New Zealand Rowing's High Performance manager Andrew Matheson says public and media expectations of the rowers were perhaps too high.
Five of the eight crews have qualified for Saturday's Olympic finals with lightweight double scullers Storm Uru and Peter Taylor racing their semi final tonight.
But the world champion men's four failed to qualify and Emma Twigg narrowly missed out in the single sculls.
Mahe Drysdale faded to third in his single sculls semi. Double scullers Nathan Cohen and Rob Waddell were also third, while the pair of Nathan Twaddle and George Bridgewater finished second.
Matheson says the team knew the semi finals would be tough as the heats were tough, it's an Olympics and the expectation that New Zealand will clean up in the rowing is one he's never had.