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World Cup medals for NZ rowing crews

 Matt MacDonald, Tom Murray, Logan Ullrich and Ollie Maclean
The New Zealand men's four of Matt MacDonald, Tom Murray, Logan Ullrich and Ollie Maclean. PHOTO: ROWING NZ/ART OF ROWING

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.


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Single sculler Tom Mackintosh had to pull out of his final due to illness. He will 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 NCAA championships in New Jersey. Maclean was about to win back-to-back titles with Cal-Berkeley with Ullrich’s University of Washington crew coming home in second.


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,” said Maclean. “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).


Shannon Cox and Jackie Kiddle rowing
Shannon Cox and Jackie Kiddle with their silver medals from women's lightweight double sculls. PHOTO: ROWING NZ/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 Cox 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 Cox, winning her first 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.”


Emma Twigg Rowing NZ rowing
Emma Twigg claimed a bronze medal in the women's single sculls at Lucerne. PHOTO: ROWING NZ/ART OF ROWING

Twigg’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, Twigg 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.


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


“I thought about that on the start-line 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 will return to New Zealand where she will finish her training bloc ahead of the Paris Olympics.


Lucy Spoors and Brooke Francis Rowing NZ
Lucy Spoors and Brooke Francis competing in the women's double sculls A final. PHOTO: ROWING NZ/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.


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 in Lucerne.


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.


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.


Rowing New Zealand's two men's pairs
New Zealand's two men's pairs crews in the B final at Lucerne. PHOTO: ROWING NZ/ART OF ROWING

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


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).


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 in 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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