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NZ rowing pair earn 'last chance' spot

Alana Sherman and Kate Haines rowing
Alana Sherman and Kate Haines qualified a New Zealand women's pair for Paris. PHOTO: ROWING NZ/ART OF ROWING

Alana Sherman and Kate Haines have continued New Zealand’s proud rowing 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, Switzerland on Monday (Tuesday NZ Time).

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Sherman and Haines were second in the women's pairs final 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 Haines. “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-fina,l bar one, and there have been six medals, including three 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.

Alana Sherman and Kate Haines rowing
Alana Sherman and Kate Haines react after qualifying for the Paris Olympics. PHOTO: ROWING NZ/ART OF ROWING

That is exactly what they did, and more.

“We knew we had to go,” said Haines. “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.”

Sherman and Haines 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.

Sherman and Haines will now fly home to New Zealand, ahead of the World Cup II regatta 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 finish 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.

The NZ men's quadruple sculls crew of Ben Mason, Flynn Watson, Zack Rumble and Jack Ready finished third in their repechage race on Sunday (Monday NZT), missing out on the top-two to advance to the final.

Things looked promising through 1000m, with New Zealand second, and just 0.82sec behind leaders France. But Ukraine powered home to win, with France second, and the Kiwis third, just over 2.5 seconds back.

Nine New Zealand boats are now qualified for Paris, although the final selection remains in the hands of the New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC).


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