Lucerne, Switzerland’s Rotsee regatta course is loved by rowers. Known as the lake of the Gods, the predominantly consistent flat water makes it a favourite regatta of the season. Today the finals of the third and final Rowing World Cup got under way in mild summer temperatures with very little wind and completely flat water. Today New Zealand showed that the gold medals at Munich were not by accident. Today single sculler Knapkova moved out of the eternal bridesmaid position.

, Switzerland: New Zealand (c, gold) with Emma-Jane Feathery (l) and Rebecca Scown win in front of Germany (l) and Great Britain." border="0" src="/medias/images/media_358767.jpg" title=" © Detlev Seyb" width="250">Women’s Pair (W2-)

When New Zealand arrived at the Munich Rowing World Cup last month, no one could have predicted their haul of gold medals – not even the rowers themselves. One of the golds went to Emma Feathery and Rebecca Scown. Both Feathery and Scown were part of their country’s eight that spent two years trying to qualify for the Beijing Olympics. They did not succeed. Undeterred, Feathery and Scown came back and took over the only two sweep spots available on the New Zealand national team. Today the duo continued on their winning ways by leading this race from start to finish.

Rating a heady 36 through the body of the race, Feathery and Scown held off Louisa Reeve and Olivia Whitlam of Great Britain and then, in the final 500m, the New Zealanders had to deal with two flying Germans. Kerstin Hartmann and Marlene Sinnig of Germany are in their first season together as their country’s top pair and they finished third behind the Kiwis at the Munich Rowing World Cup. Today Hartmann and Sinnig look to be closing the gap on New Zealand.

A powerful final sprint by Hartmann and Sinnig brought them close to Feathery and Scown, but the New Zealanders had just enough control from the front and a 40 stroke rate sprint to stay in the lead.

Results: NZL, GER, GBR, USA2, USA1, CHN1

Emma-Jane Feathery, Rebecca Scown (NZL) – Gold
“It was definitely a good race. We feel we’ve moved on since the last regatta. It’s good to race with new crews so we can see where we’re at. Until Poznan we’re going to a training camp in Aegeri, 40 minutes away from here.” Emma-Jane Feathery

Kerstin Hartmann, Marlene Sinnig (GER) – Silver
“This is incredible. We wanted to race well. The plan was to be in the field for the first 1,000m and then give it all on the second half and it worked out. I hope this will be enough to be able to stay in the pair. We now proved that we can do it.” Marlene Sinnig

Olivia Whitlam, Louisa Reeve (GBR) – Bronze
“I feel we underperformed at the first World Cup and now we’ve stepped up and definitely raced better than the last World CUp. We feel we are racing better and better” Olivia Whitlam

, Switzerland: New Zealand (c) wins in front of Great Britain (l) and the USA." border="0" src="/medias/images/media_358766.jpg" title=" © Detlev Seyb" width="250">Men’s Pair (M2-)

The outcome was clear. Will Great Britain’s head coach Juergen Grobler put his best two sweep rowers back into the four? Grobler has been known to do this before. Gold medals are the only colour Grobler wants to see. Today, Great Britain’s Andrew Triggs Hodge and Peter Reed finished second in their third race of the season against New Zealand. This is how it happened.

New Zealand’s Eric Murray and Hamish Bond jumped at the start and already had half a boat length lead over Great Britain by the first 500m point. Both of these crews settled into a 36 stroke rate for the body of the race with New Zealand showing more power, Murray demonstrating controlled aggression from the catch right through to the finish. Murray and Bond were the World Champions in the four two years ago, but at the Beijing Olympics were disappointed to only make the B Final.

This year, Murray and Bond, back in New Zealand, recorded encouraging times during time trials and knew when they arrived in Europe back in June that they had something special. By the finish Murray and Bond must have totally shattered the British confidence. An open-water lead is nothing to be taken lightly.

Meanwhile, behind the GBR – NZL fight, the United States had worked their way through from the back of the field to get into that final medal spot. David Banks and Charles Cole finished seventh at the first Rowing World Cup. This is their first season together with Banks already an Olympian (men’s four) and Cole coming through the ranks of the under-23 team. This result is very impressive considering the competition that the Americans faced.

Results: NZL, GBR, USA, GRE1, CZE, RSA

Eric Murray, Hamish Bond (NZL) – Gold
“It was a very good race. We came out in front already from the first strokes and it was good to do that. There are no big tricks, we just make sure we make no mistakes. There was a bit of a headwind, just enough to slow you down a bit and the usual Lucerne waves, but it went well.” Hamish Bond

Peter Reed, Andrew Triggs Hodge (GBR) – Silver
“We knew the race would be tough against the Kiwis. We came here to enjoy the regatta, but we never give up on our ambitions, so we will continue training in the next few weeks and hope we can change things around.” Peter Reed

David Banks, Charles Cole (USA) – Bronze
“This was a lot better than the first Rowing World Cup. Since then we worked on our speed and it seems to work out. Not sure if we are satisfied, but I guess we are pleased. We’ll continue to work on our speed and would like to stay in the pair, but this will be on our coaches to decide. “Charles Cole

, Switzerland." border="0" src="/medias/images/media_358759.jpg" title=" © FISA" width="250">Women’s Double Sculls (W2x)

The United States double of Megan Kalmoe and Ellen Tomek both raced in the single at last weekend’s Henley Royal Regatta. Although neither of them made it through to the final two boats, it must have set them up very well for today’s Final. Tomek and Kalmoe shot out at the start ahead of second Rowing World Cup winners, Poland (Magdalena Fularczyk and Julia Michalska) and by the half-way point the Americans had three-quarters of a boat length lead.

