Tokyo Olympic Games: Rowing Athletes Named to New Zealand Team
Photo - Rowing NZ
Ten World Champion female athletes and World Champion coxswain Caleb Shepherd will be amongst the New Zealand rowing squad at the Tokyo Olympic Games, with 32 rowers making up the full Olympic rowing team.
Gary Hay, who led New Zealand’s 2019 world champion women’s eight and women’s pair to gold, will again lead both crews to Tokyo. Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast will represent New Zealand in the women’s pair event, and also make up part of New Zealand’s women’s eight squad along with Jackie Gowler, Beth Ross, Phoebe Spoors, Kirstyn Goodger, Kelsey Bevan, Lucy Spoors, Emma Dyke, Ella Greenslade and coxswain Caleb Shepherd. Ten athletes have been selected to the eight, with the final makeup of the boat to be named prior to competition.
Gowler and Prendergast’s first Olympic campaign was 2016 where they finished fourth in the women’s eight.
“Representing New Zealand in my chosen sport is something I am incredibly proud to have achieved, especially alongside my long-time rowing partner Kerri,” said Prendergast.
“The opportunity to again showcase New Zealand’s strength in rowing at an Olympic Games is very special to me, and to do so alongside such talented teammates is a dream come true.’’
"I hope that our team’s success come Tokyo will inspire another generation of female rowers, as I was inspired at a young age.’’
Brooke Donoghue will compete with Hannah Osborne in the highly competitive women’s double scull event. Donoghue and Osborne are coached by James Coote, who in 2019 led both the women’s double and lightweight women’s double crews to World Champion status.
Donoghue, who earlier this year won the national title in the women’s single scull event, also praised New Zealand’s talented women’s rowing squad.
“One of the biggest strengths of our team is the competitiveness which has been an asset, especially given we haven’t raced internationally for 2 years. We always want the best for each other, and I am excited to put on the silver fern and race with my team,” said Donoghue.
Olivia Loe, Eve Macfarlane, Ruby Tew and Georgia Nugent-O’Leary will make up New Zealand’s women’s quad. Macfarlane competed at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games in the women’s quad and double respectively. Loe, Macfarlane, Tew and Nugent-O’Leary are coached by Mike Rodger.
Emma Twigg, also coached by Rodger, will represent New Zealand in the women’s single scull for the fourth time at an Olympic Games, after coming extremely close to a medal in both London and Rio.
Jordan Parry will make his Olympic debut as New Zealand’s men’s single sculler. Parry first represented New Zealand as part of the U21 Trans-Tasman team in 2014 and has more recently been a part of New Zealand’s U23 and elite men’s quad. Parry is coached by Gary Roberts.
Chris Harris and Jack Lopas make up New Zealand’s double scull crew. Harris represented New Zealand in the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games in both the men’s four and men’s quad, while 2021 marks the first occasion Lopas will represent New Zealand at an elite level, after gaining silver in the men’s double at the 2019 World Rowing U23 Championships. Harris and Lopas are coached by Calvin Ferguson.
At 21 years old, Dan Williamson is the youngest member of the New Zealand Rowing Team competing in Tokyo. Williamson joins Matt MacDonald, Tom Mackintosh, Philip Wilson, Shaun Kirkham, Hamish Bond, Michael Brake, Tom Murray and coxswain Sam Bosworth in the men’s eight crew, who gained qualification at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in May 2021. Bond won gold in the men’s pair at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games alongside Eric Murray. Bond and Murray have also claimed World Best Times in two boat classes – the men’s pair and men’s coxed pair – and both these times still stand today. The New Zealand men’s eight is coached by Tony O’Connor.
Stephen Jones and Brook Robertson make up the men’s coxless pair event, also coached by Tony O’Connor.
Charlotte Spence, Davina Waddy and Ollie Maclean will travel as reserves for the New Zealand rowing team. Many of the athletes have also been granted permission to start in other boats in the event of any injuries.
Rowing NZ General Manager of Performance Judith Hamilton, says the team naming is a key milestone with just over a month until competition.
“After what was an incredibly tough postponement for all Kiwi athletes, we are incredibly proud to finalise our Olympic team. We are confident in the ability and potential of our athletes and look forward to competing on the world stage,” said Hamilton.
“It’s especially wonderful to see so many of our female rowers representing New Zealand at an Olympic Games and in many cases, entering the Games as World Champions."
