NZ Rowing Champs into the semis & finals
The racing was as spectacular as the weather for the first day of semi-finals and finals at the 2017 New Zealand Rowing Championships.
Perfect water conditions made for some fast and furious racing as crews went head to head in their final chance to make it into an A final or secure a medal.
The first of the red coats, awarded to winners of premier class events, were handed out with Auckland RPC's Isaac Grainger, Stephen Jones, Lewis Hollows and Giacomo Thomas claiming the men's premier quadruple sculls title and their first red coats. The crew, who all started out their rowing careers as scullers, crossed the line just over two seconds ahead of Central RPC in silver and Southern RPC in bronze.
The women's premier coxed quad title was claimed by Waikato RPC’s Brooke Donaghue, Hannah Osborne, Georgia Perry and Morgan Dunham who finished eight seconds clear of the second Waikato RPC crew of Samantha Voss, Luka Ellery, Georgia Allen and Courtney Rennie. The win also awarded Morgan Dunham her first red coat.
The morning's men's club pair set the tone of the day with less than a second separating second and fifth place in the first semi-final. Waikato's Cameron Smith and James Ingham charged ahead for the win in 7:18.99, while the rest of the field was bowball to bowball in the final stretch of the race and crews needing to get in the top four to progress.
Scott and Todd Bezzett of North End took second in 7.21.99 and Latham Jones and Chris Johnson of Wakatipu third with 7.21:48. Hugo Verdonk, son of Olympic medallist Eric Verdonk, and crew mate Chris Everitt of North Shore claimed the final spot in the final with fourth place in 7:21.77, less than a bowball ahead of Jack Bell and Hamish Maxwell of Avon RC in 7:21.79.
Junior men's double sculls world champion Jack Lopas (Central RPC/Canterbury RC) showed his class in the men's under-20 single sculls with an outstanding row to take the gold medal in a time of 7:19.04. Oliver Maclean (Auckland RPC/North Shore RC) crossed the line five seconds behind to claim silver, while Ben Kirsop (Waikato RPC/Cambridge Rowing Club) snatched bronze.
In the battle of the big boats Petone secured gold in the women's club eight, flying down the course in a time of 6:59.93. With 250 metres the remaining medals were anyone's guess but the charge for silver saw Otago University Rowing Club nudge out North Shore Rowing Club by just one second, while West End Rowing Club had to settle for fourth.
Avon RC claimed the men's club coxed eight gold, with Hawkes Bay RC and Wakatipu RC taking silver and bronze respectively.
Racing continues tomorrow and Saturday with further finals.
Entries, schedule and live results can be found at www.rowit.co.nz. Photos for editorial use available on request.