Kalmoe and Tomek are no newbees to the world of international rowing. Last year they raced in the Olympic Final finishing fifth. Also in the Olympic Final in 2008 and eventual medallists, were Germany’s Annekatrin Thiele and Christiane Huth. Thiele and Huth had moved into second through the middle of the race, but the Poles were fighting back.

Meanwhile, Tomek and Kalmoe had worked their way to an open-water lead, setting themselves up for an easy last 500m. With Poland and Germany still neck and neck, Bulgaria joined in the race for the finish. Bulgaria’s Rumyana Neykova and Miglena Markova are known for their devastating final sprint – they have done it before on this very course in 2005. This three-way sprint put the US under threat. At the line four crews had finished with less than a two second gap. Germany were the unlucky ones.


Megan Kalmoe, Ellen Tomek (USA) - Gold
“It was a good race, we had to go out hard already in the first strokes in order to keep up with these other great crews. It will be up to the coaches whether we stay together for Poznan.” Ellen Tomek

Magdalena Fularczyk, Julia Michalska (POL) – Silver
“It was a very, very hard race, mainly because I have had problems this whole week-end with a sore throat. It was very hard, but it is a big pleasure for us to row with the girls who have been at the Olympics and to be actually on the podium with them.”  Julia Michalska

Rumyana Neykova, Miglena Markova (BUL) – Bronze
“It was a good race. Good water, no wind – conditions I like.” Rumyana Neykova

, Switzerland." border="0" src="/medias/images/media_358761.jpg" title=" © FISA" width="250">Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x)

In yesterday’s semi-final, Canada and New Zealand fought each other for the entire 2,000m, New Zealand finishing just in front. Today these two crews met again in the Final. With the Dutch dropping off the pace early in the piece, five crews got off the line together, New Zealand and Canada edging out in front.

Canada (Douglas Vandor and Cameron Sylvester) and New Zealand (Storm Uru and Peter Taylor) were both at the Beijing Olympics. Both had a disappointing time. New Zealand only got to the B Finals and Canada suffered from illness. Today both crews were on form and through the middle of the race they remained neck and neck, New Zealand with a very small edge.

Vandor and Sylvester remained at the side of New Zealand with only 500m left to row. Could the Canadians beat last month’s Rowing World Cup winners? New Zealand then changed gear. Canada tried desperately to hold on. Underrating the Canadians by two pips, New Zealand moved away and took their second World Cup win for the season. France, although closing on Vandor and Sylvester, had to settle for third.


Storm Uru, Peter Taylor (NZL) – Gold
“It was a hard race. We stuck to our race plan to move away on the second half, which worked well. But the Canadians and the French stuck with us a long way, so we needed extra gas at the end. It will be a hard race at the World Rowing Championships, but it’s still six weeks to go until then and we’ll train hard until then.” Storm Uru.

Douglas Vandor, Cameron Sylvester (CAN) – Silver
“It was a good race. And considering the two of us haven’t got a lot of racing experience together, I am sure we will still get better.” Douglas Vandor

Frederic Dufour, Jeremie Azou (FRA)  – Bronze
“It was a hard race, we didn’t start very fast so that made a difference in the end but we are staying together for Poznan as we feel very good together and have a good coordination so we hope that in the next few weeks we can gain those few seconds that we need to make the difference” Frederic Dufour

, Switzerland." border="0" src="/medias/images/media_358762.jpg" title=" © FISA" width="250">Women’s Single Sculls (W1x)

It can only be described as a devastating win. Mirka Knapkova, 28, of the Czech Republic crossed the line without having to sprint and with a five-second lead over her closest competition, Emma Twigg, 22, of New Zealand.

Knapkova began racing the single nine years ago, competing (out of the medals) at two Olympic Games. During this time Knapkova remained in the shadow of the top three scullers of the time (Karsten, Neykova and Rutschow-Stomporowski). This season, Knapkova has not had to meet these scullers and the race looks to be hers. At last month’s Rowing World Cup, Knapkova finished first ahead of Twigg and today it looks like her form has improved.

Behind Knapkova, Twigg and China’s Xiuyun Zhang, 33, went stroke for stroke. The last time Twigg and Zhang raced was in the Beijing Olympic Final. Nearly a year later, the order has changed. Twigg was able to hold off Zhang (although only just) to finish second. Zhang takes third. These three crews now have six weeks to work on their World Rowing Championship race.

Results: CZE, NZL, CHN, GBR, SWE1, BEL

Mirka Knapkova (CZE) – Gold
“I’m very very happy to finally win this regatta. It was my dream since I was a child because my father rowed here in a pair.”

Emma Twigg (NZL) – Silver
“The race went really well, I was behind from the beginning so I didn’t think I would win but I still gave a little push at the end. I’m happy with the result.”

Podium of the Women's Pair at the 2009 Rowing World Cup in Lucerne</img>
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