NZOC CEO Kereyn Smith extended her congratulations to the athletes.
“New Zealand has an extremely proud history in rowing at the Olympic Games. It's one of our most successful sports with our rowers earning us a staggering 24 Olympic medals. We look forward to watching these fantastic athletes add to that legacy in Tokyo next month.”
The naming of the rowing squad takes the total number of athletes selected to the New Zealand team to 117.
Tokyo 2020 will be Emma’s 4th Olympic Games, having competed at Beijing, London and Rio – all in the single sculls.
Emma finished 4th at the last two Olympic Games but looked very fast in 2019, taking home silver at the World Championships.
Based in Cambridge and coached by Mike Rodger, Emma has a number of qualifications, including a Bachelor of Communication and a master’s degree in international sports management (FIFA). She is a cycle mechanic, a marriage celebrant, and has completed her boat master’s qualification.
Brooke began rowing in 2010 at Mercer Rowing Club and made her international debut at the junior level in 2013. She made her elite debut in 2016 in the women’s quadruple sculls and came painfully close to qualifying for the Rio Olympics, missing the cut by one spot.
Brooke comes to the Tokyo Olympics in red hot form, having gone through the 2019 international season undefeated and reclaimed her world double sculls title.
Brooke currently represents Waikato Rowing Club, is coached by James Coote and is based out of Cambridge. She has a business management degree from Massey University and is now working towards a Masters of Management specializing in sustainability.
Tokyo will be Hannah’s first Olympic Games where she will be competing in the women’s double with Brooke Donoghue coached by James Coote.
Hannah spent two years as the New Zealand single sculler before being a senior member of the 2019 quadruple sculls, which finished in 5th place at the World Championships after limited preparation.
Hannah began her rowing career at Te Awamutu Rowing Club before moving to Cambridge to start her high-performance journey. She has an Irish setter named Pippa, is studying environmental planning, and occasionally goes back to work on the family farm.
Grace burst onto the small-boat scene in 2014 when she and partner Kerri Gowler won the under-23 women’s pair, smashing the world record in headwind conditions. The pair was then added into the elite women’s four that also demolished the world record, winning gold at the World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam.
Since then, this combination has continued to produce success, winning gold at the 2017 and 2019 World Rowing Championships. In 2019 Grace raced in both the pair and the eight at the World Championships and won both events, the latter for the first time in New Zealand’s history.
Tokyo will be Grace’s second Olympics – she competed in the eight at Rio 2016, finishing in 4th place.
Originally from Christchurch, Grace is now based in Cambridge under coach Gary Hay. She has completed a Bachelor of Business Studies and a Master of Business Studies from Massey University.
Kerri was a part of the first-ever New Zealand women’s eight to compete at an Olympic Games in Rio 2016. Tokyo will be her second Games where she will compete in the women’s pair and will be going into the event as one to watch.
Kerri has been a history-maker since 2014 when she broke both the under-23 pair and the elite women’s four records in the same season. Kerri and Grace Predergast teamed up in the pair in 2019 and won gold. As if that weren’t enough, the two women were also in the first New Zealand women’s eight to win at the World Championships. Both crews are coached by Gary Hay.
Kerri is the proud owner of a sausage dog called Cooper and is from Raetihi. She is currently working towards a Bachelor of Science majoring in psychology
This will be Eve’s third Olympics having previously competed in the London 2012 Games in the quadruple sculls and Rio 2016 in the double sculls. For Tokyo Eve will once again represent NZ in the women’s quad, coached by Mike Rodger.
Originally from Parnassus, North Canterbury, Eve now lives in Cambridge but spends a lot of time out in Raglan where her partner builds tiny homes.
A proud environmentalist and wellbeing carer, Eve loves surfing, paragliding, yoga and creating art. She has completed several qualifications including a Diploma in Art and Creativity (Honours).
Olivia Loe narrowly missed selection to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, attending the event as a travelling reserve.
Olivia will be competing in the women’s quad after coming off an undefeated season in 2019 in the double.
Olivia is the daughter of former All Black Richard Loe and the younger sister of former international rower Jessica Loe. Originally from Oxford, North Canterbury, she is now based in Cambridge under coach Mike Rodger. She is working towards a business degree at Massey University.
