Published Monday 30 July 2012

New Zealand’s relentlessly impressive Olympic rowing campaign suffered a hitch today at Eton Dorney when the women’s quadruple sculls snapped an oar midway through their repechage and trailed in last.
The New Zealanders – Sarah Gray, Louise Trappitt, Fi Bourke and Eve Macfarlane – didn’t make the best of starts and were last after 500m. However, they were gradually turning things around and had clawed their way back into third, with the top four to progress to the final, when disaster struck just after the 1500m mark.
Trappitt, in the No 2 seat, “caught a crab”, as rowers put it. Her oar dug into the water and broke.
The distraught New Zealanders could do nothing but struggle in at the tail of the field. The race was won by Australia, from the United States, Great Britain and China.
The rest of today’s session went better for the New Zealanders.
The men’s quadruple sculls combination of John Storey, Michael Arms, Matthew Trott and Robert Manson cruised through their repechage and easily qualified for the semi-finals.
Needing only to finish in the top three in the four-boat race, the New Zealanders led all the way and won in 5min 43.82s, nearly a second ahead of Italy, with Switzerland third.
Fi Paterson and Anna Reymer had to work hard to progress directly to the final of the women’s double sculls.
With the first two from their heat advancing straight to the final, the New Zealanders were no match for Great Britain’s Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger, who won by more than five seconds.
However, Paterson and Reymer, after giving a little ground in the middle stages, finished strongly to hold off China by 1.2s for the crucial second place.
The other New Zealanders in action this morning were Tyson Williams, Jade Uru, Sean O’Neill and Chris Harris in the men’s four.
With three from their heat advancing directly to the semi-finals, the New Zealanders looked as if they might be alright at the 1500m mark.
They held third place at that point, well behind Australia, but close to Canada with the Germans some way adrift in fourth.
Things changed dramatically over the closing stages. The Germans powered home to grab second spot, the Canadians held on for third and the New Zealanders dropped to fourth.
They will now row in the repechage.