Changes and fine tuning for our Elite crews named for World Champs.

 

We always knew the Olympics was a sporting gathering with a select guest list.

You have to be the best of the best to get there and winning a medal takes something even mightier than that.

September’s World Rowing Championships are the main qualification event for getting a spot on the boatrack at sport’s biggest show. For New Zealand our only opportunity to qualify for Paris is the 2023 World Rowing Championships or the final two spots at the Final Qualification Regatta in 2024.

New Zealand has 10 crews trying to get each of those boats on the startline for Paris as well as be at their best in Belgrade in just over a month.

In the past couple of weeks our athletes have been trialing for seats in those 10 boats. There have been pivotal reshuffles, disappointments for some, new opportunities for others.

Head of Athletic Performance Ryan Turfrey has been overseeing the whole process at the squad’s training venue in Pusiano, Italy.

His outline of the strategy for the next year is simple:

“With qualification this year being the primary concern [we’ll take] every avenue we have to make sure we have the best athletes in the right boats at the right time.”

We sat down to go over the key talking points over the crew selections:

Women’s pair

Spots available for Paris: 13. Most direct route to Paris: A Final or 5th or better B Final at World Rowing Championships.

Ranking at World Rowing Cup III in July: Alana Sherman, Kirstyn Goodger 11th, Stella Clayton-Greene, Catherine Layburn DNS C final.

Just five months ago Kate Haines was winning her first ever Red Coat at the NZ Rowing Championships at Lake Ruataniwha in the Women’s Quad.

She’ll now move from the reserve Women’s Double to row the Pair with Alana Sherman.

The two pairs originally picked have had injury and illness to deal with.

Kate has a history in sweep and she bossed it at trials.

“We wanted to take another look at post World Rowing Cup III. It’s been hard to get a real sense over the summer then the winter period how best to combine that boat with injuries and illnesses also thrown in the way.”

“We've always known that Kate is a pretty talented athlete...through the trial processes here in Italy that came through pretty clearly that when you ask her to row fast over 2000 metres she tends to row pretty fast over 2000 metres.

“[The pair] may not have been where she had her sights on come the start of the year, but I think it's fair to say she's pretty pumped at the chance to go out there and see what she can do.”

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W2-: Kate Haines and Alana Sherman with coach Matt Cameron (centre). Photo: Art of Rowing.

Women’s Double

Spots available for Paris: 13. Most direct route to Paris: A Final or 5th or better in B Final at World Rowing Championships.

Ranking at World Cup III in July: Lucy Spoors, Brooke Francis 9th, Kate Haines, Laura Glen 16th.

The two new mums, Lucy and Brooke, came straight back to New Zealand after World Cup III. Ryan knows how much more is in their core by the time World Rowing Championships come around.

“I think there's been confidence throughout that Brooke and Lucy are two high quality athletes and they're obviously returning from unique circumstances...the results they showed at World Rowing Cup III and what we've seen internally over the winter suggests the gap for them [to get] back to where they would want to be isn't that far away.”

Brooke Francis (L) and Lucy Spoors (R) Women's Double Sculls

W2x: Brooke Francis and Lucy Spoors. Photo: Picture Show Ltd. 

Men’s pair

Spots available for Paris: 13. Most direct route to Paris: A Final or 5th or better in B Final at World Rowing Championships.

Ranking at World Rowing Cup III: Dan Williamson, Phil Wilson 13th, Thomas Russel Ben Taylor 12th.

Ben Taylor was another to win his first Red Coat at NZ Rowing Championships in February. He was stoked, especially to win it in the Boss Rooster race. He’s shown his ability to keep stepping up over the winter and at the latest trials.

“Everything's impressive about Ben over the last few months,” says Ryan. “In a building full of hardworking athletes, he stands out as someone whose effort and dedication each day is without question, every opportunity he's come up against to test himself and prove himself, he's succeeded. Every opportunity we give him, he tends to knock out of the park at the moment.”

He now gets that opportunity with Phillip Wilson.

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M2-: Phillip Wilson and Ben Taylor with coaches Mike Rodger (far right) and Malcolm McIntyre (far left). Photo: Art of Rowing.

Men’s double

Spots available for Paris: 13. Most direct route to Paris: A Final or 5th or better in B Final at World Rowing Championships.

Ranking at World Rowing Cup III: Ben Mason, Robbie Manson 6th; Jack Ready, Jordan Parry 10th.

No change. Mason and Manson. Manson and Mason. Near namesakes and birds of a feather in a boat.

And they have Jack and Jordan to keep them honest all the way to World Champs.

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M2x: Robbie Manson and Ben Mason with coach Gary Roberts (centre). Photo: Art of Rowing.

Men’s Four

Spots available for Paris: 9. Most direct  route to Paris: A Final or 1st in B Final at World Rowing Championships.

Ranking at World Rowing Cup III: Matt Macdonald, Ollie Maclean, Logan Ullrich, Tom Murray 3rd.

No change, seating order TBC.

Here’s a way of looking at the Men’s Four that went toe-to-toe with powerhouses Great Britain and Australia in just their second race together. Matt and Tom are supermagnets, Ollie and Logan probably are too. They come out of different programmes, different approaches to the rowing stroke. All have excelled in those programmes. What if, with enough time they were just one supermagnet?

“In the case of the men's four, playing around with stroke seat is probably something that will still occur over the next couple of weeks. It does have a blend of American style and New Zealand style in there at the moment. I know for the lads themselves it's as much about exploring it and see what feels best for them as a combination.”

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M4-: Logan Ullrich, Matt MacDonald, Ollie Maclean, Tom Murray. Photo: Art of Rowing.

Women’s Four

Spots available for Paris: 9. Most direct  route to Paris: A Final or 1st in B Final at World Rowing Championships.

