Rowing: Maiden wins and Bond loss highlight nationals

Brooke Donoghue was one rower to earn a maiden redcoat at the nationals champs. Photo / Getty
Brooke Donoghue was one rower to earn a maiden redcoat at the nationals champs. Photo / Getty

A rare loss for Hamish Bond and maiden red coats for Brooke Donoghue and Claudia Hyde highlighted premier finals action at the national rowing championships on Lake Karapiro today.

Athletes earn 'red coats' when they win a national title.

The world under-23 double sculls silver medallists were part of the victorious Waikato regional performance centre quadruple sculls crew. They teamed with national representatives Sarah Gray and Georgia Perry to beat Southern RPC by nine seconds.

"It's special because over the years we've seen so many girls win a red coat and it is a great to follow those heroes," Donoghue said.

The duo also finished second in the women's double, behind Perry and Zoe Stevenson.

Meanwhile, Bond's run of eight straight men's pairs titles came to an end.

The world and Olympic champion and Southern partner James Lassche were upstaged by Central's James Hunter and Tom Murray.

Bond said Hunter and Murray got a jump on them at the start and built a lead.

"I thought we were going alright and that they wouldn't sustain that pace through the middle, but they did, and had enough to hold on."

The Southern crew of Emma Dyke and Grace Prendergast held off Central's Rebecca Scown and Fiona Paterson in the women's pair.

Their Southern teammates Nathan Flannery, Jade Uru, George Bridgewater and John Storey clinched victory by more than 3.5s from defending champions Central in the men's quadruple sculls. All four have previously represented New Zealand in the class.

In the men's double, incumbent national representatives Robbie Manson and Chris Harris of Central took the title from Bridgewater and Storey, followed by Uru and Flannery.

Central took out the women's coxless four, while Waikato, with a crew including Olympic gold medallist Eric Murray, won the men's. Murray was not competing in the pair.

Lake Karapiro was hit by rain and wind after a calm morning. Lightweight single sculls world champion Adam Ling needed a surge to retain his title, 2.03s clear of Toby Cunliffe-Steel.

"It is always good to beat the people you train with for bragging rights," Ling said.

Competing in the worst of the conditions, he endured 8m 40.51s in the boat.

"When you are used to racing for seven minutes, but then have to race for nine minutes, you have to pace yourself and bide your time. I had to row as cleanly as I could and, when I realised I was in touch, I always back my sprint."

In the women's equivalent, reigning world champion Zoe McBride defended her title.

McBride was pushed by fellow Central rower Sophie McKenzie, but prevailed by over six seconds in 8:50.42s. The margin was flattering, given McKenzie caught a crab just before the finish.

"It was survival of the fittest and I tried to stay calm," McBride said. "Technically I feel in a better position than last year.

McBride and Ling will likely contest places in the lightweight double sculls at the Olympic trials starting February 27. Their single sculling equivalent events are not on the Olympic programme and New Zealand's men's double boat is yet to qualify for the Games. The Rio team is named on March 4.

- NZ Herald

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