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Kiwi rowers miss Olympic selection

Published: 8:36AM Wednesday May 23, 2012 Source: Fairfax

It was a bitterly disappointing day on the waters of Lucerne for New Zealand's two crews chasing final spots in the London Olympic rowing regatta.

Both the lightweight men's four and the men's eight missed out on their Olympic dreams by one spot as they failed to come up with the required results in their respective finals at the final qualifying regatta.

Three-time world champion Duncan Grant and his lightweight four featuring Curtis Rapley, James Lassche and Graham Oberlin-Brown needed to finish in the top two of their final -- but came home third behind the Americans and Dutch.

The New Zealanders were fourth after the first 500 and third at the halfway mark -- just a  second off the all-important second spot.

With 500m to go they moved within 0.07s of the Dutch, but could not come up with the finish to haul in the pace-setters.

The USA crew won in a time of 6m 01.85s, with the Netherlands second in 6:01.99 and the Kiwis third in 6:03.31.

It was a similar story in the men's eight where the New Zealand crew of Richard Harrison, Fergus Fauvel, Tobias Wehr-Candler, Hamish Burson, Ian Seymour, Ben Hammond, Adam Tripp, David Eade and coxswain Ivan Pavich needed to win the three-boat final to make it to London.

The Kiwis, though, could never make any real headway on the quality USA crew which led the race from start to finish and had to be content with second place.

They trailed by over two seconds at the 500m mark and nearly three and a-half seconds at halfway.

The Americans held that advantage with 500m to go and eased to victory with nearly four seconds to spare.

The USA's winning time was 5:36.11, with the Kiwis coming home in 5:40.02. The French were another six seconds back in third.

So New Zealand's Olympic rowing team will remain at the record 11 pre-qualified boats comprising 26 athletes.

Most of them will be lining up for their first hitout of the European season at the second World Cup regatta starting in Lucerne on Friday.