Lightweight New Zealand single sculler Matthew Dunham records stunning time

It won't count as a world record, but Matthew Dunham's row at Lake Karapiro on January 29 was world class.

Competing in the heavyweight premier men's single scull final at the Cambridge Town Cup/North Island club champs, lightweight Dunham finished second behind Robbie Manson in an eye-opening time.

Dunham's time of six minutes 42.19 seconds was over a second faster than the world's best time for a lightweight men's single sculler, set over three years ago. Manson won in 6:39.58 while two-time Olympic champion in the heavyweight single scull, Mahe Drysdale, was fifth in 6:53.24.

It won't count as a new world's best as Dunham wasn't required to weigh in, competing in the heavyweight class.

Some lightweights won't always be under the maximum weight mark - 72.5kg for individual men - when training or competing outside the class, but that's unlikely with Dunham as he lost 8kg when sick over the Christmas period; the opposite of most people.

It was a sign that the 23-year-old is poised for another big year after making his breakthrough internationally in the single in 2017.

After standing out when an injury replacement in the lightweight four crew at World Cup regattas in 2016 prior to the Rio Olympics, Dunham was named as New Zealand's lightweight men's single sculler for 2017 and capped off his year by winning silver at the world championships in the United States.

The world's best time over 2000m by a men's lightweight single sculler is 6:43.37, set by Italy's Marcello Miani (a three-time world champ) at the 2014 world champs in The Netherlands.
World rowing's governing body Fisa doesn't have "world records" as times can be effected by weather, courses and water temperatures. Twelve world's best times set at the 2014 world champs regatta, including two by Kiwi boats.

The lightweight men's single scull isn't an Olympic class, so Dunham will be looking to team up with a crewmate in the buildup to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

A promising option looms with James Lassche, who was part of the lightweight sweep oar four for a number of years before switching to the heavyweight eight last year. Lassche is now sculling and set to compete this year as a lightweight again.

 - Stuff


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