Hamish Bond not planning on going solo
Hamish Bond isn't planning to usurp Mahe Drysdale as New Zealand's premier single sculler long-term.
However, Drysdale is likely to have to contend with his fellow Olympic gold medallist for the rest of the summer after Bond again beat Drysdale in his specialist event at Lake Karapiro yesterday.
Bond won a gruelling, tight premier men's single scull final at the Cambridge Town Cup regatta, coming from behind with a sprint finish to triumph by 2 1/2 seconds. Bond also beat Drysdale when they met in the Christmas Regatta at the same venue in December. But the 27-year-old, who has been unbeaten in the men's pair with Eric Murray since teaming up at the start of 2009, isn't looking to go solo.
"No, I don't think so - not at this stage," Bond told the Waikato Times.
"The pair's going well obviously and you don't try and re-invent the wheel too much."
Bond and Murray have been training almost exclusively in single sculls boat this summer with the elite Rowing NZ summer squad to keep them fresh and motivated.
"It's a training exercise but I'm under no illusion," Bond said.
"The guys in the single internationally are really premier athletes. It'd be interesting to know how I'd stack up against them but it'd be very challenging.
"Eric and I have got a great synergy - we've got two of the best athletes and we go really well together."
However, Bond did gain bragging rights with the win, achieved in choppy conditions into a steady headwind but he admitted it was tough work.
"It was easier last time.
"He's obviously a lot more experienced in the boat and I think he probably handled the rough water better.
"Well, I didn't feel as though I handled it well. In the last regatta I was able to punch out and hold a pretty healthy lead most of the way down. This time he had a lead of about a length or so and I just tried to stay in touch.
"I felt if I was in touch at the finish I'd at least have a go at a sprint. I've got a pretty decent change of pace so I thought he'd have to dig it in to get home.
"I started coming back on him and that spurred me on for the last couple of hundred metres."
Bond and Murray are likely to stay in the single through the North Island club champs and national champs next month, meaning Drysdale will have world-class competition as he attempts to rediscover his best form after a short and disappointing campaign last year.
"Mahe's coming back into some decent shape and he's the best single sculler of all time," Bond said.
"OK, he's getting on but it's still no mean feat to tip him over at his own game."
Waikato RPC's Brooke Donoghue took out a tightly-contested women's single sculls final that didn't feature last year's world championship silver medallist Emma Twigg.Bond's winning time was seven minutes 14 seconds, with Drysdale 2.49 seconds back, while Robbie Manson grabbed third ahead of Murray.
Donoghue headed home the NZ lightweight double sculls combination of Lucy Strack and Julia Edward, with Strack second and Edward third, with a winning time of 8:15.30.
Joseph Sullivan got back on a winning track when he teamed up with Manson to capture gold in the men's double sculls.
Sullivan, the 2012 Olympic champ with now-retired Nathan Cohen, had a horror year in 2013 but is poised to be a force again as he and Manson saw off a stern challenge from Manson's brother Karl and Giacomo Thomas.
Zoe Stevenson got bragging rights over her regular women's double sculls partner Fiona Bourke in a closely-contested final. Stevenson teamed up with Sarah Gray to win in 7:17.96, heading home Bourke and Kerri Gowler by just 0.16 seconds with Twigg and Lucy Spoors third.
Kelsey Bevan and Linda Matthews took out the women's pair title after a prior commitment meant Rebecca Scown was unavailable to race in the final with world champs bronze-medal winning crewmate Kayla Pratt after a convincing heat win on Saturday.
James Lassche and James Hunter, half of the NZ men's lightweight four that won silver in South Korea, won the men's premier pairs final that was without Olympic champs Bond and Murray. The lightweight duo headed home fellow NZ summer squad members Alex Kennedy and Tom Murray.
Kennedy and Murray were part of the NZ crew that won the four, teaming up with Finn Howard and Shaun Kirkham.