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Champion rowing squad named to NZ Olympic team

A raft of world champions and experienced athletes will take to the water in Tokyo as part of New Zealand's 32-strong Olympic rowing team named today.

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The pair were among a 32-strong New Zealand rowing squad named for Tokyo. Source: 1 NEWS

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.

New Zealand's women's eight rowing team compete at the 2019 World Championships. Source: Photosport

“Representing New Zealand in my chosen sport is something I am incredibly proud to have achieved, especially alongside my long-time rowing partner Kerri,” Prendergast said.

“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.’’

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 two years. We always want the best for each other, and I am excited to put on the silver fern and race with my team,” Donoghue said.

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Women's pair Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast are hoping to also win gold with the eight. Source: 1 NEWS

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 close to a medal in both London and Rio.

Jordan Parry will make his Olympic debut as New Zealand’s men’s single sculler, having beaten Mahe Drysdale to the spot.

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.

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Fellow Tauranga Boys alumni Jordan Parry will be New Zealand's male representative in single sculls at the Tokyo Olympics. Source: 1 NEWS

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, 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.

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The team won the men’s A final at the Olympic qualifying regatta in Switzerland. Source: Breakfast

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,” Hamilton said.

“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."

The naming of the rowing squad takes the total number of athletes selected to the New Zealand team to 117.

New Zealand Olympic rowing team:

Women's single scull - Emma Twigg

Women's double scull - Brooke Donoghue and Hannah Osbourne

Women's pair - Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler

Women's quad - Eve Macfarlane, Olivia Loe, Georgia Nugent-O'Leary, Ruby Tew

Women's eight - Grace Prendergast, Kerri Gowler, Jackie Gowler, Beth Ross, Phoebe Spoors, Kirstyn Goodger, Kelsey Bevan, Lucy Spoors, Emma Dyke, Ella Greenslade and coxswain Caleb Shepherd (final eight TBD prior to competition).

Men's single scull - Jordan Parry

Men's double scull - Chris Harris and Jack Lopas

Men's pair - Stephen Jones and Brook Robertson

Men's eight - Dan Williamson, Shaun Kirkham, Tom Mackintosh, Philip Wilson, Shaun Kirkham, Hamish Bond, Michael Brake, Tom Murray and coxswain Sam Bosworth