The New Zealand Olympic Committee announced a rowing team today that is set to create New Zealand rowing history. A total of 39 athletes have been named in a squad made up of eleven pre-qualified boats and two boats (a mens eight and mens lightweight four) that will attempt to qualify at the Last Chance regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland which begins on May 20th. It is the largest Olympic rowing squad in New Zealand sporting history. The confirmed Olympic team numbers 26 and is already the biggest in rowing history. Heading the team is five times world champion in the single scull, Mah Drysdale. It will be Drysdales third Olympic regatta and he will be aiming to top the bronze medal he secured in Beijing despite being ill during the week of the regatta. The three-time mens pair world champions Hamish Bond and Eric Murray are also confirmed, as are two-time world champions in the womens pairs Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown and two-time world mens double sculls champions Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan. 2009 world champions Storm Uru and Peter Taylor will compete in the mens lightweight double scull, taking the total number of current and former elite level world champions in the New Zealand Olympic rowing team to nine. Emma Twigg world silver medallist in 2010 and bronze medallist in 2011 is selected for the womens single scull, while Fi Paterson and Anna Reymer, bronze medallists in 2011, will remain in the promising womens heavyweight double scull, the boat in which New Zealand secured its Olympic Gold in Beijing four years ago with the Evers-Swindell twins. There is a change in the womens lightweight double scull from the 2011 crew which qualified for London. Julia Edward replaces Lucy Strack and will partner Louise Ayling. The womens quad remains in the bronze medal winning combination of 2011 with Eve Macfarlane, Fiona Bourke, Louise Trappitt and Sarah Gray. There are new line ups for the two other qualified boats the mens four and the mens quad. The new-look mens four will be coached by Dave Thompson and will be made up of Sean ONeill, Chris Harris, Jade Uru and Tyson Williams. The mens quadruple scull will be crewed by Robbie Manson, Matthew Trott, John Storey and new recruit Michael Arms. Mike Rodger will continue to coach this boat. In the two boats named to try and qualify at Lucerne in May, the lightweight four will be crewed by three time world lightweight sculling champion Duncan Grant, double Under 23 world champion Graham Oberlin-Brown, world silver medallist James Lassche and Curtis Rapley. David Thompson will coach this boat. This crew will need to finish in the top two in Lucerne. Waikato coach Ian Wright will take charge of the mens eight which will also try and qualify at Lucerne. The crew will be Richard Harrison, Hamish Burson, Tobias Wehr-Candler, Adam Tripp, Ian Seymour, Ben Hammond, Fergus Fauvel, David Eade and cox Ivan Pavich. The eight must win the qualifying regatta to progress to London 2012. Legendary coach Richard Tonks will remain in charge of Drysdale, Twigg, Bond and Murray and the womens quad, with John Robinson taking charge of the lightweight womens double scull in addition to Haigh and Scown. Calvin Ferguson stays with the mens lightweight and heavyweight double sculling crews, and Gary Hay remains with the womens heavyweight double scull. Secretary General and selector, Kereyn Smith, said todays announcement was significant. The team named today contains no fewer than nine world champions and multiple medal winning elite, U23 and junior world championship rowers, she said. Rowing is already a very successful Olympic sport for New Zealand and the outstanding team named for London will cement rowings place in Olympic history. Rowing has won 16 Olympic medals since Darcy Hadfield took bronze at the Antwerp Olympic Games in 1920 and sits equal with Sailing as New Zealands second-most medalled sport behind Athletics (20 medals). OLYMPIC ROWING TEAM FOR BOATS ALREADY QUALIFIED FOR LONDON 2012 Mens Single Scull Mah Drysdale Coach Richard Tonks Womens Single Scull Emma Twigg Coach Richard Tonks Mens Pair Eric Murray and Hamish Bond Coach Richard Tonks Womens Quadruple Scull Eve Macfarlane, Fiona Bourke, Louise Trappitt and Sarah Gray Coach Richard Tonks Womens Pair Juliette Haigh and Rebecca Scown Coach John Robinson Womens Lightweight Double Scull Julia Edward and Louise Ayling Coach John Robinson Mens Double Scull Nathan Cohen and Joseph Sullivan Coach Calvin Ferguson Mens Lightweight Double Scull Peter Taylor and Storm Uru Coach Calvin Ferguson Womens Double Scull Fi Paterson and Anna Reymer Coach Gary Hay Mens Quadruple Scull Robbie Manson, Matthew Trott, Michael Arms and John Storey Coach Mike Rodger Mens Four Sean ONeill, Chris Harris, Jade Uru and Tyson Williams Coach Dave Thompson NEW ZEALAND ROWING TEAM FOR BOATS TO RACE AT LAST CHANCE QUALIFYING REGATTA FOR LONDON 2012 Mens Lightweight Four Curtis Rapley, James Lassche, Graham Oberlin-Brown, Duncan Grant Coach Dave Thompson Mens Eight Richard Harrison, Hamish Burson, Tobias Wehr-Candler, Adam Tripp, Ian Seymour, Ben Hammond, Fergus Fauvel, David Eade and cox Ivan Pavich. Coach Ian Wright
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