NZ rowers make strong start in Sydney

New Zealand's 41-strong rowing team made a strong start to the first World Cup Rowing Regatta of 2013 today at the Penrith venue in perfect conditions.

The Women's quad were first up and lead their heat strongly and progress through to the final with USA. New Zealand won their heat in a time of 6:36.94. The team is made up of Sarah Gray, Erin-Monique Shelton, Genevieve Armstrong and Georgia Perry.

Men's Coxless Four of Jade Uru, Bobby Kells, Adam Tripp and Tobias Wehr-Candler came first in their heat in a time of 6:09.45.

Men's Quadruple Scull of Nathan Cohen, Hayden Cohen, Nathan Flannery and Fergus Fauvel were second in their heat to Great Britain. New Zealand clocked in a time of 5:58.56. Great Britain were just over three seconds in front of them. This New Zealand combination is a relatively young crew, but they will hope in the finals to go one better for the gold. The race experience in the heat will no doubt prove important on Sunday for the final.

Women's Lightweight Double Scull Julia Edward and Lucy Strack won their heat in a time of 7:07.92. Well ahead of second place getters Great Britain.

Women's Double Scull Fiona Bourke and Zoe Stevenson had a good start and kept their lead and head directly to the final.

They won by just under ten seconds, they looked very strong and in fine form as they raced down the course. Bourke was up against many of the London 2012 quadruple scull athletes in this double sculling event in Sydney.

The Men's Coxed Eight is a young and relatively inexperienced crew but they showed grit and kept up with the Australian's, but still placed fourth in their heat. They finished in a time of 5.46.26 about two boat lengths behind the winners Great Britain. This experience at the Sydney World Cup will no doubt help them and their chances of medalling at the U23 World Championships being held in Linz, Ottensheim in late July. They progress through to the final so they have another opportunity to improve their standings against these international crews.

Duncan Grant continued his dominance in the Lightweight Men's Single and was one of the most experienced scullers in his field. He finished his heat in a time of 7:21.21.

Later this evening the Men's Double Scull of Robbie Manson and Michael Arms the Men's Lightweight Four of Peter Taylor, Curtis Rapley, James Hunter and James Lassche and the Women's Eight will race. Racing for these three crews will commence at 6.00pm Sydney time.

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