It was gold for Aramoho-Wanganui Rowing Club's former prospect Martyn O'Leary as his Kiwi crew won the men's coxed four at the U23 World Rowing Championships in Rotterdam last week.

Unfortunately, AWRC's Jackie Gowler could only emulate older sister Kerri's Olympic Games efforts as she and clubmate Georgia Nugent-O'Leary were in the New Zealand women's eight who came narrowly fourth in their A final.

Martyn and team mates Cameron Webster, Charles Rogerson, Phillip Wilson and coxswain Sam Bosworth started slowly on the Willem Alexander Baan Rowing Course, being last at the 500m mark, but they powered home in the final sprint to see off the Italian and Australian crews in 6m 8.5s.

Although coxed fours racing is not an Olympic class, AWRC coach Ian Weenink said Rowing NZ continues to send teams to world championships to build up experience for their other crews, showing the former Wanganui Collegiate rower O'Leary remains very much in the plans.


Gowler and Nugent-O'Leary were in their first U23 championships after previously competing as juniors.

The women's eight finished the six-boat final in 6m 45.81s, less than 0.3s behind the Russian crew in third place, while USA were comfortable winners (6m 36.9s), followed by Great Britain.

Weenink said the two youngsters would have had little eights experience for linking up with the New Zealand crew, but given a Kiwi eight entered the Olympics for the first time this year, there was a lot of opportunity looking forward to Tokyo 2020.

The boat, with Union Boat Club's Rebecca Scown on stroke and containing Kerri Gowler, were also fourth in Rio - just like the Under 23's race they started fourth and stayed there, well ahead of fifth and sixth but right behind the medallists.

"It's an Under 23 class so you can see they're going to carry on with the women's eight at the Olympics," said Weenink.

"It just takes time in the system to get up there. They're on a good programme.

"They've gone from junior, then the next year they're Under 23 - it just takes a few years [to develop]."