Tokyo 2020 will be Georgia’s first Olympic campaign competing in the women’s quad, coached by Mike Rodger
Included in the New Zealand summer squad for the 2016/17 domestic season, a bike crash caused Georgia to have a lengthy period on the bank, but she has returned in time for the Tokyo Games.
Originally from Marton, Georgia moved to Cambridge in 2019 to pursue her rowing career.
Georgia is studying towards a Bachelor of Science majoring in food science.
The Tokyo Games will be Ruby’s second, having finished 4th in Rio 2016 in what was the first New Zealand women’s eight to compete at an Olympic Games. In 2019 Ruby was part of the women’s quadruple sculls which finished in 5th place at the 2019 World Championships and qualified the boat for the Olympic Games.
Ruby is from Wellington but is based out of Cambridge, coached by coach Mike Rodger. She is very much a people person and enjoys spending time with friends, family and her dog, Maude. Ruby has completed a degree in finance and accounting at Massey University and works part time with accounting firm Forsyth Barr in Hamilton.
Women’s sweep squad
Tokyo will be Ella’s Olympic debut, competing in the women’s eight under Gary Hay.
Ella is the youngest member of the women’s rowing team for Tokyo 2020 and is already a world champion after being part of the women’s eight that won gold at the 2019 World Championships. Ella first represented New Zealand at the 2015 World Rowing Junior Championships, an event which acted as a test regatta for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Ella and her women’s coxless four crew picked up a silver medal at the event.
Originally from Waikari, North Canterbury, Ella has studied art history at Otago University before relocating to Cambridge in 2016. She is currently completing a Diploma of Interior Design.
Tokyo will be Emma’s second Olympic Games following Rio 2016 where she was a part of the 4th place-finishing women’s eight. She is entering the Olympic year in great form after winning the women’s eight at the World Rowing Championships with her crew in 2019, the first time a New Zealand women’s eight has ever done so.
Emma is originally from Mayfield, South Canterbury. Outside of the boat she is very social and is often seen out and about with friends. She has a Certificate in Small Business and plans to join the New Zealand Police Force at the conclusion of her rowing career.
Kelsey will be attending her second Olympics in Tokyo after being a member of the first New Zealand women’s Olympic eight at Rio 2016.
Kelsey will be coming to the Games in great form having just won the World Championships in 2019 in the New Zealand women’s eight.
She is originally from Auckland and is now located in Cambridge with her pug Marnie. Kelsey is a qualified beautician off the water and is also studying interior design.
Tokyo is Kirstyn’s first Olympic Games. Kirstyn makes up part of the women’s sweep squad coached by Gary Hay
In 2019 Kirstyn was in the women’s quadruple sculls which finished in 5th place at the World Championships.
Kirstyn has an Oceanography degree from the University of Washington and enjoys kiteboarding, surfing and diving.
Beth started rowing at Petone Rowing Club in Wellington. Tokyo will be her first Olympic Games where she will be competing as part of the women’s sweep squad under coach Gary Hay.
She had an outstanding year in the women’s eight in 2019, capped off with a gold medal at the World Championships.
Beth is studying through the NZ Institute of Makeup Artistry and enjoys socialising with her flatmates and friends.
Phoebe will make her Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 as part of the women’s sweep squad coached by Gary Hay.
Phoebe will be up for the change of scene this year after being a part of the women’s four in the past two international seasons. The four finished 11th at the 2019 World Championships.
Phoebe is from a family of rowers: her twin sister Grace and older sister Lucy both rowed for New Zealand. Originally from Christchurch, Phoebe studied at Washington University in Seattle before returning to Cambridge to pursue a rowing career.
Phoebe enjoys going out with her friends and getting in the sun.
Tokyo will be Lucy’s Olympic debut where she will be competing in the women’s sweep squad coached by Gary Hay.
Lucy switched from sculls to sweep for this Olympic cycle and proved it was a good idea in 2019 when she and her crew became the first women’s eight in New Zealand’s history to win a world championship title. She will definitely be one to watch in Tokyo.
Lucy is originally from Christchurch but moved to Cambridge to row in 2009. She has a degree in linguistics through Massey University.
Jackie will make her Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020 in the women’s sweep squad.
The younger sister of NZ rower Kerri, Jackie was in the stroke seat of the history-making New Zealand women’s eight. A world champion title in her 3rd year as an elite is an impressive feat, showing there may be more to come for this talented young athlete.
Jackie is originally from Raetihi and is being coached by Gary Hay.
