A dead heat is not often seen, but it happened in the semifinal between the Netherlands and New Zealand. They faced the winner of the other semifinal, Italy. The New Zealanders are the reigning under-23 World Champion and Jackie Kiddle remains in the boat, now teamed up with Lucy Jonas. Italy’s Federica Cesarini and Valentina Rodini shot out very quickly at the start – so fast in fact that they built up a full boat-length lead. China was the only crew within striking distance.

Cesarini and Rodini then pulled out to an open-water lead. China held on. But then Kiddle and Jonas began to move and they overtook Xiaoyu Yuan and Guoru Liang of China. The Dutch were also moving and they were making contact with the leading Italians. Amber Kraak and Anne Marie Schonk of the Netherlands then really began to move. The final sprint was coming into view and they were neck-and-neck with the Italians. New Zealand was following suit and with 300m left to row there was still time for the leading order to change. The crowd was on their feet. What a finish.

The Dutch were at 35, New Zealand was at 40. Kraak and Schonk had done it. The Dutch swimmers were already in the water heading for the double. New Zealand had taken silver and Italy hung on to bronze.

Results: NED, NZL, ITA, CHN, AUS, GER

Anne Marie Schonk (s), Gold, The Netherlands
“Our race was perfect, it was exactly according to our plan. It was such an awesome race! We also had an incredible example to follow!”

Lucy Jonas (b), Silver, New Zealand
“I’m new to the boat,but know the huge legacy of lightweight women’s sculling in New Zealand.  We have so much respect for New Zealand Rowing and the other competitors. We were just beaten by a faster crew. Zoe McBride was so supportive and with us the whole way.”

Federica Cesarini (b), Bronze, Italy
“I am very happy with this result because it is my first medal at this level. And we didn’t train together because Valentina was in Rio where she won the C final in this event.”