Emma Twigg headlines NZ Olympic rowing team

An 18-strong rowing team, including nine athletes who have won World Championship or Olympic medals, has been named to represent New Zealand at the Paris Olympic Games next month.

Tokyo Olympic champion Emma Twigg is the most experienced team member and will become the first ever New Zealand rower to compete in five Olympic Games.

The 37-year-old said it had been a huge journey since she competed as a 21-year-old in the women’s single sculls at the Beijing Games in 2008.

The women’s four of Kerri Williams, her sister Jackie Gowler, Davina Waddy and Phoebe Spoors also has vast Olympic and World Championship experience.

Williams is a double Olympic medalist, winning gold in the pair and silver in the eight at the Tokyo Olympics.

Gowler was also in the eight in Tokyo and won a World Championship in the boat in 2019. Phoebe Spoors and Waddy were travelling reserves in Tokyo and will get to compete in their first Olympic race in Paris.

“My first memory of the Olympics was watching the 2012 London Games on TV with my family,” Waddy said.

“I remember the sense of awe and inspiration I had towards all sports.

“At that stage I was competing to a high level in equestrian eventing and hadn’t ever rowed, so my Olympic dreams were probably focused there.”

There were strong family ties within the women’s squad as well as a significant link to Christchurch Girls High School. Waddy, Phoebe Spoors and her sister Lucy all began their rowing there.

Lucy Spoors

Lucy has been named in the double sculls with Brooke Francis. Both are former World Champions and Olympic medalists. Lucy Spoors was in eight in Tokyo, while Francis won silver in the women’s double. Both athletes took time out after Tokyo to start families and returned to international competition last year.

Jackie Kiddle and Shannon Cox have been named in the lightweight double sculls. Kiddle was a world champion in the event in 2019 but was unable to compete at what would have been her first Olympics in Tokyo after the late withdrawal of her partner Zoe McBride. She was also a world champion in coastal rowing, which has been included in the sport programme for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

Cox made her international debut just a year ago at the world championships in Serbia, where she and Kiddle finished fifth. Last month they won silver at the World Cup II regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Alana Sherman and Kate Haines have been confirmed in the Women’s Pair after qualifying the boat for Paris at the recent Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland last month. It will be the first Olympics for both athletes.

Matt Macdonald (stroke), Shaun Kirkham, Phillip Wilson, Dan Williamson, Michael Brake, Tom Murray, Hamish Bond, Tom Mackintosh (bow) and Sam Bosworth (coxswain) New Zealand Men's Eight, Gold medalists Tokyo Olympics.

The men’s squad includes Tokyo gold medalists Matt Macdonald and Tom Murray, who will row the four with Ollie Maclean and Logan Ullrich. Maclean was a reserve in Tokyo, while Ullrich was set to compete in his first Olympics. This time last year the two were competing against each other for their respective eights at the US Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships in New Jersey.

Maclean is a graduate from Cal Berkeley, Ullrich graduated from University of Washington. To be selected to row in Paris was important to Ullrich in two distinct ways.

“Firstly, it means I have completed a goal I set myself many years ago and achieving that goal is very fulfilling,” Ullrich said.

“The second is the sense of pride I have in representing the fern at the Olympics. I am a proud Kiwi and the honour of rowing for my country is truly life-changing.”

Tom Mackintosh will compete in the single sculls, hoping to join the list of New Zealand athletes to have excelled in the event. He won a bronze medal at the World Championships last year, in his first season competing in the boat, and was in the eight which won gold in Tokyo.

“While Tokyo was a ‘one of a kind Games’ I’m incredibly excited to be able to share this experience with our family, friends and supporters,” Mackintosh said.

“I’m going well, but it’s different not being able to lean on other crew mates as much as last time. I’m embracing this season as uncharted territory and that really motivates me.”

Robbie Manson wins the men's single at the 2020 National Rowing Championships, Lake Karapiro.

Two top-class single scullers have been named in the men’s double sculls. Robbie Manson will compete in his third Olympics, and still holds the world’s best time in the single sculls. He set the mark (6min 30.74sec) at a World Cup event in 2017. He’s joined by Jordan Parry who was fourth in the event at the world championships in 2022.

New Zealand has also qualified a boat for the men’s pair at Paris, with the crew to be selected following the World Cup III event in Poland this month.

The rowing competition at Paris 2024 will be contested from July 27th to August 3rd.

New Zealand rowing crews

Women’s Single Scull (W1x) – Emma Twigg

Women’s Double Scull (W2x) – Lucy Spoors, Brooke Francis

Women’s Lightweight Double Scull (LW2x) – Jackie Kiddle, Shannon Cox

Women’s Coxless Pair (W2-) -Alana Sherman, Kate Haines

Women’s Coxless Four (W4-) – Kerri Williams, Davina Waddy, Phoebe Spoors, Jackie Gowler

Men’s Single Scull (M1x) – Tom Mackintosh

Men’s Double Scull (M2x) – Robbie Manson, Jordan Parry

Men’s Coxless Four (M4-) – Matt Macdonald, Tom Murray, Logan Ullrich, Oliver Maclean

Stella Clayton-Greene, Ella Cossill, Bella Carter and Kathryn Glen have been named as reserves to the team.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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