Seven crews set for another step up

 

The New Zealand squad have been given a good benchmark of where they sit just two months out from the Paris Olympics and final Games selection just around the corner.

It was semifinals day at the World Cup II regatta in Lucerne with five of the seven crews qualifying for A Finals tonight (NZT).

They’ll join the Men’s Four and Women’s Lightweight Double, who had already gained direct entry through the heats on Friday.

“Pleasing to be in and amongst it, acknowledging where we are in the season and the work ahead for all,” says Ryan Turfrey, Rowing NZ’s Head of Athletic Development.

“It was another positive day for the team, with progress evident within all crews and another opportunity to get race experience amongst fast crews.”

There was definitely some speed being shown in the smallest boats, and once again it was Emma Twigg, the Netherlands’ Karolien Florijn and Australia’s Tara Rigney leading the way in the Women’s Single Sculls.

Emma shut down a small lead from Lithuania’s Viktorija Senkute after the 500m mark to win her semifinal in 7min 31.68sec. Senkute was second in 7.33.07.

It’s becoming almost predictable then that Florijn and Rigney would battle it out for top spot in the other semi. World champion Florijn was first in 7.29.62. Rigney was second in 7.32.57.

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Emma Twigg racing in the Women's Single Scull semifinal at the 2024 Rowing World Cup II in Lucerne, Switzerland which she won in 7minutes 31.68 seconds. Photo: Art of Rowing. 

Tom Mackintosh is experiencing similar patterns and impressive times in the Men’s Single Sculls alongside Germany’s Olli Zeidler and the Netherlands’ Simon Van Dorp.

The three were drawn together in the opening semifinal, with Zeidler cranking out a 6.52.11, nearly three seconds up on Van Dorp, and Tom finishing third in 6.57.35.

The final promises to be a blinder, with the second semi even quicker. The neutral athlete from Belarus, Yauheni Zalaty, once again throwing out the quickest time of the day to win in 6.50.65 ahead of Denmark’s Sverri Nielsen (6.51.60).

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Tom Mackintosh racing in the Men's Single Scull semifinal at the 2024 Rowing World Cup II in Lucerne, Switzerland where he came third in 6.57.35. Photo: Art of Rowing. 

The Womens' Double Sculls of Lucy Spoors and Brooke Francis were the most conservative out of the start in their semifinal, although the margin across the field was less than two seconds at the first 500m and even tighter at the 1000m.

By that time, the New Zealand boat was up in fourth place and building. There was still huge work to do through the second thousand, Lucy and Brooke overhauling the Netherlands to beat them into third by 0.36s.

Ireland’s Alison Bergin and Zoe Hyde won in 6.57.98, ahead of Norway in 6.59.23.

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Lucy Spoors and Brooke Francis racing in the Women's Double Sculls semifinal at the 2024 Rowing World Cup II in Lucerne, Switzerland where he came  third by 0.36s.  Photo: Art of Rowing. 

Robbie Manson will be making his 10th A Finals appearance at Lucerne after he and Jordan Parry qualified for the A Final of the Men’s Double Sculls in 6.24.31.

The 34-year-old qualified the boat for Paris with Ben Mason at last year's world champs and if selected will be heading to his third Olympics.

Right now, it’s seeing what he and new doubles partner Jordan can do in tomorrow’s final after they finished third in their repechage in 6.24.31, behind Italy (6.20.93) and France (6.23.07).

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Robbie Manson and Jordan Parry racing in the Men's Double Sculls repechage at the 2024 Rowing World Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland where they qualified for the A Final of the Men’s Double Sculls in 6.24.31.

The Women's Four of Kerri Williams, Davina Waddy, Phoebe Spoors and Jackie Gowler are also trying to upscale their performances with final Paris selection on the horizon.

They finished third (6.35.27) in their repechage behind the USA (6.32.96) and China (6.35.06). They’ll race for a medal at 9.02pm tonight (NZT).

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The Women's Four of Kerri Williams, Davina Waddy, Phoebe Spoors and Jackie Gowler racing at the 2024 Rowing World Cup II in Lucerne, Switzerland where they finished third (6.35.27) in their repechage behind the USA (6.32.96) and China (6.35.06). Photo: Art of Rowing.

Ryan senses it will be a finals day of small margins.

“[Finals are] another opportunity to test each crew’s processes and ability to execute under pressure, with racing today suggesting there will be some extremely close competition.”

The first New Zealand crews in action tonight will be the two Men’s Pairs, with Phil Wilson and Dan Williamson and Ben Taylor and Campbell Crouch rowing the B Final at 7.15pm (NZT).

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Andy Hay

Andy Hay is a freelance producer and writer. He is a world champion cox and senior rowing coach at Westlake Boys High School. He is Olympian #