The triumphant men’s fours spearheaded Team GB’s challenge as they clinched four medals on Sunday at the Rowing World Cup in Lucerne.
Australia quickly opened up a lead and looked on course for victory against a GB quartet missing Constantine Louloudis who continues to recover from a recent virus.
Callum McBrierty in the bow seat was joined by Moe Sbihi and George Nash in the two and three-seats respectively with Alex Gregory stroking the boat and they looked to be battling the Dutch crew for silver.
But when Joshua Dunkley-Smith caught a crab to effectively bring them to a stop, GB stole in to cross the line in 5 minutes 55.75 seconds.
McBrierty said: “We knew the Australians had a fast start and we were grinding it out and grinding it out and getting back to them.
“I kept saying in my head ‘you’re not going to get this one, you’re not going to get this one’ and on the line it could have gone to anyone.”
The women’s eights ran World and Olympic champions USA close, as they finished second.
The GB boat of Katie Greves, Melanie Wilson, Frances Houghton, Polly Swann, Jessica Eddie, Olivia Carnegie-Brown, Karen Bennett, Zoe Lee and cox Zoe de Toledo won European gold in Brandenburg earlier this month.
And, after a strong start, were third at the halfway mark, 0.5 second behind New Zealand.
But a strong finish saw New Zealand left trailing in their wake, with GB eventually just 0.83 seconds short of USA at the line.
Carnegie-Brown said: “That was a bit of a show for the spectators.
“Every time we race we are finding out more about ourselves and finding more speed.
“That is the closest we have ever got to the American eight and I could hear them shouting at each other.
“We are getting closer and we believe we can take them when it really matters.”
There was silver too, for Jack Beaumont, Sam Townsend, Angus Groom and Graeme Thomas in the quadruple scull – Peter Lambert missing out with a virus that had also affected London 2012 champion Heather Stanning overnight and was unable to compete in the women’s pair.
The medal haul was completed as Nathaniel Reilly O’Donnell and Matthew Tarrant settled for bronze behind the Netherlands with a photo-finish.