A change of personnel made no difference to the outcome for New Zealand's K4 500m women's kayak crew at the World Cup regatta in Duisburg, Germany late last night.
Rebecca Cole replaced regular Kayla Imrie in the fourth seat, along with three-time Olympic medallist Lisa Carrington, Caitlin Ryan and Aimee Fisher to win the gold in a thrilling finish.
New Zealand were pushed hard all the way by the Polish quartet, winning in 1min 31.652s, just .340s ahead of the Poles, with Russia a further .627s back in third. It was the toughest challenge any of the senior New Zealand crews have had on their two-regatta European trip.
Taranaki's Cole, one of the up and coming group of women paddlers, was thrilled to be part of a formidable quartet.
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"It was amazing, the coolest thing I've ever done," a rapt Cole said.
The gold capped off a strong regatta for New Zealand, who finished with three golds, one fewer than their return from the opening cup regatta in Hungary a week earlier.
Carrington and Ryan, the world champions in the K2 500m, repeated their victory from Hungary. They won in 1:38.724.
Carrington teamed up with Fisher to repeat their Hungarian victory in the K2 200m sprint. They won in 37.251s with Poland almost a second back in second.
Imrie contested the K1 200m final but finished off the pace in ninth spot.
New Zealand's C1 200m entrant, Mia Amelia Friend Chung finished third in the C final in a respectable 51.913.
The paddlers return to New Zealand for a block of training before the world championships in Portugal in late August.