Perfect conditions greeted athletes for the penultimate day of racing at the 2017 New Zealand Rowing Championships at Lake Ruataniwha, Twizel.
With 29 medal races on over the day there was plenty of action on the water Matthew Dunham (Waikato RPC/Cambridge RC) secured his first gold coat, awarded to winners of premier lightweight events after a sensational win in the men's premier lightweight single sculls event.
In the tightly contested race crews were bowball to bowball at the midway point, but a surge from Dunham saw him move ahead of the pack and finish with clear water back to silver and bronze. After an impressive late sprint Adam Ling (Waikato RPC) rowed through Waikato RPC's Toby Cunliffe-Steel and Ben van Dalen to snatch silver, while Harrison Somerville (Central RPC/Blenheim Rowing Club) took bronze.
The anticipated premier double sculls events were two of the feature events of the afternoon.
The event saw some of the country's top scullers head to head, including London 2012 gold medallist Nathan Cohen, competing with brother Hayden Cohen in the men's race, and under-23 world champions Jackie Kiddle and two-time world champion Zoe McBride in the women's.
It was the battle of the Olympians for gold and silver in the men's race with crews pushing each other for the full 2000 metre course. Chris Harris and Robbie Manson (Central RPC) cinched victory in a time of 6:23.02. Just behind in silver were John Storey and Nathan Flannery of Southern RPC and Lewis Hollows and Giacomo Thomas of Auckland RPC in bronze. Lightweights Matt Dunham and Toby Cunliffe-Steel backed up their second events of the day with a fourth place.
Harris said the duo were well aware how hard the race was going to be "We planned to go out hard from the start and keep pushing away, which we managed to do.
"There are lots of good scullers out there, we just focussed on our own boat and tried to row as fast as we could."
In the women's race the Waikato RPC duo of Hannah Osborne and Brooke Donoghue claimed national title honours with a clear water advantage in a time of 7:03.26. Silver and bronze were a battle between Southern RPC's Olivia Loe and Lucy Spoors and lightweights Jackie Kiddle and Zoe McBride. Loe and Spoors managed to push ahead across the line, with Kiddle and McBride less than a second behind for bronze.
Other premier events included the men's and women's pair and men's and women's four.
With Hamish Bond and Eric Murray missing from this year's competition all eyes were on who was going to take the limelight.
James Hunter and Tom Murray (Central RPC) secured victory for the second year running, crossing the line in 6:35.21, comfortably ahead of Anthony Allen and Paddy McInnes of Waikato RPC in silver, and James McAnallen and Corey McCaffrey of Central RPC in bronze.
The women's pair title was claimed by the uncatchable Emma Dyke and Grace Prendergast of Southern RPC, followed by Kelsey Bevan and Kayla Pratt (Auckland RPC) nearly ten seconds behind, and Kerri Gowler and Ruby Tew of Central RPC in bronze.
Only three entries in the men's and women's four, the final events of the day, ensured a medal for everyone with Southern RPC taking gold for the women and Waikato RPC claiming gold in the men's event.
The men's under-22 single sculls was a fine display of upcoming talent. Jordan Parry, under-23 world championship medallist paced himself beautifully to row through Jack O'Leary and take the win. Parry (Waikato RPC/Tauranga Rowing Club) held the advantage to claim silver, while O'Leary (Central RPC/Picton Rowing Club) had to settle for silver despite best efforts. Bronze was taken out by James Walker of Southern RPC/Timaru Rowing Club.
The up and coming talent was evident in the women's under-21 lightweight single sculls. Waikato RPC went one-two with Samantha Voss controlling the race from the mid-way point for the gold medal in 8:04.84. Fellow Waikato RPC teammate Luka Ellery chased for silver, nudging out Auckland RPC's Amy Mills for bronze, just .2 seconds behind.
The A final of the women's club quad was an impressive display of strength and determination. With 250 metres to go it looked like anyone';s race, but the Timaru crew of Phoebe Trolove, managed to pull ahead of Wairau and Avon sprinting for third.
The cream of the crop in the highly competitive men's club single sculls were decided with the 61 entries whittled down to a final eight. Wairau RC's Tristan Gregory-Hunt looked poised sitting in first place to cross the line in 7:21.13 with a two second advantage over Nathan Luff of Aramaho-Wanganui RC and Ben Norling of the Waikato RC.
Racing concludes tomorrow afternoon. The full event schedule, entries and results can be found on rowit.co.nz
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