The U.S. won gold in the women's pair and women's four, as well as bronze in the women's double sculls, to highlight the third day of competition at the 2010 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Brest, Belarus.
In addition to the three medals, the men's eight, lightweight men's four, women's single scull and lightweight men's pair advanced out of the semifinals to Sunday's finals.
In the women's pair, Felice Mueller (Cleveland, Ohio) and Ashley Kroll (Edmonds, Wash.) built nearly a five-second lead in the first 1,000-meters and held on to defeat Romania's Nicoleta Albu and Adelina Cojocariu by 0.31 seconds, setting a new Under 23 World Best Time of 7:14.07. The duo broke the old record by 0.87 seconds.
Mueller and Kroll exploded off of the start, taking 3.5 seconds on the field in the first 500 meters. The University of Michigan teammates continued to push away from the rest of the crews over the second quarter of the race and found themselves with a 4.60-second advantage over Romania at the midway point. That's when Romania began to make its move, cutting the American's lead in half with 500 meters to go. Albu and Cojocariu, the defending under-23 world champions, continued to charge down the stretch but came up short at the line, taking silver in a 7:14.38. Germany won the bronze medal in a 7:23.70.
"We were prepped to know Romania was going to move ahead, and when we got to the 500, we noticed that they weren't," Kroll said. "We tried to keep stepping it up. We knew that at 500 to go, they were going to make a move. It was basically a 'Hail Mary.' We just rowed as hard as we could for the last 250 (meters). We knew that they were going to move, and they did. It was a really good race. When we crossed the finish line, we honestly didn't know where we were."
With the victory, Mueller and Kroll became the first U.S. pair to win gold at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
In the women's four, Sara Hendershot (West Simsbury, Conn.), Julie Smith (Raleigh, N.C.), Hannah Malvin (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Michaela Strand (Seattle, Wash.) passed Australia in the final 500 meters to win the gold medal in a 6:40.33. The crew sat in sixth place at the 500-meter mark, just 1.29 seconds off the pace set by Belarus. By the midway point of the race, Australia and the U.S. had moved into the top two positions. With 500 meters to go, Australia held a 1.33-second advantage on the American crew, but the U.S. made a furious charge over the final stretch to grab the lead and win by 2.86 seconds. Australia took the silver medal in a 6:43.19, with Germany winning the bronze medal in a 6:44.37.
"We actually had a sluggish start," Hendershot said. "It took us the entire race to come back. But, we really stayed internal, and we were confident. We slowly, with power, moved our way back."
In the women's double sculls, twin sisters Elizabeth and Rebecca Donald (Falmouth, Mass.) held off Romania by 0.10 seconds to win the bronze medal. Germany and Belarus grabbed the top two spots off the start and waged a tight battle for gold and silver through the 1,500-meter mark. Meanwhile, the Donald sisters took third position off the line, building a three-second advantage on Romania at the midway point of the race. Romania tried to chase down the U.S. over the final 1,000 meters, but the American boat held on to win bronze. Germany pulled away to win the gold medal in a 7:03.47, with Belarus taking silver in a 7:08.28. The U.S. clocked a 7:20.46, with Romania finishing in a 7:20.56.
"We had a bobble in the third 500 and lost some ground on them," Rebecca said. "I looked over a little before the 250 to go, and I told Liz, 'We gotta go.' We started to go, and I called the last 10. We just drove our legs as hard as we could and didn't look out."
In the women's quadruple sculls, Romania turned the tables on the U.S., edging out the American crew by 0.12 seconds to win the bronze medal. Emily Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.), Desiree Burns (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.), Nicole Bielawski (Old Westbury, N.Y.) and Helen Tompkins (Friendswood, Texas) battled Russia and Romania for second and third place for most of the race. The U.S. held a slight advantage for second at the midway point and was in third as the crews crossed through the 1,500-meter mark. At the line, Russia held on to win the silver medal in a 6:35.53, while Romania crossed in a 6:35.94. The U.S. finished in a 6:36.06. Germany won the gold medal, clocking a 6:32.89.
