New Zealand rowers chase gold in Switzerland
New Zealand boats will chase another swag of medals at the final World Cup regatta of the season in Lucerne tonight.
Twelve Rowing NZ boats will contest A finals after another hugely successful day in Switzerland overnight (NZ time). The Kiwis won five gold and a bronze at the second World Cup regatta in France last month, and all five winners are on target to repeat those triumphs.
Single scullers Mahe Drysdale, Emma Twigg and lightweight Julia Edward, the men's pair and lightweight four will seek gold after all advanced from their semifinals.
Edward was again first to compete for New Zealand in the women's lightweight single scull and led throughout to win in seven minutes 58.82 seconds, ahead of Germany and Greece, while two scullers from the Netherlands and one from Austria progressed from the other semifinal.
The Kiwi under-23 combination of Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast won their women's pair repechage, backing up their impressive second place-finish in their heat behind Olympic champs and gold medal favourites Helen Glover and Heather Stanning of Great Britain. The elite NZ senior crew of Rebecca Scown and Louise Trappitt won their heat on Friday to advance directly to the final and those three crews should fight out the medals.
Hamish Bond and Eric Murray won their men's pair semifinal to put them on course for yet another title, while the men's quad of Chris Harris, Nathan Flannery, John Storey and Jade Uru have been big improvers since France - where they won the B final - and were second behind Estonia in their semifinal to make the last six.
Karl and Robbie Manson took the last spot available in the men's double scull final while the women's crew of Zoe Stevenson and Fiona Bourke will race Lithuania, USA, Belarus, Poland, Australia in their A final.
The NZ men's lightweight four crew of Curtis Rapley, Peter Taylor, James Lassche and James Hunter again headed off fierce rivals Denmark in their semifinal in 5:55.62, just .33s ahead of the crew they beat to win gold in France. Great Britain, Australia, France and Italy will also contest the final.
Drysdale kept up his winning run with a semifinal triumph over Roel Braas (the Netherlands) and Norway's Olaf Tufte. They'll be joined in the final by Ondrej Synek (Czech Republic), Lithuania's Mindugas Griskonis and Germany's Marcel Hacker.
Twigg, who has won both World Cup titles this year, recorded the fastest semifinal time of 7:30.37 in heading home Czech Mirka Knapkova and Great Britain's Victoria Thornley. Australian Kim Crow won the other semi in 7:31.74.
The NZ women's quad advanced directly to their A final on Friday and will be out to improve on their bronze they gained in France.
The NZ under-23 men's eight made the final with second place in their repechage, while Alistair Bond and Adam Ling were second in the C final of the men's lightweight double scull.