as before and hopefully that keeps that benchmark high and keeps us at the front of the field.’’
That’s meant the duo have had to re-evaluate what they do, in conjunction with new coach Noel Donaldson, after setting a new world’s best mark during their gold-medal winning campaign.
‘‘Breaking the world record made our trainings a little bit harder – seeing as we went 1.6 per cent faster than anyone else made it a little bit difficult,’’ Murray said.‘‘But we’re pretty pleased with how our speeds are going, compared to how they’ve been in the past.’’
Donaldson, Rowing New Zealand’s men’s sweep oar coach, has the pair working on technical matters while instigating different training programmes that include more use of indoor rowing machines and cycling.
‘‘I do things different than Hamish does on the rowing machine and hoepfully that’s going to be something that’s going to be really good for us when we’re both out on the water,’’ Murray said.
The year following an Olympic Games always sees countries make a number of changes to crews, so the pair are unsure of the make-up of a number of rivals they’ll face at Eton Dorney from June 21-23 and the at the final World Cup regatta at Lucerne from July 12-14.
However, they will be up against the French combination of Germain Chardin and Dorian Mortelette, who chased the Kiwis home to win silver in London and backed that up with gold at the opening World Cup regatta in Sydney in March that Murray and Bond didn’t contest.