Rowing: New men's pair poised to emulate Hamish Bond and Eric Murray

Tom Murray (left), Michael Brake (right).
Tom Murray (left), Michael Brake (right). Photo credit: Photosport

They may not quite be the 'Perfect Pair' reincarnated just yet, but New Zealand's newest men's rowing duo are on a fast track to emulating Hamish Bond and Eric Murray.

Michael Brake and Tom Murray scooped an unexpected men's pair gold medal at the Rowing World Cup regatta at Lucerne, Switzerland on Sunday (NZT).

The rookie pairing have only been a team since January, after the retirement of Jamie Hunter, and they have barely had time to train together, with both suffering injuries in April.

Murray suffered a broken foot while jet-skiing, while Brake had surgery on a broken wrist, leaving them just over a month to prepare for Switzerland.

Brake told Newshub the winning result was more a relief than satisfaction.

"To have as little training as we have had and come away with the win just proves that we were doing something right in that one-month period," Brake said.

"It goes to show that the support structure that we have in our system is perfect. It's exactly what the athletes need to get back in the boat and be prepared to race as soon as they can.

"I think a lot of the credit is due to the support staff and the amount of effort they put into us. The win, it's actually a relief for us that the amount of effort has actually paid off, and we didn't go over there and make fools of ourselves, given the short time together."

The world championships take place in Bulgaria in September and Brake doesn't expect wholesale changes to their training regimen.

"More of the same, really," Brake told Newshub. "Manage the injuries and learn how to train with them.

“A bit more refining is needed, as we were a bit raw when we started last month. It's a matter now of getting the small things right, as the big things are pretty much there."

Brake and Murray were far from polished in Lucerne; the pair actually left their lane during the final but recovered quickly enough to ensure victory.

As for the competition they will face later this year, Brake acknowledged that the Croatian crew, who missed Switzerland, will be very tough to beat, as will their finals opposition from Sunday.

"There were only one, maybe two crews that were missing from what we would be racing at the world championships," Brake said.

"It gives us a lot of confidence that we are going fast and training the right way.

"The finish was so close.

"Point-seven of a second between three crews and then you have Croatia, who weren't there, so I would think there isn’t a clear-cut favourite going into world champs and it'll be a hotly contested final, should we all make it that far.

"It's motivation knowing we are there or thereabouts. It's not going to be easy to replicate what we just did, but it does give us confidence."

Newshub.

 

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