Rebecca Scown to the fore with Central club
Rebecca Scown provided a couple of bold reminders that she's still a significant force.
The 2012 London Olympic bronze medal winner is now the senior figure of Rowing New Zealand's elite women's squad, but she's still winning and is hungry for further success.
The 30-year-old won two golds at the national champs at Lake Karapiro yesterday as part of Central RPC crews.
She and Louise Trappitt teamed up in the premier women's pairs to head home Auckland's Kayla Pratt and Kelsey Bevan by over three seconds in a winning time of 6:56.26, with Southern's Eve MacFarlane and Grace Prendergast third.
Scown was later joined by Ruby Tew, Holly Greenslade and Linda Matthews in winning the premier women's fours, ahead of Southern and Auckland.
Scown has gone under the radar this summer, despite her excellent form.
"I've won ever single race I've rowed in this summer, so I feel like that's putting my hand up," she said. "I think I've had a good summer and feel good physically and technically.
"I was looking forward to this race – I knew the other girls would give it a good nudge and everyone wants bragging rights," she said after the pairs victory.
"I was up against Kayla, my usual pairs partner, so I couldn't let her get one up on me."
Scown and Pratt won bronze at last year's world champs and are poised to team up at the national team trials at the start of next month ahead of the NZ squad's European sojourn. Rowing NZ are likely to name a large team to contest the two World Cups in France and Lucerne, and the world champs in Amsterdam, as they eye Olympic qualifying the following year.
Given form at nationals, they won't be short of contenders for places.
"In the girls crews, everyone has stepped up this summer," Trappitt said.
"Things are looking really good this year."
Scown said selection of a big squad would be dependent on the ability of the athletes.
"If they put their hands up, they can prove that they're worthy of being sent overseas," she said.
"A lot of people have had good summers, so if they can prove that here at nationals and at trials again, Rowing New Zealand may think favourably about sending crews away."
Another 2013 world champs medallist, Fiona Bourke, grabbed some revenge on NZ crewmate Zoe Stevenson in the women's premier double sculls final.
Bourke and Lucy Spoors won gold for Southern by just under three seconds from Stevenson and Sarah Gray – who were part of the Waikato crew that won the women's quad title on Thursday – with Southern third.
The top Central premier men's coxless fours crew beat their Waikato counterparts in a thrilling finish.