If you want something badly enough you will keep working smarter until you get it.

Tauranga Rowing Club's Jordan Parry is proof of that after he and his New Zealand teammates won gold at the World Under-23 Rowing Championships held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Parry, 21, had won silver in the men's quadruple sculls at two previous world championships.

The win came by a slender margin of 0.22 seconds as the Kiwis fought back from a slow start to win a thrilling head-to-head battle with Russia for the gold.

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"Being so dominant in the semifinal was what we expected and what we wanted but this was a whole different ball game," Parry said.

"Everyone sort of jumped out in front and at the first 500 [metres], what you see behind you is no one and that is kind of terrifying, knowing you have some work to do at the halfway mark.

"It was just going to be a dog fight."

Parry, who sits in the back of the boat in the bow seat and has the best peripheral view of the race, puts the win down to the entire Rowing New Zealand team, not just the four rowers in the boat.

"It was really about self-maintenance, self-management and the whole team we had behind us like the nutritionist, physiologists, psychologists and once again we had another fantastic coach.

"Every year we have great coaches and this year we had Mark Stallard."

He admitted the two second places had begun to make him wonder if he would ever get to stand on the top step of the podium.

"Even though it was only two times it already has started to feel like a mould you know, a common pattern that feels really hard to break through. The one thing I maintained was to keep your head down, train hard and we will get there."

He compared finally winning gold at the world champs to climbing a ladder with some rapid rises up the rungs in recent years.

"Back in 2015 I had my first under-23 world championship and won a silver there with quite an old boys crew, two seconds from gold. Then just last year in the same event, men's quad, we were 0.46 behind the winners in second.

"This year, my last year in under-23s concluded by us managing to take out the event and finally win the gold."

Parry took up rowing when he was in Year 10 at Tauranga Boys' College after he took an interest in endurance sports rather than ball sports.

Next up for the rower, based at Rowing New Zealand's High Performance Centre at Lake Karapiro, is to try and make the elite rowing squad next year.

Tokyo Olympics in 2020 is the major goal.

"It is definitely in the picture and 2024 Olympics as well," Parry said.

Tauranga Rowing Club members Courtney Rennie (lightweight women's single sculls) and Charlie Rogerson (men's eight) finished outside the medals at the world champs in Bulgaria.