Beyond the sport, Jackie can be found out and about with her friends or back home on the farm. She is studying towards a bachelor’s degree in health, sport and human performance at the University of Waikato.
Caleb will be attending his second Olympic Games after previously coxing the men’s eight to 6th place at the Rio 2016 Games.
The biggest change in Caleb’s career came in 2019 when he swapped from the men’s to the women’s eight. The crew had immediate success, winning the world championship title and making history by becoming the first New Zealand crew to win the women’s eight. Caleb was the first male coxswain to win an elite women’s title.
A Waikato native, Caleb began his coxing career at Hamilton Boys’ High School and is coached by Gary Hay. He has completed his Bachelor of Arts with the University of Waikato and is currently working towards his Master of Arts is a marriage celebrant and writes for our rowing magazine Oarsport.
Jordan “Paz” Parry will make his Olympic debut in Tokyo 2020 in the men’s single scull under coach Gary Roberts.
He was a member of the 2019 men’s quadruple sculls, which narrowly missed out on automatic Olympic qualification at the 2019 World Championships however after a successful summer season in the single Jordan earned his place for selection in the men’s single during the elite men’s trials. A rising star, Parry is one to watch.
Hailing from Tauranga, he moved to Cambridge after his first year of university in Dunedin to pursue a career in the sport. Off the water Jordan is studying for a Bachelor of Arts and works as a part-time teacher aide at Cambridge Middle School.
Outside of rowing he is a talented fisherman, go-kart driver and sailor.
Chris will be attending his third Olympic Games after competing at London 2012 in the men’s four and Rio 2016 in the men’s double sculls.
Chris stayed in the double sculls after Rio, winning the World Championships title in 2017 and earned a bronze in 2018. In Tokyo Chris will be partnered with Jack Lopas in the men’s double who are coached by Calvin Ferguson.
Originally from Whanganui, Chris relocated to Cambridge in 2010 when he made his elite debut. He is coached by Calvin Ferguson.
Chris is a qualified engineer, and he and his partner welcomed a baby boy to the world in early 2019.
Tokyo will be Jack’s first Olympics where he will team up with the experienced Chris Harris in the men’s double.
After winning gold at the U23 World Championships in the men’s quad in 2017, Jack left New Zealand to attend Yale University where he is majoring in the History of Finance. After his 2019 victory at the IRA champs for Yale, Jack teamed up with former teammate Oliver Maclean and formed the first US-based Under 23 New Zealand crew. The duo raced the men’s U23 double scull where they finished in second place.
Due to COVID-19 Jack returned to New Zealand in 2020 to continue his training. Selected into the newly formed elite development program. He is coached by Calvin Ferguson.
Jack grew up in a small town called Little River outside of Christchurch and he has one older sister and three younger brothers.
Tokyo will be Stephen’s second Olympic Games after he stroked the 2016 Rio Olympic men’s eight. The Tokyo Olympics will see Stephen team up with Brook Robertson in the men’s pair.
Stephen is originally from Auckland but moved to Cambridge, to pursue his rowing career, where he now lives with his wife Anna and son Oliver. He is working towards his private pilot’s licence.
Tokyo will be Brook’s second Olympic Games following his appearance in the men’s eight at Rio 2016, where his crew came 6th. For Tokyo Brook will team up with Stephen Jones in the men’s pair.
Brooks first NZ team was with the men’s U23 8+ in 2013 which won gold in 2013 and 2014. Brook progressed into the Elite team in 2015 and has been in the programme ever since.
Brook hails from Nelson but relocated to Cambridge in 2013. He is coached by Tony O’Connor. He has secured a building apprenticeship post Tokyo.
Tokyo 2020 will be Shaun’s second Olympics after previously competing at Rio 2016, where he finished in 6th place in the men’s eight. He has spent the last seven years racing in the men’s eight and was a member of the under-23 world championship eight of 2013 & 2014. In 2019, Shaun and the men’s eight finished 6th at the World Championships, missing out on automatic Olympic qualification by one position.
Shaun rows for Waikato Rowing Club and is coached by Tony O’Connor. He and his crew train at Lake Karapiro. He is completing a Bachelor of Communications at the University of Waikato and has a dog, Xena.
Tom has been on the elite rowing scene since his debut in 2018 in the men’s coxless four, and this will be his first Olympic Games. Tom will be part of the men’s eight, a crew coached by Tony O’Connor. Having returned from the final Olympic Qualification Regatta with gold the crew will be entering the Olympics with confidence.
