14 Feb 2017

Olympians missing for National Rowing Champs

8:43 am on 14 February 2017

New Zealand's top young rowers will be eyeing the opportunity to secure national titles at the 2017 New Zealand Rowing Championships in Twizel this week.

More than 700 rowers from novice through to premier will compete in 72 events over the next five days.

Zoe McBride

Zoe McBride Photo: Photosport

With headline names such as Hamish Bond, Eric Murray, Mahe Drysdale and Emma Twigg all taking time off following the Rio 2016 Olympic Games the battle will be on for up and coming rowers to claim the limelight.

The largest number of entries are in the men's club single sculls event with 61 athletes entered, while the premier class features top rowers including Olympians, world champions and Olympic hopefuls.

Two-time world champion lightweight single sculler Zoe McBride (Central RPC/Nelson Rowing Club) will be hunting gold in both the premier lightweight women's single sculls and premier women's single sculls. In the lightweight event she will be lining up against under-23 lightweight double sculls world champion Jackie Kiddle and silver medallist Lucy Jonas while in the heavyweight event Lucy Spoors, Olivia Loe and young Ashurton rower Veronica Wall of famed Aon Maadi Cup success will ensure a tough race.

Olympian Robbie Manson (Central RPC/Wairau Rowing Club) and brother Karl Manson (Central RPC/Blenheim Rowing Club) will face off in the men's premier single sculls, with competition including fellow Olympians John Storey and Chris Harris.

The absence of the 'kiwi pair' Hamish Bond and Eric Murray won't dampen the racing in the men's premier coxless pair event with five crews chasing medals including lightweight rower James Lassche and George Howat of the Southern RPC, as well as Paddy McInnes and Anthony Allen of the Waikato RPC.

The women's club eight is also set to be a race to watch. With only 0.46 seconds separating the North Shore and West End crews at North Island Champs these Auckland clubs will be seeking to get one over their cross town neighbours. While in the south Island the Otago University crew will be out to upset the Aucklanders.

The regatta begins today with heats, followed by semi-finals and finals on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.