Strong showing in A Finals although illness robs Tom Mackintosh of medal chance.

 

New Zealand’s rowing crews have claimed three medals in their first international regatta of the year at World Cup II in Switzerland.

Emma Twigg, the Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls and Men’s Four making the podium, with three other crews competing in A Finals.

Single sculler Tom Mackintosh had to pull out of his final due to illness.

He’ll stay with the squad with the intention of racing the final World Cup regatta in Poland next month.

This time last year, Logan Ullrich and Ollie Maclean were lining up in their respective 1V Eights at the US College championships in New Jersey. Ollie was about to win back-to-back titles with Cal Berkeley with Logan’s University of Washington crew coming home in second.

In Lucerne last night, before the start of the Men’s Four, Logan turned to Ollie and they exchanged a short fist bump. They know so well what each have had to do to be sitting in the black New Zealand boat.

With Matt Macdonald and Tom Murray, they turned on a big performance holding second place throughout to claim silver in 5.55.31, behind the United States (5.53.30).

“We really just wanted to have a good start,” says Ollie. “We missed that a bit in our heat, we didn’t transition as well into our race rate, I think we established that pretty well today...we knew if we could implement that well we could have a good middle thousand and that’s how it proved today.”

The result was massive, both crews tipping over the world champion Great Britain boat (5.57.31).

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The Men's Four of Matt Macdonald, Tom Murray, Logan Ullrich and Ollie Maclean racing in the A Final at 2024 World Rowing Cup II where they claimed silver. Photo: Art of Rowing

Half an hour later, Jackie Kiddle and Shannon Cox were taking on another world champion boat from Great Britain, up against Imogen Grant and Emily Craig in the Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls.

The Kiwis were fifth at last year’s world championships, with Shannon making her international debut at this level.

With another year together, the improvement appears immense. They were never much more than half a length behind the Brits to the 1000m, the gap widening only through the last quarter of the race. GB crossed in 6.54.83, New Zealand second in 6.57.68.

It was a moment to savour for Shannon, winning her first ever World Cup medal, and with plenty to take away for the challenges to come against the British boat.

“I’m stoked. We learned that they have a strong last 500, [we] couldn’t quite hold on to the end, but we did a good job.”

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The Lightweight Women's Double of Shannon Cox and Jackie Kiddle, racing in the A Final at 2024 World Rowing Cup II where they claimed silver. Photo: Art of Rowing

Emma’s rivalry with Dutch world champion Karolien Florijn and Australia’s Tara Rigney took another fascinating twist in the Women’s Single Sculls.

Florijn led all the way to finish in 7min 25.76 sec and remain unbeaten in the boat for 28 races. It was an historic day for her family, with brother Finn winning the Men’s Quadruple Sculls.

Rigney crossed in 7.27.33, Emma in 7.28.25, to reverse their finishing positions at last year’s world championships in Serbia.

The order on the podium may have taken a turn but it’s clear nothing is guaranteed to stay the same in the run into the Paris Olympics.

Emma was the final New Zealander in action on the Rotsee course last night and with retirement nearing, it was probably her final row at this venue.

“I thought about that on the startline today and just took it all in, it doesn’t disappoint, every time I’m here I have an amazing time and I’m going to miss it.”

She was heading straight for the airport to return to New Zealand where she’ll finish her training bloc ahead of the Paris Olympics.

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Emma Twigg racing in the Women's Single Sculls, A Final at 2024 World Rowing Cup II where she claimed bronze. Photo: Art of Rowing

Lucy Spoors and Brooke Francis were also on the same flight after their final with the same run-in to Paris planned for them.

They were one of three unchanged crews from last year’s world championship final to line up in the Women’s Double Sculls. The Kiwis were fifth back then in their return to international racing and finished in the same position last night.

A new Australian combination set the pace through the middle 1000m before being rowed down by last year’s bronze medalists from the United States, who won in 6.53.15.

Lucy and Brooke crossing in 7.00.51.

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Lucy Spoors and Brooke Francis racing at 2024 World Rowing Cup II in the Women's Double Sculls A Final. Photo: Art of Rowing

Robbie Manson and Jordan Parry were making their first appearance together in an A Final of the Men’s Double Sculls. They were down on a four-boat pack at the front of the field but built throughout the race to finish fourth in 6.20.19.

The world champion combination of Stefan Broenink and Melvin Twellaar from the Netherlands winning in 6.11.46.

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Robbie Manson and Jordan Parry racing in the A Final at 2024 World Rowing Cup II. Photo: Art of Rowing.

The Women’s Four of Kerri Williams, Davina Waddy, Phoebe Spoors and Jackie Gowler also finished fourth after going through the first 500m nearly three seconds down on leaders Great Britain. GB went on to win in 6.33.01, ahead of the world champion Dutch crew (6.35.52), the United States (6.36.98) and New Zealand (6.39.65).

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The Women’s Four of Kerri Williams, Davina Waddy, Phoebe Spoors and Jackie Gowler racing in the A Final at 2024 World Rowing Cup II. Photo: Art of Rowing 

Two New Zealand crews raced the B Final of the Men’s Pair, with Ben Taylor and Campbell Crouch winning in 6.38.84, Phil Wilson and Dan Williamson claiming third 6.40.10.

Both crews will continue on to World Cup III in Poland next month as they each manage their training workloads.

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Our two New Zealand crews racing the B Final of the Men’s Pair at 2024 World Rowing Cup II. Crews: Ben Taylor, Campbell Crouch and Phil Wilson, Dan Williamson. Photo: Art of Rowing.

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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.