Three elite Kiwi rowers still eligible to wear the Aramoho Wanganui Rowing Club colours made finals at the World Rowing Cup III in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Raetihi-born, Whanganui-raised sisters Kerri and Jackie Gowler were in the Women's Eight to win gold in the A Final, while Chris Harris and double sculls partner John Storey finished third in the B Final of the Men's Double Scull. Kerri and Gowler and regular New Zealand partner Grace Prendergast also took silver in the Women's Pairs A Final.
Coxed by Caleb Shepherd, the New Zealand women's eight of Ella Greenslade, Emma Dyke, Lucy Spoors, Kelsey Bevan, Grace Prendergast, Kerri Gowler, Beth Ross and Jackie Gowler progressed straight to the A Final after a time trial heat on Friday. A thrilling race to end World Rowing Cup III, the Kiwi crew maintained first position from 500m with Canada, Australia and Russia struggling to catch them. New Zealand crossed the line first taking gold, with Australia taking silver and Canada the bronze.
"We had a good time-trial so we knew we would have a good rhythm for today and so I'm really happy! We're a tight crew and this brings a lot of trust with us and now we will continue to stick to the basics and keep working," Jackie Gowler said.
It is unclear what the objective was with the women's eights crew with both Gowler and Prendergast on board. It may well have been to give extra grunt and ensure the boat is qualified for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo with rowers to fill those seats named next year.
There is precedent to have women's pairs rowers also competing in the eight at Olympic level at the same games - or the inclusion of Gowler and Prendergast in the eight at the Cup III regatta may well have simply been the selectors testing the waters to see which mix of crew best suited New Zealand's Olympic needs.
Multiple world champions Prendergast and Kerri Gowler faced Great Britain, Romania, Spain, Ireland and Australia in the Women's Pair A Final in Rotterdam.
It was a battle between New Zealand and Australia's Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre for gold, with Great Britain and Romania battling for bronze. Prendergast and Gowler lead for the first 1500m but Australia made a push in the last 500m and crossed the line ahead of the Kiwis, taking gold.
"It was a good race, we went out to attack it and learnt a lot from it. We'll take a lot out of this race and it sets us up well for our next training block before the World Rowing Championships," Prendergast said.
Harris and Storey placed third in the B Final of the Men's Double Scull with Netherlands in first and Poland second. Harris and Storey are now ranked 9th overall.