WEST WINDSOR, N.J. – Heats of 2012 USRowing National Championships got underway this morning on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J. Competitors racing in the women’s single sculls, men’s single sculls, women’s lightweight single sculls, men’s lightweight single sculls and men’s pair needed to win their respective heats in order to earn an automatic bid in Friday’s finals and avoid the repechages.
Setting the distance between his boat and the remainder of the field, 2008 Beijing Olympian and 2011 Pan American Games competitor Tom Paradiso of the New York Athletic Club won the first heat of the men’s lightweight single sculls. Paradiso, who clocked the fastest time in yesterday’s time trial, finished the course in a 7:00.784 and sent the remaining rowers in the first heat to the repechage. In a much tighter second heat, Hugh McAdam of Undine Barge Club finished the course in 7:04.337.
In the men’s single sculls, Matthew Brown of Vesper Boat Club won his heat. Brown rowed the course in 7.06.066 and created a 5.702 second margin between himself and the next fastest competitor. Charles Biddle of Undine Barge Club also earned a guaranteed spot in the final with a time of 7:19.995.
“After getting back from Olympic Trials, I just told myself that I was going to make big changes over a gradual amount of time,” said Matthew Brown. “One of the things I’m working on is just relaxing, just being out here, enjoying the competition and not getting too worked up about it and trying to make everything as easy as possible. So it’s working out and I’m pretty pleased with where it’s going so far.”
A native of Sacramento, Calif., Brown has been training at Vesper for the past three years. For him progression directly into the final fits with his overall plan.
Catherine Reddick, another of the four Vesper rowers at the championship, will race in the final of the women’s single sculls. A silver medalist at the 2011 USRowing National Championships, she crossed the finish line with a time of 7:46.004. Emily Huelskamp of Riverside Boat Club advanced from the second heat with a time of 7:41.027. She beat out fellow Riverside rower Lauren Schmetterling by 1.58 seconds for first in the heat. The remainder of the field in both heats will race this afternoon in the repechage.
Pocock Rowing Center rower Katherine Robinson won the first heat of the women’s lightweight single sculls. She advanced directly to the finals with a time of 7:54.397, an 11.922-second margin between herself and the other scullers. Mary Jones of Vesper will race in the finals after taking the second heat with a time of 8:05.205.
Reflecting her performance Robinson said, “It’s always challenging when we get the international competitors that we don’t race, so there are a lot of unknown factors. I went into this ready to put everything out all at once, but with the multiple racing it’s a nice combination of tactics and speed, so I felt lucky to be able to race the way that I’d hope to.”
In the first heat of the men’s pair, Will Newell and Anthony Fahden took first in the heat with a time of 6:39.605. Newell and Fahden train at the USRowing Training Center in Oklahoma City and are both members of the lightweight men’s four that will race at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Also from the USRowing Training Center-OKC and members of the 2012 Olympic squad, Silas Stafford and Tom Peszek won the second heat of the men’s pair. Stafford and Peszek finished the course in 6:26.833.
Racing is set to resume today at 5 p.m. with repechages for all of the events raced this morning. The top two finishers in each repechage will race in the finals beginning at 8 a.m., tomorrow.
For schedule and results visit, http://www.usrowing.org/Events/EliteNationals/2012NCResults.aspx. Finals racing on Friday can be seen on live streaming at broadcasting at http://www.ustream.tv/usrowing. Following the event, video clips can be purchased at http://www.usrowing.org/Multimedia/VideoDownloads.aspx.