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Photo finishes on last day of rowing

20 January 2013

ROWING: The final day of rowing and the Australian Youth Olympic Festival provided plenty of excitement for the crowd.

The Victorian women’s eight squad were given a fright when they discovered a possum nesting in the bottom of their boat, and two photo finishes made for some tightly contested races.

Joan Coates, AOC President and IOC member said; “Not only the level of competition but the spirit of competition was fantastic. It will give a lot of inspiration for our younger rowers, and we hope to see many of them at the next Youth Olympic Games and future Olympics.”

Women’s Quadruple Scull:

Eighteen-year-old AIS scholarship holder Holly Lawrence of New South Wales was ecstatic about her crew’s winning time of 6:54.76.

“We were hoping for the top three, so that was the main aim,” a beaming Lawrence said. “We just got a great start and held it the whole way. I think if we had a bad start we wouldn’t have been able to do it!”

They crossed the line ahead of Great Britain in second place with a time of 6:55.99 and the South Australian crew which came in third (6:57.88).

Men’s Quadruple Scull:

Only half a boat length separated first from third, with South Australia just scraping into first place ahead of a disappointed Great Britain in the M4x.

“We didn’t really expect it, especially with GB having claimed gold and silver in the single sculls yesterday,” said Alex Hill who lit the cauldron at the opening ceremony. “It definitely went better than the few attempts it took to light the cauldron so that was sweet, it was good.”

South Australia posted a time of 6:12.11, Great Britain closely followed with a time of 6:12.84 and New Zealand came in third with a time of 6:13.58.

Women’s Coxless Four:

Winning the gold medal wouldn’t be the only thing the Great British team would be celebrating today, as team member Nicole Lamb turned 20 as she took to the podium.

“It’s the best birthday present anyone could ask for really,” she said. “We set out to win and we just did what we had to do!”

New Zealanders, Emma Weith, Kirstyn Hay, Holly Greenslade and Emma Dyke pulled together to grab second place with a time of 7:04.26, only 0:1.03 seconds in front of New South Wales who claimed the bronze.

Men’s Coxless Four:

After claiming both the gold and silver on Saturday in the Men’s Coxless Pair, New Zealanders Andrew Potter, Tom Jenkins, Louis van Velthooven and Jefferson Haldane came together to take out the M4- with a time of 6:22.15.

“We went out and tried to have a relentless pace and kept it up,” said Haldane.  “It’s the first time I’ve raced anyone outside of New Zealand, so having the international countries here is awesome.”

The South Australian team posted 6:24.94 coming in second, closely followed by Great Britain in third with a time of 6:25.74.

Women’s Eights:

New South Wales took the lead early and never let it go in a well fought battle for the gold medal.

“We separated so soon in the race and then just had to then keep it all together,” coxen Millicent Cheetham said. “We’ve come together really well over the past week or so, that was definitely our race.”

“Racing against Great Britain and New Zealand was terrifying actually, they are such strong national crews and to actually get in front of them is spectacular,” she said.

Victoria was safely over the line in second with a time of 6:40.25, while Great Britain, with a time of 6:41.71, just sneaked in before Western Australia after the deciding photo finish separated them by 0:0.27.

Men’s Eights:

There was no need for a photo finish in the A final as South Australia proved too fast, taking out the gold medal by over a boat length ahead of New Zealand in second with a time of 6:00.31, four seconds behind SA.

“I think it’s a very good performance, the GB team are big boys and we’re not necessarily a big crew,” said Nathan Bowden. “But I think we took them out, held our heads and kept focused internally on what we were doing.”

Great Britain came in third with a time of 6:01.25.

Home state’s stroke Peter Koster of the M8+ was disappointed at missing out on a place in the A final.

“We just never quite got into a rhythm, nothing felt together. It’s really disappointing for us especially after the great results we got in the smaller boats.”

They ended up placing second to Victoria in a photo finish of the B final.

Claudia Rhodes-White

Follow the AYOF on Twitter:   @AYOF2013   #AYOF2013   #RoadtoRio

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