Lots of top-three performances on opening day of World Cup II

 

The New Zealand crews have had a successful start to the World Cup II regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland.

“As always that first international race of the season’s a bit of a shock to the system only one week after the main crews basically got off the plane,” says Rowing NZ’s Head of Athletic Performance, Ryan Turfrey.

Ten crews took the water at the Rotsee course across nine events, with single scullers Emma Twigg and Tom Mackintosh and the Women’s Double Sculls of Lucy Spoors and Brooke Francis winning their heats.

Emma is the current Olympic champion and silver medalist from last year’s world championships in Serbia.

Her rivalry with world champion Karolien Florijn (Netherlands) and Australia’s Tara Rigney appears as close as ever.

Emma led all the way in heat two to qualify for tonight’s semifinals in a time of 7m 33.30s.

Florijn won her heat in 7.32.01, Rigney won her’s in 7.33.77.

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EMMA TWIGG RACING AT 2024 WORld rowing cup II on day 1 in the women's single sculls. Photo: Art of Rowing

Tom is also engaged in a fight for supremacy with some familiar faces from last year’s world championship final.

Current world champion Olli Zeidler (Germany) winning his heat in 7.01.40, silver medalist from last year Simon Van Dorp taking out his heat in 7.00.69 with Tom straight through to the quarterfinals after winning heat five in 7.02.40.

Neutral athlete Yauheni Zalaty produced the quickest heat time of the day, winning in 6.55.95.

The quarterfinals were raced four hours later, with Tom drawing Zalaty.

The New Zealand sculler was around half a second adrift of Zalaty through the first 1000m before taking the lead through the third 500. But that wasn’t the last change of lead, Zalaty crossing first in 6.59.86 with Tom in second on 7.01.96.

“There’s a large number of men’s singles racing and Tom has to manage his workload through the weekend,” says Ryan. “It’s a full on three days of racing for him.”

Zeidler and Van Dorp each won their quarters, in 7.05.59 and 7.02.26 respectively.

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TOm Mackintosh RACING AT 2024 WORld rowing cup II on day 1 in the men's single sculls. Photo: Art of Rowing

Lucy and Brooke continued their comeback after a break from the sport following the Tokyo Olympics. The new mums were fifth at the world champs last year in their return to international rowing and continued that impressive form last night.

The Dutch crew of Martine Veldhuis and Lisa Scheenaard, which won gold at World Cup I in Varese, Italy, were first to the 1000m.

But Lucy and Brooke were part of a fast-closing pack that included China and Italy, the New Zealand boat challenging for the lead at 1250m and first through the 1500m.

By that stage it was bow-to-bow with China, New Zealand winning in 6.58.71.

China was 0.46s behind in second.

“It was a good example of how tight things are this year and how fine the margins are for all crews as they work on their own plans for Paris,” says Ryan.

Those three go through to the semifinals tonight. The USA won heat two in 6.58.69, Ireland taking out heat three in 6.54.62.

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Lucy spoors and brooke francis RACING AT 2024 WORld rowing cup II on day 1 in the Women's double sculls. Photo: Art of Rowing

The new Men’s Double Sculls combination of Robbie Manson and Jordan Parry were next up, drawing Spain’s fifth place finishers from last year’s world champs. Only one boat would progress straight to the final and the New Zealanders built throughout the race to finish 2.29s behind the winning Spanish crew (6.18.74).

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robbie manson and jordan parry RACING AT 2024 WORld rowing cup II on day 1 in the men's double sculls. Photo: Art of Rowing

Kerri Williams, Davina Waddy, Phoebe Spoors and Jacki Gowler found themselves in top company in their heat of the Women’s Four, all three other boats were part of the final in Serbia last year.

Only the heat winner would go straight to the final, with Great Britain claiming that coveted spot, winning in 6.27.53. The USA were second in 6.30.03, New Zealand third in 6.32.72. New Zealand will race the repechage at 9pm tonight.

The Dutch, boating the same crew that won at last year’s world champs, won heat two in 6.33.40.

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Kerri Williams, Davina Waddy, Phoebe Spoors and Jacki Gowler RACING AT 2024 WORld rowing cup II on day 1 in the women's coxless four. Photo: Art of Rowing

The Men’s Four of Matt Macdonald, Tom Murray, Logan Ullrich and Ollie Maclean had a more favourable progression in their heats, with the first two straight to the final.

The Kiwis were bronze medalists last year and were up against the silver medal winners, the USA. The US led through each 500m with the New Zealand boat within a length throughout. The US crew, unchanged from last year, winning in 5.51.20, New Zealand 1.96s back.

Australia sprung a surprise in heat two, beating GB’s unchanged world champion crew of last year. The Aussies finished fifth in Serbia but have just one athlete from that boat back for this regatta. Australia winning in 5.54.34, just 0.03 up on the Brits.

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Matt Macdonald, Tom Murray, Logan Ullrich and Ollie Maclean RACING AT 2024 WORld rowing cup II on day 1 in the men's coxless four. Photo: Art of Rowing

The Women’s Lightweight Double Sculls of Jackie Kiddle and Shannon Cox went straight through to Sunday night’s final after chasing the world champion Great Britain crew all the way down the course to finish in second place in 7.02.41. GB winning in 6.57.84.

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Jackie Kiddle and Shannon Cox RACING AT 2024 WORld rowing cup II on day 1 in the women's Lightweight double sculls. Photo: Art of Rowing

With the Women’s Pair of Alana Sherman and Kate Haines returning home after qualifying the boat for Paris at the Last Chance regatta in Lucerne just a few days ago, the reserve pair of Stella Clayton-Greene and Ella Cossill were entered.

Ella was withdrawn from the regatta following the heat because of illness.

“She’s been managing a slight head cold over the last couple of days,” says Ryan. “We were hopeful that she’d make it through racing but in the end the call was made to prioritise her wellbeing.”

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Stella Clayton-Greene and Ella Cossill RACING AT 2024 WORld rowing cup II on day 1 in the women's pair. Photo: Art of Rowing

New Zealand entered two crews in the Men’s Pair, with reserve boat Ben Taylor and Campbell Crouch getting an opportunity to race. They finished third in 6.35.64 behind the defending world champions from Switzerland, Andrin Gulich and Roman Roeoesli  (6.28.65) and Great Britain’s number two crew (6.29.47).

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Ben Taylor and Campbell Crouch RACING AT 2024 WORld rowing cup II on day 1 in the men's pair. Photo: Art of Rowing

The No. 1 pair of Phil Wilson and Dan Williamson were in lane three of their heat next to Spain’s Javier Ordonez and Jaime Pazos, who led all the way to win in 6.28.75. New Zealand finishing fourth in 6.35.45.

Medical withdrawals meant the two scheduled repechages were reduced to one, and of the two New Zealand boats only Phil and Dan were required back out on the water nearly six hours later.

Italy’s No. 2 boat won in 6.51.15 with the New Zealanders second in 6.51.31 and progressing into the semifinals just after 7.30pm tonight (NZT).

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Dan Williamson and Phil Wilson RACING AT 2024 WORld rowing cup II on day 1 in the men's double sculls. 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