Alana Sherman and Kate Haines continue New Zealand’s proud run in the pair.

 

New Zealand has taken the next step in trying to extend its outstanding record in pairs rowing at the Olympics after Alana Sherman and Kate Haines qualified the boat at the ‘Last Chance’ regatta in Lucerne overnight (NZT).

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The WOMEN'S PAIR of alana Sherman and Kate haines QUALIFIED THEIR BOAT FOR THE Paris 2024 OLYMPICS at the 2024 final olympic qualification regatta. photo: ART OF ROWING

Sherman and Haines were 2nd in the final of the Women’s Pair on the famous Rotsee course to ensure New Zealand will get the chance to defend the Olympic title won by Kerri Williams and Grace Prendergast in Tokyo three years ago.

“Honestly, I feel like it’s slowly sinking in second by second,” said Kate after they’d docked straight after the race. “It’s a huge relief and I think we’ve worked so hard for it, so we just needed to execute on the day.”

Going back to Athens in 2004, a New Zealand pair, men’s or women’s, has been in every Olympic A-Final bar one, and there have been six medals, including 3 gold.

The New Zealanders had a very clear race plan after finishing fourth in the preliminary race on Monday: get out early with the favoured Danish crew, hang in long enough to break the opposition then push hard for home.

That’s exactly what they did, and more.

“We knew we had to go,” said Kate. “We didn’t want to be in that sprint like we were in the prelims, really proud of us for just committing and Alana put her bloody head down and went.”

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alana Sherman and Kate haines after crossing the finish line at the 2024 final Olympic qualification regatta, where they came second which qualified the boat for the 2024 Paris Olympics.  photo: ART OF ROWING

Alana and Kate went through the 1000m in third, behind Denmark and a fast-starting France crew desperate to make their home Olympics.

But within 250m the New Zealanders had surged into second and were challenging the far more experienced Danish pair of Fie Erichsen and Hedvig Rasmussen.

Denmark crossed in 7min 14.62sec, the Kiwis in 7.15.44.

Alana and Kate will now fly home to New Zealand ahead of World Cup II at the same venue in three days’ time, where reserve pair Stella Clayton-Greene and Ella Cossill will pick up the challenge.

The Women’s Quad of Bella Carter, Kathryn Glen, Georgia Nugent-O'Leary and Laura Glen also needed to be in the top two in their final to qualify the boat for Paris.

They had the cruellest of races, crabbing just 15 strokes into the race and from there were unable to get back into contention.

Nine New Zealand boats are now qualified for the Paris Games. Final selection remains in the hands of the New Zealand Olympic Committee.

New Zealand’s Olympic Record in the Pair 2004-2021

2004

N Coles/J Haigh 6th

N Twaddle/G Bridgewater 4th

2008

N Coles/J Haigh 5th

N Twaddle/G Bridgewater Bronze

2012

R Scown/J Haigh Bronze

H Bond/E Murray Gold

2016

R Scown/G Behrent Silver

H Bond/E Murray Gold

2020

B Robertson/S Jones 12th

K Williams/G Prendergast Gold

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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.