The New Zealand rowing team have had a superb outing at the World Cup event in Italy finishing the regatta with six medals including four gold.
Women's lightweight single scull Zoe McBride, men's lightweight four Curtis Rapley, James Lassche, Alistair Bond and James Hunter, women's double Zoe Stevenson and Eve MacFarlane and Mahe Drysdale in the men's single scull all won gold at at Varese.
The women's lightweight double of Julia Edward and Sophie MacKenzie secured silver and the women's pair of Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast collected bronze.
New Zealand had 10 crews feature in the A finals. The crews qualifying for A finals included the women's pair, women's lightweight double scull, women's quad, men's lightweight four, women's double, men's single scull, women's eight, men's eight and Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle in the women's lightweight single.
McBride was favoured to take out the international (non-Olympic) event - the women's lightweight single scull after smashing the 1994 world best time record in the semi-finals. McBride accelerated out of the start zone at 48 strokes per minute, but Fabiana Beltrame took the early lead, going through the first quarter a boat length ahead of McBride.
Beltrame maintained the lead through the halfway point, but McBride was biding her time and charged through the final quarter to become the race leader. The world best time holder Zoe McBride capped off a dream regatta romping home for gold in 7:31.15. Silver went to the Brazilian sculler, and bronze to Germany's Judith Anlaud. Fellow kiwi sculler Jackie Kiddle just missed it onto the podium finishing fourth in 7:42.61.
Rapley, Lassche, Bond and Hunter were patient in their final ousting the French men's lightweight four at the halfway marker to become the race frontrunners. Switzerland then popped up for a challenge, but the kiwis remain composed. The New Zealanders held onto half a boat length lead for gold heading for home in a time of 5:57.38. Silver went to Switzerland in 5:58.91 and France faded to bronze.
The women's double scull was tightly contested throughout the first half with no crew out of contention for medals. In the third 500m the Australian's Sally Kehoe and Olympia Aldersey were just half a boat length in front with the other five crews going stroke for stroke in a line behind them. USA then took charge into the final phase of the race, as the Australian's faded in lane one. The pairing of Zoe Stevenson and Eve MacFarlane then caused an upset by hammering it home to just get their bowball ahead in the final strokes of the race. Stevenson and Macfarlane snatched the gold away from Meghan O'Leary and Ellen Tomek from USA after a photo finish was required and bronze went to Great Britain.
The men's single scull heat was a tight race with many of the scullers taking turns at the lead through the initial stages of the final. Past the 500 metre mark Stanislau Shcharbachenia, the Belarussian sculler was in the outside lane and took a bit of a gamble pushing out to a clearwater lead to hold off the other scullers. However Olympic Champion Mahe Drysdale was biding his time, stroke by stroke, inch by inch he was reeling in the Belarussian. Into the final quarter Drysdale took over and dug deep to hold onto the gold, with a fast finishing Angel Rodriguez Fournier from Cuba lifting his boat speed to challenge for the medals he claimed the silver. Shcharbachenia managed to hold onto the bronze after a brave standout performance.
The New Zealand lightweight women's double sculls combination of Julia Edward and Sophie MacKenzie got their bowball in front of Great Britain going through the halfway point however the British duo rebounded making the final five strokes of the race count. The European Champions Katherine Copeland and Charlotte Taylor snatched the gold out of the grasp of the kiwis. Edward and MacKenzie had to settle for silver, and bronze went to Germany.
In the semi-finals of the women's pair 2014 under-23 world champions Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast took on the current senior world and Olympic champion combination of Helen Glover and Heather Stanning from Great Britain and 2014 silver world championship medallists from USA's Megan Kalmoe and Kerry Simmonds and those were the three crews who were again leading the field in the final. The British took early command of the race, but the New Zealanders were pushing them solidly through the first 1000m sitting in second position. This was the most pressured the British crew have been for a number of years, however remained cool, calm and collected holding onto the gold in a time of 6:53.67, with USA sprinting for silver in 6:55.33 and the New Zealanders rounded out the podium for the bronze in 6:58.06.
The closing race of the world cup for New Zealand was the men's eight. Germany popped out in front by just a canvas out of the starting blocks. As the crews settled into their race pace through the first quarter USA were second, Poland third and New Zealand were sitting in fourth. The New Zealanders were bravely going stroke for stroke with Poland through the middle portion of the race, but were drawing level with USA for the bronze into the final quarter. The New Zealand eight finished a stirring fourth, behind gold medallists Great Britain who clocked 5:26.93, Germany grabbed the silver in 5:27.28 and USA booked the bronze in 5:29.38.
The Americans looked untroubled in the women's eight final, distancing themselves from their opposition. USA won gold comfortably in 6:03.27. Canada finished a boat length back to silver and bronze went to Great Britain. China just edged New Zealand for fourth. New Zealand finished fifth ahead of the Australians.
The World champions from Germany were blazing ahead in the women's quad final finishing for gold with a clearwater lead. Poland, USA and China were fighting it out for the minor medals. Poland took silver, while the USA held onto the bronze ahead of China. New Zealand's crew of Lucy Spoors, Erin-Monique O'Brien, Georgia Perry and Sarah Gray finished sixth.
Other New Zealanders were in action earlier today in B finals and gained some top quality international racing experience. Peter Taylor and Hayden Cohen won their men's lightweight double race, finishing the regatta with a respectable ranking of seventh in their first international appearance. The men's quad put in a noteworthy performance with a third placing in their B final, while the men's four finished in fifth.
42 countries were represented in Varese, Italy for the World Cup regatta. New Zealand entered 15 boat classes at this world cup series event. New Zealand finished second on the medal tally behind Great Britain who won five golds, a silver and four bronze.
The full New Zealand rowing squad will now focus their attention on preparing for the third and final world cup of 2015 to be held in Lucerne, Switzerland from 10 to 12 July.
The men's double scull of Robbie Manson and Chris Harris will make their 2015 international debut in Lucerne after both returning from injury. Olympic and five time world champion's in the men's pair Hamish Bond and Eric Murray will also front in Switzerland after spending an extended period preparing at home at Lake Karapiro.