The lightweight women's quadruple sculls crew of Kimberly Hopewell (Ridgefield, Conn.), Elizabeth Robinson (Seattle, Wash.), Summers Nelson (Kansas City, Mo.) and Devery Karz (Park City, Utah) finished fifth in the final. The U.S. boat, which sat in sixth position through the 1,500-meter mark, tried to get back on terms with the medalists in the final 500 meters. But despite clocking the fastest final split, the Americans were unable to catch France for a spot on the medal stand. Italy won the race in a 6:36.87, with Germany taking second in a 6:38.43. France posted a time of 6:41.50 to win the bronze medal, followed by Australia. The U.S. finished with a time of 6:43.06.
In addition to the three medals, four U.S. boats advanced to the finals from their semifinals on Saturday. Those crews will join the women's eight in the race for the medals on Sunday. With a total of 10 crews racing in the A finals at the regatta, the 2010 team set a new U.S. record for boats reaching the medal races.
The men's eight of coxswain Zach Vlahos (Piedmont, Calif.), Michael Gennaro (Havertown, Pa.), Nareg Guregian (North Hills, Calif.), Tom Dethlefs (Lawrenceville, N.J.), Ty Otto (Seattle, Wash.), Blaise Didier (San Francisco, Calif.), Rob Munn (Redmond, Wash.), Nick Lucey (San Francisco, Calif.) and Sam Walker (Seattle, Wash.) won its semifinal by 2.09 seconds to advance to Sunday's final. The crew took the lead off the line, building a 0.63-second advantage over Poland in the first 500 meters. The Polish crew pushed back in the second quarter of the race and trailed by only 0.04 seconds at the midway point. But, the U.S. made a move just past the 1,000-meter mark to build a one-second lead going into the final 500 meters. The American crew continued to row away from the field as it approached the finish line, clocking a 5:40.04 to win by just more than two seconds. The Netherlands overtook Poland in the final 500 meters to finish second, with Poland hanging on for third. Germany won the second semifinal in a 5:34.48, with Great Britain and the Czech Republic also advancing to the final.
In the second semifinal of the women's single sculls, Lindsay Meyer (Seattle, Wash.) finished in second place, just behind Norway's Tale Gjoertz, earning a spot in tomorrow's final. The Netherlands' Nicole Beukers took the early lead before Gjoertz moved into first place as the scullers passed through the 1,000-meter mark. Meanwhile, Meyer sat in fourth place at the midway point before passing Beukers and Belarus' Tatsiana Kukhta. Meyer continued to close the gap with Gjoertz over the final 500 meters, finishing 0.74 seconds off the pace. Gjoertz won in a 7:41.12, with Meyer finishing in a 7:44.70. Kukhta finished third to earn the last spot in the final, while Beukers dropped to fifth. Lithuania's Donata Vistartaite won the first semifinal, clocking a 7:36.44 to finish 4.60 seconds ahead of Estonia's Kaisa Pajusalu. Poland's Natalia Madaj finished third to also advance to the final.
The lightweight men's four of Robin Prendes (Miami, Fla.), Ed King (Ironton, Mo.), William Newell (Weston, Mass.) and Austin Meyer (Cohoes, N.Y.) qualified for the final thanks to a second-place finish in the first of two semifinals. After getting off the line in third position, the U.S. battled Italy for first place through the middle 1,000 meters, taking a 0.62-second lead into the final quarter of the race. However, Italy made a strong move over the final 250 meters to earn a 1.14-second victory. Italy crossed the finish line with a winning time of 6:07.51, with the U.S. finishing in a 6:08.65. Germany edged out Chile by 0.5 seconds to take third. Great Britain, New Zealand and Denmark advanced from the second semifinal, with the British recording a winning time of 6:09.92.
Michael Kerrigan (Charlottesville, Va.) and Christian Klein (Herndon, Va.) earned a spot in the final of the lightweight men's pair with a third-place finish in their semifinal. With three to advance, Kerrigan and Klein got off the line in sixth place and continued to trail the pack at the midway point. However, a strong move in the third 500 pushed the U.S. boat into third place, and the Americans were able to hold off Russia to advance to the final. The Netherlands won the race in a 6:44.02, with Germany finishing second in a 6:46.19. Kerrigan and Klein clocked a 6:47.57 to finish 0.60 seconds ahead of Russia. France, Hungary and Italy took the top three spots in the other semifinal.