Hailing from Hawke’s Bay, Tom relocated to Cambridge for his rowing. He originally left home to go to the University of Canterbury where he gained a Bachelor of Commerce. He is currently completing a Masters in Business, specializing in Finance.
The Tokyo Games will be Michael’s second Olympics: he competed in the men’s eight that finished 6th in Rio 2016. Michael will be approaching the 2020 Games with confidence successfully qualifying the Men’s eight at the Final Olympic Qualification regatta in Lucerne. He is chasing an elite gold medal, having won gold in both junior and under-23 world competitions.
Michael comes from Auckland and is based in Cambridge where he trains under coach Tony O’Connor.
Michael is working towards a civil engineering degree with the University of Auckland. He also has a keen eye for property investment and enjoys wakeboarding and waterskiing.
Tokyo is Matt’s first Olympic Games. Matt first joined the men’s eight in 2019 and was stroke seat of the 2021 crew that finished first in the Final Olympic Qualification regatta in Lucerne.
With a fresh insight and an exponential improvement pattern to date, Matt will bring a lot to his crew at Tokyo.
Matt is from Auckland but has relocated to Cambridge to train with the elite team. He is studying towards a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation through Massey University, and in his downtime enjoys fishing and surfing.
Tom will again be competing in the men’s eight after first attending the Olympics in the men’s eight at Rio where the crew finished 6th.
Tom will be very excited for the Games after an excellent season in 2019, when he and his crewmate Michael Brake earned a silver medal at the World Championships in the pair and went on to qualify the men’s eight at the final Olympic Qualification regatta in Lucerne.
Originally from Blenheim, Tom relocated to Cambridge in 2013 to pursue his rowing. He is an avid Star Wars fan and has taken up archery in his spare time.
Tokyo will be Phil’s Olympic debut, having first made the elite rowing team in 2018 in the men’s eight.
Phil kept his seat in the eight for 2019 when he and his crew had an excellent season, only narrowly missing out on automatic Olympic qualification at the World Championships. Phil will be competing at Tokyo in the men’s eight, coached by Tony O’Connor.
Phil hails from Wellington where he began his rowing at Wellington College. He moved to Cambridge in 2018 after making the elite team. He is studying towards a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise through Massey University, and is an avid sports fan.
Sam will be competing in his first Olympics at Tokyo 2020 as coxswain of the men’s eight.
Sam made history in 2017 when he became the first male coxswain to podium at a World Championships in a women’s crew. In 2019 he switched to coxing the men’s eight, and the crew finished in 6th place at the World Championships.
Originally from Christchurch, Sam relocated to Cambridge to further his coxing career. He is coached by Tony O’Connor, who was also his high school coach.
Sam has completed a Bachelor of Environmental Management and Planning through Lincoln University and is now working towards a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture.
International rowing legend Hamish Bond will be attending his 4th Olympic Games in Tokyo. Having previously come 7th in the coxless four in Beijing 2008, Hamish won back-to-back Olympic golds in the men’s pair with partner Eric Murray at London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Returning to the sport in 2019 after a two-year period spent cycling, which included a Commonwealth Games bronze in the time trial, Hamish was put in the men’s eight in what was a much-needed lift in the crew, which finished 6th at the 2019 World Championships. Hamish will be part of the men’s eight for Tokyo Olympics a crew coached by Tony O’Connor.
Originally from Dunedin, Hamish relocated to Cambridge to pursue his sporting dreams.
He and his wife Lizzie are proud parents of Imogen and Phoebe. Hamish has a Bachelor of Business Studies (Finance) and a Graduate Diploma in Personal Financial Planning.
Tokyo will be Dan’s first Olympics where he will compete in the men’s eight, coached by Tony O’Connor. Dan is the youngest member of the New Zealand elite programme but has plenty of experience. First selected in the Junior men’s four in 2017 and U23 four in 2018.
At the conclusion of his 2018 U23 campaign, Dan headed to the US to study at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut where he is studying astronomy and astrophysics.
Due to COVID-19 Dan returned to New Zealand in 2020. Dan was taken straight into the newly formed New Zealand elite development team, allowing him to train at Lake Karapiro with the New Zealand elite team.
Dan grew up in Beachlands, Auckland. Outside of rowing Dan enjoys fishing and being outdoors.