New Zealand's rowers have received a timely reminder of the challenges lying ahead as they chase Olympic glory.

The group, including four current world champions, is rated the best to leave New Zealand for a Games, but they have some work to do.

Results from the World Cup regatta, which ended in Lucerne early yesterday, left plenty of room for improvement in the time remaining before they arrive at Eton's Dorney Lake for the Games regatta in late July.

Out of 10 A finals, only coxless pair Eric Murray and Hamish Bond emerged with a gold medal. True, they were backed up by three silvers from five-time world single sculling champion Mahe Drysdale and the lightweight double scullers Storm Uru and Peter Taylor, and Louise Ayling and Julia Edward, and a bronze for defending world champions Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown.


Other crews were further down the field, and most concern will be directed at Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan, winners of the last two world double sculling titles, who finished last in the B final.

A degree of slack should be cut for the moment. The squad arrived in Switzerland only a few days before the blue riband regatta began and some were clearly finding their on-the-water legs again.

Indeed should they go on to be a dominant presence at the Olympics, they might come to regard events in Lucerne as pivotal, a timely wake-up call.

New Zealand will contest 11 of the 14 Olympic events, and a more accurate guide of how they are travelling will be gleaned at the last World Cup in Munich, starting on June 15. If crews are under-performing at that event, tough words will almost certainly be delivered by the coaching staff.

Bond pointed to the problems of being on song immediately after travelling halfway around the globe.

"It's a long time between innings for us, being over the other side of the world, out of the loop for quite a long time," he said from Lucerne.

"You come over here and it's quite difficult to hit the ground running and be straight on form."

Munich, he added, would be another stepping stone and all crews will be chasing significant improvement.


This being Olympic year, it is a given that crews do not hold back. As Bond, who is unbeaten in the pair with Murray since the start of 2009, put it: "Everyone's under no illusion that no one is going to hand you a gold medal on a plate".

"We are really going to have to fight for it over these next couple of months."

The three silver medal-winning crews caught the eye on the waters of the Rotsee, for different reasons.

Drysdale had a titanic duel with Czech Republic hotshot Ondrej Synek , being pipped by .52s, but will be pleased to discover he is bang on target for London. The men, bronze and silver medallists at the Beijing Olympics, know each other's game inside out.

Uru and Taylor saw off fierce British rivals Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter, favourites for the Olympic gold, by some distance in their semifinal, only to be squeezed out by 1.54s by Frenchmen Stany Delayre and Jeremie Azou. However they, too, are clearly in good shape.

Ayling and Edward set a world record 6:49.43 in winning their heat and pressed the Chinese all the way in the final on Sunday night, second by just .25s.


They have only been together a few weeks. This was their first regatta and they should be bubbling at their performance.

The four-person boats in particular have some ground to make up, albeit against formidable opposition.