The men's four of Dane McFadden (Fillmore, Calif.), Nick Jordan (Princeton, N.J.), Alexander Syverson (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Evan Cassidy (Westbury, N.Y.) just missed a spot in the final, finishing fourth in the second of two semis. The crew, which sat in fourth position the entire way down the course, mounted a challenge over the final 500 meters but was unable to make up the 4.16-second deficit on third-place Australia. Italy won the race in a 6:02.34, with the Czech Republic finishing second in a 6:03.53. Australia held on for third, clocking a 6:07.44, while the U.S. crossed in a 6:08.91.
The lightweight women's double sculls duo of Elizabeth Bates (Tenants Harbor, Maine) and Sarah Keller (Perrysburg, Ohio) finished fifth in its semifinal, getting edged out by Ireland at the line for fourth place by 0.02 seconds. The U.S. and Irish crews made a valiant attempt to catch third-place Great Britain over the final 500 meters but came up two seconds short. Greece, who led the entire way down the course, held off New Zealand by 0.01 seconds to win the race in a 7:05.68. Great Britain finished third in a 7:16.50, with Ireland and the U.S. clocking times of 7:18.29 and 7:18.31, respectively.
Racing in the first of two semifinals in the lightweight women's single sculls, Emily Boucher (Lee, N.H.) also finished fifth in an 8:05.05. Boucher rowed in sixth place for much of the race before passing Switzerland's Angelina Casanova in the final 500 meters. Belarus' Alena Kryvasheyenka won with a time of 7:48.28. Boucher will race in Sunday's B final for places 7-12.
In the first semifinal of the men's single sculls, Brendan McEwan (New Canaan, Conn.) finished fifth, clocking a 7:17.42. Germany's Karl Schulze won the race with a time of 7:00.45. McEwan will now race in the B final.
Ian Silveira (West Bloomfield, Mich.), Henry Cole (New Canaan, Conn.), Hans Struzyna (Kirkland, Wash.) and Mike Donohue (Malvern, Pa.) finished fifth in their semifinal of the men's quadruple sculls and will now race in the B final. The quartet held fifth the entire way down the course. Croatia won the race in a 5:48.94, with the U.S. finishing in a 6:05.89. L
ightweight men's single sculler John Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio) finished sixth in his semifinal and will now race in tomorrow's B final. Racing in the second semi, Graves crossed the finish line in a 7:18.15. Iran's Mohsen Shadi Naghadeh, the defending champion in the event, won the race in a 7:01.06.
The lightweight men's quadruple sculls crew of Steven Cutler (Lutz, Fla.), Erich Schultze (Foxboro, Mass.), John Redos (Mount Bethel, Pa.) and Tobin McGee (Rye, N.Y.) also finished sixth in its semifinal. The crew finished with a time of 6:14.10 and will race in the B final on Sunday. Germany won the race in a 6:01.52.
Henry Moore (Jaffrey, N.H.) and Ben Johnson (Northford, Conn.) stroked a 7:07.92 to finish sixth in the second semifinal of the men's pair. The duo will now race in the B final. Romania edged out France by 0.46 seconds to win the race in a 6:39.61.
In Saturday's placement finals, the men's four with coxswain of Kereeti Pisapati (Bethlehem, Pa.), Michael Grose (Jacksonville, Fla.), Patrick Kenny (Malvern, Pa.), Joe Ledvina (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Benjamin Dann (Pond Ridge, N.Y.) finished third in the B final for a ninth-place finish overall. The crew clocked a 6:33.64, finishing behind Ukraine and Belarus. Ukraine won the race in a 6:26.77.
In the C final of the men's double sculls, the duo of Erich Hanxleden (Garden Grove, Calif.) and Andrew Gallagher (Phoenix, Ariz.) finished fourth for a 16th-place finish overall. The crew clocked a 6:41.40. Romania won the race in a 6:36.38.
The lightweight men's double sculls tandem of Alex Burjakowsky (Irvine, Calif.) and Nick Trojan (Los Alamitos, Calif.) won the D final to finish 19th overall. The duo took the lead off the start and kept a small lead on Moldova the rest of the way down the course. Burjakowsky and Trojan crossed the finish line with a time of 6:54.98.
Racing concludes on Sunday with finals in the remaining 15 events. For more information and full results, please visit www.usrowing.org.