Paris Olympics: How Rowing NZ helped sisters Kerri Williams and Jackie Gowler avoid awkward family dinner

By their own admission, Kerri Williams and Jackie Gowler thought they may never share a boat again. 

But next month they'll head to Europe as their final preparation before a likely tilt at more Olympic rowing glory in Paris. 

The sisters have been named as Rowing New Zealand's preferred women's four and in doing so, they've also managed to avoid some family awkwardness.  

Jackie Gowler still finds it hard to believe she's back in a boat with her sister. 

"It is crazy and it is really exciting," she admitted. "It's great to have her back." 

After more than 12 months off, Kerri Williams, nee Gowler, last year confirmed a return to rowing. 

"I would go as far to say that I don't feel as though I've had a year away, other than I feel refreshed," she said.  

"I don't feel like I'm battling against the clock to get back to fitness or anything." 

But the comeback had to come in a different boat. 

Her choice? The four. The same boat, her sister was already trialling in. 

One fringe benefit? No more awkward Christmas dinners. 

"That was a relief," said Jackie. "I think we'd both agree it's nicer to row in the same boat.  

Alongside Davina Waddy and Phoebe Spoors, they'll head to Switzerland for a World Cup regatta next month. 

And after that, if all goes to plan, Paris. 

"I think it's paying off well so far," said As long as we keep the foot on the gas and keep the battles going out there, we'll be going well I think. 

Kerri knows what Olympic Games gold tastes like, winning in the women's pair with Grace Prendergast in Tokyo. 

Jackie's yet to though, and after falling short with silver in the eight, with, yes, her sister, she's hungry to go one better. 

"The biggest thing is that we're enjoying the journey and what comes with it." 

And that could be Olympic gold.