Men’s Quad take a big step up in close call at FOQR

 

The New Zealand Men’s Quadruple Sculls have been eliminated at the ‘Last Chance’ Regatta in Switzerland, ending hopes of qualifying the boat for the Paris Olympics.

The crew of Ben Mason, Flynn Watson, Zack Rumble and Jack Ready finished 3rd in their repechage overnight (NZT). They needed to be among the top two finishers to go through to tonight’s final.

Coach Nick Barton knew it was going to be a “big ask” after finishing fourth in Monday’s heat.

For the repechage, the crew had talked about taking a “slightly different approach on how we hit our rhythm, how we drive onto our rhythm,” said Nick.

“It’s a pretty tricky boat to row, finding that balance between being firm and on the boat off the catch and too hard that you can spoil the run, so they’ve just got to find the sweet spot.”

Things looked promising going through the 1000m, with New Zealand second, and just 0.82sec behind leaders France. But there was always the looming presence of Ukraine in the middle of the course, and they went on to win in 5min 52.42sec.

France was 2nd in 5.52.97, New Zealand across the line in 5.55.55.

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The M4x crew of Ben Mason, Flynn Watson, Zack Rumble and Jack Ready came third in the Repechage of Men's Quad at the 2024 Final Olympic Qualification Regatta. 

“The lads managed to come out really strong and get onto the best rhythm they’ve had of the campaign,” says Nick. “Really strong first 1200, they felt really well connected but when it came to the sprint they didn’t quite have the legs that the more experienced Ukrainians and French had."

Mason is the only athlete in the crew who’s had any experience of racing at this level. The boat has only been together for a couple of months.

“I think it probably comes down to less time in the boat together than some of these other countries and less time rowing quads,” says Nick. “When it came time to really send it, they couldn’t quite take it to where they needed to, which is probably a very well-connected, long stroke at 44 strokes per minute...but they’ve come off the water content that they’ve had their best race but gutted they didn’t make it through to the qualifying race.”

So for now, the Olympic dream is over for the quad, although there will still be a part to play with Ben and Flynn staying on in Europe as training partners for the rest of the squad as they prepare for the World Cup II regatta at the same venue in just four days’ time.

The Women’s Pair of Alana Sherman and Kate Haines will row their final tonight at 8.31pm.

The Women’s Quad (Bella Carter, Kathryn Glen, Georgia Nugent-O'Leary, Laura Glen) is scheduled to start at 10.21pm.

Both crews need a top-two finish to qualify for Paris.

The final day of racing is being live streamed on worldrowing.com

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Andy Hay

Andy Hay is a freelance producer, writer and rowing coach. He was cox of the world champion New Zealand eight of 1982 and '83. He is NZ Olympian #446.