Rowing: Tokyo gold medallist Kerri Williams eyes tilt at Paris Olympics, switches from eight to four

She dominated the world in the women's pair and now Kerri Williams is eyeing success in a different crew at next year's Paris Olympics.

But one of the biggest obstacles in her way could end up being, of all people, her little sister.

Williams, née Gowler, won gold in Tokyo with Grace Prendergast, and silver in the eight. And after some time away making wine, she's now back in a new boat, and determined to give Paris a crack.

Kerri Williams and Grace Prendergast.
Kerri Williams and Grace Prendergast. Photo credit: Getty Images

Williams was unsure if she'd ever be back training at Lake Karapiro.

"I just got a wee bit burned out, and needed a physical break from the sport for a bit," she told Newshub.

And a break is what she took. As a gold medallist in the women's pair Williams swapped the boat for barrels, working at Te Mata vineyard.

"I think I've just always had a passion for how wine's made," she explained. "It's quite fun.

"It's a physical job, which is really great off the back of being outdoors.

"I just really enjoyed it."

But the rowing itch returned.

"When the team was racing, I definitely thought I missed being here, and missed racing.

"And then the 'year to go' campaign really cemented things for me that I really wanted to be in Paris."

But to do so, it had to be in a different boat, and with a different crew.

After nine years with the now-retired Prendergast, and a stint in the eight, Willams is eyeing up a seat in the four.

"I've spent a long time in the pair, and have probably ticked off most things in that boat," she continued.

"I think the four is an exciting bunch of girls to be in with."

Among that bunch, is sister Jackie.

"We get along really well on and off the water," she said. "Obviously you lose your filter with your communication a little bit in communication with your sister.

"But I don't necessarily see that as a negative."

Training together isn't new, they won silver in the eight in Tokyo. But this is a smaller boat, and they could end up fighting for the same seat.

"We're confident that we really row well together," Williams added. "But we're also well aware that there's some really great competition out there.

"I think it'll be what it'll be, and I think everyone just wants the fastest boat come Paris."

If not, it could be an awkward family Christmas, next year.