2 Oct 2017

Spa baths give NZ rowers world titles

9:54 am on 2 October 2017

Torrid training sessions in the heat including 40°C spa baths have helped New Zealand rowers to success at the world champs in Florida.

New Zealand has finished with sevens medals at the event, including three gold.

Both the men's and women's double sculls won gold medals this morning - John Storey and Chris Harris in the men's event and Brooke Donoghue and Olivia Loe in the women's

The women's eight also picked up a bronze medal today.

"I didn't know where I was in that last stretch, I just had my eyes closed.

"This is like a dream come true. It's an insane boat class, every crew has stepped up into this field. Throughout the race there was no settling into a rhythm, we just stuck to our game plan and went for it at the end," Storey said.

Over the 2000m race Storey said he and Harris liked to put the pressure on the rest of the field during middle 1000m, by increasing the pace.

"We tried to get away but the crews behind us just wouldn't let us go and then in the last 500m just did a couple of big pushes, closed my eyes and just kept going and managed to cross the line in front."

Storey said several crews struggled in the heat and humidity of Sarasota.

The men's double scull of Chris Harris and John Storey were among New Zealand's gold medal winners in Florida.

The men's double scull of Chris Harris and John Storey were among New Zealand's gold medal winners in Florida. Photo: Photosport

"It's always a shock coming over to 30° pretty much 90 precent humidity and definitely a struggle. (We) saw lots of crews go out there and blow because they can't handle the heat."

Storey said their training included plenty of preparation for the conditions.

"We trained with as many clothes on as possible. We did ergs (rowing machine training) in the heat. Cranking the air conditioning up .... and spa baths - it sounds nice but it's 30 minutes at 40° which it quite unpleasant after that amount of time and you're struggling to stay in there."

Loe said she was also extremely proud of her and Donoghue's achievement.

"We're really excited, really proud of ourselves. We wanted to get out ahead and made sure that no one could pass us in the last 750m. It's a great start for our career and for the Olympic cycle."

World champions Olivia Loe and Brooke Donoghue.

World champions Olivia Loe and Brooke Donoghue. Photo: Photosport

Men's single sculler Robbie Manson finished a disappointing fifth in his final having set a world best time earlier this year.

However he has been troubled by injury in recent months.

New Zealand finished second on the medal table overall with seven medals in total - three gold, two silver and two bronze.

Italy topped the medal count with nine - three gold, three silver, three bronze.