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NZ rowing team set to create Olympic history

Published: 1:05PM Friday March 02, 2012 Source: ONE Sport

The New Zealand Olympic Committee announced a rowing team today that is set to create New Zealand rowing history.

A total of 39 athletes have been named in a squad made up of eleven pre-qualified boats and two boats (a men's eight and men's lightweight four) that will attempt to qualify at the 'Last Chance' regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland which begins on May 20th.  It is the largest Olympic rowing squad in New Zealand sporting history.

Heading the team is five times world champion in the single scull, Mahé Drysdale. It will be Drysdale's third Olympic regatta and he will be aiming to top the bronze medal he secured in Beijing despite being ill during the week of the regatta.

The three-time men's pair world champions Hamish Bond and Eric Murray are also confirmed, as are two-time world champions in the women's pairs Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown and two-time world men's double sculls champions Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan.

2009 world champions Storm Uru and Peter Taylor will compete in the men's lightweight double scull, taking the total number of current and former elite level world champions in the New Zealand Olympic rowing team to nine.

Emma Twigg - world silver medallist in 2010 and bronze medallist in 2011 - is selected for the women's single scull, while Fi Paterson and Anna Reymer, bronze medallists in 2011, will remain in the promising  women's heavyweight double scull, the boat in which New Zealand secured its Olympic Gold in Beijing four years ago with the Evers-Swindell twins.

There is a change in the women's lightweight double scull from the 2011 crew which qualified for London. Julia Edward replaces Lucy Strack and will partner Louise Ayling.

The women's quad remains in the bronze medal winning combination of 2011 with Eve Macfarlane, Fiona Bourke, Louise Trappitt and Sarah Gray.

There are new line ups for the two other qualified boats - the men's four and the men's quad. The new-look men's four will be coached by Dave Thompson and will be made up of Sean O'Neill, Chris Harris, Jade Uru and Tyson Williams. 

The men's quadruple scull will be crewed by Robbie Manson, Matthew Trott, John Storey and new recruit Michael Arms. Mike Rodger will continue to coach this boat. 

In the two boats named to try and qualify at Lucerne in May, the lightweight four will be crewed by three time world lightweight sculling champion Duncan Grant, double Under 23 world champion Graham Oberlin-Brown, world silver medallist James Lassche and Curtis Rapley. David Thompson will coach this boat. This crew will need to finish in the top two in Lucerne.

Waikato coach Ian Wright will take charge of the men's eight which will also try and qualify at Lucerne. The crew will be Richard Harrison, Hamish Burson, Tobias Wehr-Candler, Adam Tripp, Ian Seymour, Ben Hammond, Fergus Fauvel, David Eade and cox Ivan Pavich. The eight must win the qualifying regatta to progress to London 2012.

Legendary coach Richard Tonks will remain in charge of Drysdale, Twigg, Bond and Murray and the women's quad, with John Robinson taking charge of the lightweight women's double scull in addition to Haigh and Scown. Calvin Ferguson stays with the men's lightweight and heavyweight double sculling crews, and Gary Hay remains with the women's heavyweight double scull.

Secretary General and selector, Kereyn Smith, said today's announcement was significant.  "The team named today contains no fewer than nine world champions and multiple medal winning elite, U23 and junior world championship rowers," she said.

"Rowing is already a very successful Olympic sport for New Zealand and the outstanding team named for London will cement rowing's place in Olympic history."

Rowing has won 16 Olympic medals since Darcy Hadfield took bronze at the Antwerp Olympic Games in 1920 and sits equal with Sailing as New Zealand's second-most medalled sport behind Athletics (20 medals). 

Olympic Rowing Team for boats already qualified for London 2012

Men's Single Scull: Mahé Drysdale
Coach - Richard Tonks

Women's Single Scull: Emma Twigg
Coach - Richard Tonks

Men's Pair: Eric Murray and Hamish Bond
Coach - Richard Tonks

Women's Quadruple Scull: Eve Macfarlane, Fiona Bourke, Louise Trappitt and Sarah Gray
Coach - Richard Tonks

Women's Pair: Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown
Coach - John Robinson

Women's Lightweight Double Scull: Julia Edward and Louise Ayling
Coach - John Robinson

Men's Double Scull: Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan
Coach - Calvin Ferguson

Men's Lightweight Double Scull: Peter Taylor and Storm Uru
Coach - Calvin Ferguson

Women's Double Scull: Fi Paterson and Anna Reymer
Coach - Gary Hay

Men's Quadruple Scull: Robbie Manson, Matthew Trott, Michael Arms and John Storey
Coach - Mike Rodger

Men's Four: Sean O'Neill, Chris Harris, Jade Uru and Tyson Williams
Coach - Dave Thompson

New Zealand Rowing Team for boats to race at last chance qualifying regatta for London 2012

Men's Lightweight Four: Curtis Rapley, James Lassche, Graham Oberlin-Brown, Duncan Grant
Coach - Dave Thompson

Men's Eight: Richard Harrison, Hamish Burson, Tobias Wehr-Candler, Adam Tripp, Ian Seymour, Ben Hammond, Fergus Fauvel, David Eade and cox Ivan Pavich.
Coach - Ian Wright

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