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Double Olympian aiming for four NZ rowing titles

Double Olympian aiming for four NZ rowing titles

Double Olympian David Schaper is aiming to pick up four national titles for the third time at the New Zealand rowing championships on Lake Ruataniwha, Twizel, this weekend.

Schaper is on the comeback trail after two years off following the Sydney Olympic Games. He will decide after the nationals if he wants to commit himself to competing in his third Olympics at Athens next year. He is in the Avon eight, both fours and pairs and is on target to make the national squad to prepare for the world championships in Italy on August 24 to 31.

Schaper was fifth in the Atlanta Olympics pair oar final (with Toni Dunlop) at Lake Lanier in 1996 and he rowed in the coxless four in Sydney.

``I won four titles in 1997 and 1999. I am enjoying the racing again so hopefully I can make it third time lucky,’’ he said today.

``I will make a decision after the nationals to see if I am available for the NZ trials. I’ll chat to my wife about it but if I go into the trials I’ll aim for the world champs in Milan and also the Athens Olympics.’’

Meanwhile, one of New Zealand’s most promising prospects, Mahe Drysdale (West End) is attempting to win his first champion single sculls title.

Drysdale was a member of the New Zealand men's development four that won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth championships last year.

``Mahe is a big tall guy and an exciting talent,’’ New Zealand Rowing chief executive Mike Stanley said today.

``He was fourth in last year’s singles and is coached by former sculler John White.

A showdown is looming between West End and Wairau for the women's eight. Their anticipated final will be one of the feature events on Saturday. Sisters Carol and Georgina Evers-Swindell, Kate Robinson and Jackie Abraham are favoured to pick up a string of titles including the women's quad, pair, singles, coxless four and coxless pair.

Avon are likely lift the men’s eight, coxed four and coxless four titles but they could be pushed by Wairau who are expected to retain their men's coxless pair title in Sean O’Neill and 2002 NZ rower of the year Rob Hellstrom.

Hellstrom and O’Neill are entered in the single sculls, double and quadruple sculls and coxless four.

Titleholders Waikato will start favourites in the men's double and quadruple sculls.

The New Zealand selectors will name their national squad on Sunday to prepare for the world championships in Milan.

The priority boats are the women’s double sculls and on merit – the quadruple sculls, women’s pair and women’s eight.

The men’s boat singled as likely for the worlds are the men’s coxless four and the pair oar.

A total of 585 crews will contest the 58 event programme with finals on Friday and Saturday.

© Scoop Media

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