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NZ rowing team arrives in Sydney for regatta

Tuesday 19 Mar 2013 5:35 p.m.

The New Zealand rowing team has arrived in Sydney ahead of the year's first World Cup Regatta this weekend.

The 41-strong team is made up of a lot of new combinations, with an eye to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Julia Edward and Lucy Strack haven't rowed together since the World Championships at Lake Karapiro three years ago. Reunited again in the women's lightweight double scull, they know it's their job to guide a young and inexperienced team.

"A little bit of pressure I guess – all the big names haven't come over, like Emma Twigg and the men's pair, so we've got to step up and try to bring home some medals as well," says Edward.

Olympic medallist Nathan Cohen, who won gold in the double sculls at London, will this time race in the men's quad, alongside his brother, Hayden. The women's quad is also trying out a new combination. 

"In the first World Cup, you're always a little bit nervous about where you stand, especially having it a few months earlier than normal, but it's nice to come over and test out the new combination," says double sculler Fiona Bourke.

New Zealand will also be competing in the women's eight, the men's under-23 eight and the lightweight men's four. New Zealand didn't compete in those events in London. It's all part of Rowing New Zealand's campaigning to have teams in all 14 events at the Rio Olympics, and the Sydney World Cup is the first step in getting there.

"Just with the first year out of the Olympics we've got a few new combinations, and it's just trying to see what we can get out of those combinations and see how they go," says Genevieve Armstrong, of women's quad.

This is the first time the World Cup Regatta has been held in the Southern Hemisphere – a welcome change for the New Zealand team who have been able to get straight into training without the stress of long-haul travel.

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