The men's eight held on for a 0.01-second victory in its semifinal to advance to the final, highlighting Friday's racing at the 2006 FISA World Rowing Championships on Dorney Lake in Eton, England.
The crew of coxswain Marcus McElhenney (Lansdowne, Pa.), Beau Hoopman (Plymouth, Wis.), Chris Liwski (Sarasota, Fla.), Dan Walsh (Norwalk, Conn.), Steven Coppola (Buffalo, N.Y.), Giuseppe Lanzone (Annandale, Va.), Ken Jurkowski (New Fairfield, Conn.), Matt Deakin (San Francisco, Calif.), and Paul Daniels (Burlington, Wis.) grabbed the lead off of the start, taking a one-seat advantage over Germany after 500 meters. The U.S. continued to build on its lead through the midway point of the race, taking a five-seat advantage at the 1,000-meter mark.
In the third quarter of the race, Italy mounted its challenge, passing Germany and closing the U.S. advantage to half a length. However, the Germans responded with a strong final 500 meters, overtaking Italy and coming up just short of the American crew. The U.S. crossed the finish line with a time of 5:41.14, while Germany finished in a 5:41.15. Italy finished third to claim the other qualifying spot for the final.
"We knew that there were four or five boats that could make the final," McElhenney said. "We knew the Germans were going to be fast. (Coach) Mike (Teti) said, 'Keep your eyes open but especially look to the right.'
"We can't do anything about anybody else," continued McElhenney about the upcoming final. "We just need to execute better, cleaner, faster."
In the second semifinal of the men's eight, Australia rowed to victory with a time of 5:47.80. Great Britain finished second in a 5:49.90, followed by Poland, which edged out Canada by 0.03 seconds to claim the last spot in the final.
Unfortunately for the U.S. squad, the rest of the day did not turn out as well as the men's eight race.
In the lightweight women's double sculls, Julie Nichols (Livermore, Calif.) and Renee Hykel (Haverford, Pa.) finished fourth in their semifinal, just missing a spot in Sunday's final. The duo will now race in the B final, which determines places 7-12. Nichols and Hykel, who won a silver medal at last year's world championships, were locked in a tight battle with Australia and Great Britain for second place behind Finland through the 1,000-meter mark. The U.S. held second place at 500 meters, with Australia taking over at the 1,000-meter mark. That's when Great Britain made its move, one that allowed the host country to pass Finland for the overall lead with just 250 meters to go. However, Australia and Finland were not finished as both crews passed Great Britain in the final 250 meters. Australia won the race with a time of 7:14.03, followed by Finland in a 7:15.58 and Great Britain in a 7:15.65. The U.S. edged out Ireland for fourth place, clocking a 7:17.64. China won the other semifinal in a 7:11.61, followed by Canada and Greece. The top three finishers from each semifinal advanced to the final.
The lightweight men's four of Tom Paradiso (Blue Bell, Pa.), Simon Carcagno (Pennington, N.J.), Matt Muffelman (Mathews, Va.), and Colin Farrell (Oaklyn, N.J.) finished fifth in its semifinal and will now race in the B final for places 7-12. France took the lead from the start and then held off Great Britain for the victory. The U.S. got off the line in good position and sat in second place, just ahead of Great Britain, through the 1,000-meter mark. However, the U.S. was unable to maintain contact with the top crews, falling to fifth at the finish line. France won the race with a time of 6:10.32. Great Britain finished second in a 6:10.74, followed by Ireland and Germany. The Americans finished with a time of 6:16.45. With three crews advancing from each semifinal, China, Canada, and Australia earned qualifying spots from the other race.
The men's quadruple sculls quartet of Matt Hughes (Ludington, Mich.), Wyatt Allen (Portland, Maine), J. Sloan DuRoss (South Portland, Maine), and Sam Stitt (McLean, Va.) finished sixth in its semifinal and will now race in the B final for places 7-12. Despite sitting in fifth position at both the 500 and 1,000-meter marks, the U.S. maintained contact with the leading boats heading into the final 750 meters. However, the crew could never mount a challenge for a top three position and a place in Sunday's final. Estonia came from behind to win the race with a time of 5:56.39. Russia, who led the race for the first 1,500 meters, finished second in a 6:56.87, followed by the Czech Republic. The U.S. finished with a time of 6:02.62. Poland, Ukraine, and Italy advanced to the final out of the other semifinal, with Poland clocking a 5:58.89 for the victory.
Andrew Bolton (Old Lyme, Conn.) and Richard Montgomery (Batavia, Ill.) finished sixth in their semifinal of the lightweight men's pair and will now race in the B final for places 7-12. The U.S. started well, sitting in a virtual tie for second place behind Australia after the first 250 meters. However, the duo dropped to fourth position at the 500-meter mark as the top three crews began to pull away from the rest of the field. Australia led the race from start-to-finish, clocking a 6:47.73. Great Britain finished second, followed by Russia in third. The U.S. crossed the finish line with a time of 7:02.59. Spain, Germany, and Italy finished in the top three in the other semifinal to also advance to Sunday's final.
The lightweight men's double sculls tandem of Cody Lowry (Bristow, Okla.) and Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg (Philadelphia, Pa.) finished sixth in its semifinal and will now race in the C final for places 13-18. The duo was unable to challenge the other crews off the start, quickly dropping into sixth position. Lowry and Urevick-Ackelsberg crossed the finish line with a time of 6:43.62. With the top two finishers moving on to the final, Denmark won the race in a time of 6:30.46 and Poland edged out Great Britain for second place by 0.22 seconds. France, Italy, Australia, and Germany advanced to the final out of the other two semifinals.
In addition to the semifinals, heats in the adaptive events took place on Friday with the U.S. winning three races to advance directly to the finals.
Three-time defending trunk-arms double sculls world champions Angela Madsen (Long Beach, Calif.) and Scott Brown (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) began their quest for a fourth title with an easy victory in their heat. The duo clocked a 4:32.29 to finish 18 seconds ahead of Great Britain. Poland won the other heat in a 4:31.34.
Patty Rollison (Reno, Nev.) won her heat of the adaptive women's single sculls to advance directly to Sunday's final. Rollison easily won her race with a time of 7:03.07, finishing more than 25 seconds ahead of Poland's Martina Snopek. Great Britain's Helene Raynsford won the other heat in a 6:55.06. This is the first year for the adaptive women's single event at the world championships.
Ron Harvey (Long Beach, Calif.), who has won back-to-back bronze medals in the adaptive men's single sculls, won his heat in impressive fashion. Harvey clocked a 5:48.69 to finish more than 20 seconds ahead of the second-place sculler from Italy. Harvey advanced to Sunday's final, as did Australia's Dominic Monypenny, who won the other heat with a time of 5:36.67.
The legs-trunk-arms four with coxswain crew of Ryan Pawling (Jenkintown, Pa.), Jamie Dean (Pickerington, Ohio), Jesse Karmazin (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.), Jennifer Klapper (Scotia, N.Y.), and Aerial Gilbert (Tiburon, Calif.) finished second in its heat, narrowly missing an automatic berth in the final by 0.59 seconds. The crew will now have to race in a repechage, or second-chance race, on Saturday. The Dutch crew led the race by nearly two seconds at the midway point. The U.S. made a strong charge over the last 500 meters but came up just short of the victory. The Netherlands moved on to the final, as did the other heat winner from Great Britain.
Racing continues on Saturday with the first day of finals. The U.S. will have seven boats competing in Saturday's finals and eight boats racing in Sunday's finals, including the three adaptive crews that advanced today.