Mahe Drysdale suffers early-season shock

Several athletes hoping to represent Rowing New Zealand at the Rio Olympic Games kicked off their campaign for 2016 at the Cambridge Town Cup rowing regatta.

The regatta is renowned for producing tight racing, but the story of the event so far is Olympic champion Mahe Drysdale’s defeat at the hands of John Storey. The 28 year old, who raced in the men’s quadruple sculls at the 2015 World Rowing Championships, recorded a time of six minutes and 35 seconds down the 2000m course, finishing only a couple of seconds outside Drysdale’s own world best.

Storey, who has been on the international scene since 2010, raced well into tailwind conditions and finished 1.65 seconds ahead of world silver medallist Drysdale.

New Zealand’s number one sculler has already had a turbulent season, with rumours that his long time coach Dick Tonks would be leaving after falling out with Rowing New Zealand. Although Tonks will remain as Drysdale’s coach in the run up to the Olympics, this will undoubtedly have shaken the Kiwi’s confidence.

Meanwhile, Rebecca Scown and Genevieve Behrent set an unofficial world best time in the women’s pair.

Finishing ahead of world silver medallist’s Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast, Scown and Behrent recorded an impressive time of six minutes and 49 seconds. The girls, who made up the stern pair of New Zealand’s women’s eight in 2015, were ahead of British duo Heather Stanning and Helen Glover’ best by 1.55 seconds.

Tom Morgan

Previous editor of Row360, publisher of Junior Rowing News, freelance writer for the Daily Telegraph, the Huffington Post, Vital Football and others. Student at the University of Southampton.

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