Ranking at World Cup III: Phoebe Spoors, Jackie Gowler, Ella Cossill, Davina Waddy 5th.

No change, seating order TBC.

Another blended boat finding its feet after not too much time together. Ella Cossill’s come in for her first experience at this level after her time with University of Washington. There are three potential strokes in the boat; Jackie, Ella and Phoebe who stroked at World Cup III. They’re looking for that supermagnet synergy as well.

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W4-: Jackie Gowler, Davina Waddy, Ella Cossill,  Phoebe Spoors with coach Matt Cameron (centre). Photo: Art of Rowing.

Women’s Lightweight Double

Spots available for Paris: 9. Most direct  route to Paris: A Final or 1st in B final at World Rowing Championships.

Ranking at World Rowng Cup III: Jackie Kiddle, Shannon Cox 6th.

No change. Jackie’s had 56 races at various world championship and world cup events since 2014. Shannon 3. There’s confidence the two of them are just fine together.

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LW2x: Shannon Cox and Jackie Kiddle. Photo: Art of Rowing.

Men’s Lightweight Double

Spots available for Paris: 9. Most direct route to Paris: A Final or 1st in B Final at World Rowing Championships.

Ranking at World Rowing Cup III: Chris Stockley, Matt Dunham 8th.

No change. Closing in on that spot.

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LM2x: Chris Stockley and Matt Dunham with coach Calvin Ferguson. Photo: Art of Rowing.

Women’s Single Scull

Spots available for Paris: 9. Most direct route to Paris: A Final or 1st in B Final at World Rowing Championships.

Ranking at World Cup III: Emma Twigg 3rd (Bronze).

No change. The defending Olympian has a big challenge on her hands with Dutchwoman Karolien Florijn and Australia’s Tara Rigney the current frontrunners.

“I think [Emma] would admit she's in a good spot with a lot of work still ahead of her to do,” says Ryan.

He means it in two ways. She has a lot of work to do as in ‘a mountain to climb’. But he knows that she knows how to climb the mountain and the trick is putting it all together. That’s the work ahead too.

“I think the ability and the necessity to have to go out there and dial in every component of her programme with her team is an exciting one.”

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W1x: Emma Twigg. Photo: Art of Rowing.

Men’s Single Sculls

Spots available for Paris: 9. Most direct route to Paris: A Final or 1st in B Final at World Rowing Championships.

Ranking at World Rowing Cup III: Thomas Macintosh 3rd (Bronze).

No change.

His first time in the boat at this level demonstrates one very simple message from Ryan.

“The sky’s the limit. We've always known internally that if he ever wanted to chance his arm in the single that he'd be pretty decent. He's proved us right in that regard.”

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M1x: Tom Mackintosh with coach Gary Roberts. Photo: Art of Rowing.

Men’s Lightweight Single Sculls

Non-Olympic event.

But after winning a silver medal at the recent World Rowing U23 Championships and winning the C Final at World Rowing Cup III in the same event Finn Hamill has his sights set on being in Paris in the Men’s Lightweight Double. Just like his dad Rob did in 1996. If he can steer clear of injury and illness it will be interesting to see how much he can improve on his C final performance in eight short weeks.

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LM1x: Finn Hamill. Photo: Art of Rowing.

Women’s Lightweight Single Sculls

Non-Olympic event. Rachael Kennedy.

But the door is always open. And that’s why everyone one heading to Serbia is going to be crucial to the whole squad’s performance, says Ryan.

“The ability to have effective training partners and competitive training here in Europe is a massive consideration for the programme these days. We know that in a worst-case scenario we have capable athletes who can substitute at a moment's notice and also push what we would deem the named boats day in, day out.”

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LW1x: Rachael Kennedy (far left) pictured with the LW2x crew Shannon Cox and Jackie Kiddle.

The 2022 Rowing NZ Elite team contesting the 2023 World Rowing Championships 3-10 September in Belgrade, Serbia and their coaches and support staff are:

M1x: Tom Mackintosh, coached by Gary Roberts

M2x: Ben Mason, Robbie Manson, coached by Gary Roberts

Reserve M2x: Jordan Parry, Jack Ready, coached by Gary Roberts

M2-: Phillip Wilson, Ben Taylor, coached by Mike Rodger & Malcolm McIntyre

Reserve M2-: Tom Russel, Dan Williamson, coached by Mike Rodger & Malcolm McIntyre

M4-: Ollie Maclean, Matt MacDonald, Logan Ullrich, Tom Murray, coached by Mike Rodger & Malcolm McIntyre

LM2x: Matt Dunham, Chris Stockley, coached by Calvin Ferguson

LM1x: Finn Hamill, coached by Calvin Ferguson

W1x: Emma Twigg, coached by Mike Rodger

W2x: Brooke Francis, Lucy Spoors, coached by James Coote

Reserve W2x: Laura Glen, Kirstyn Goodger, coached by James Coote

W2-: Kate Haines, Alana Sherman, coached by Matt Cameron

Reserve W2-: Cat Layburn, Stella Clayton-Greene, coached by Matt Cameron

W4-: Jackie Gowler, Phoebe Spoors, Ella Cossill, Davina Waddy, coached by Matt Cameron

LW2x: Jackie Kiddle, Shannon Cox, coached by James Coote

LW1x: Rachael Kennedy, coached by James Coote

Support Staff

Lisa Holton, Team Manager

Ryan Turfrey, Head of Athletic Performance

Dr Stuart Armstrong, Rowing NZ Medical Director

Isobel Freeman, Physiotherapist

Stent Card, Physiotherapist

Seah Taylor, Massage Therapist

Stephen Fenemor, Performance Science

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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.