National rowing coach Roger Barrow tests his combinations
Kirsten McCann and Nicole van Wyk will team up for their first taste of World Cup action together in Belgrade, Serbia, as national rowing coach Roger Barrow tests combinations ahead of the world championships later in the year.
Barrow has also selected eight heavyweight men for the June 1-3 regatta‚ entering a four and two pairs.
But the coach‚ known for getting rowers to compete for seats‚ has not decided on the line-ups as yet.
"I’m trying to make two good [heavyweight] boats — one four and a pair and then another pair. The margins between the rowers are very small."
Olympic silver medallist Lawrence Brittain and Jake Green‚ a member of the four that finished fourth at the Rio Games‚ are not in the mix‚ still making their way back from injury.
But among them is John Smith‚ the last surviving member of the golden lightweight four from London 2012. Veteran McCann and Van Wyk are the only women in the squad‚ combining in the lightweight double scull.
McCann starred in the lightweight single class in 2017, but that is not on the Olympic roster‚ meaning she must return to the lightweight double to get to Tokyo 2020.
She and Van Wyk competed together in Italy in April, winning the lightweight and finishing second in the heavyweight. "I’m really trying to gauge how much work we’ve got to do‚" said Barrow‚ pointing out that Nikita Prinsloo was a third option for a seat in the lightweight double.
But, he said, he had yet to decide on whether to enter a double for the world championships in Plovdiv‚ Bulgaria‚ in September.
Outside of athletics and swimming‚ rowing has been SA’s most consistent sport at the Olympics‚ winning medals at three of the past four Games.