Gia Doonan and Vicky Opitz should be used to rowing multiple times a day. It's part of the regular program for US Princeton training center women, just like doubling up during some international races is.
Doonan and Opitz rowed two events at World Cup III in Lucerne, Switzerland only a few weeks ago. They were both in the four that won a bronze, and instead of going in for the medal awards, rowed right back to the launch dock so all four women could race in the eight.
That weekend they had about 45 minutes between racing and getting back to the dock to jump in the eight in Lucerne, which won a second bronze medal for the group.
So, neither Doonan or Opitz, who were named to the women's eight last week, blinked at the idea of rowing both the pair and the eight in the 2018 World Rowing Championships when the pair entries were due for this week's final national team trials on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, New Jersey.
The two women, along Felice Mueller and Kristine O'Brien - two other women selected for the eight from the US Princeton selection camp last Tuesday - raced in the Senior and Para World Championship Trials II.
Mueller and O'Brien withdrew after the Sunday time trial, but Doonan and Optiz continued onto the Wednesday final, where they won and were among 12 crews that won and earned places to complete the US World Championship team that will race next month in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
"The idea of doubling up was kind of open ended, and so we felt that we would take this as a challenge, and it's going to be a great experience no matter what," said Doonan. "We felt like, why not go for it. The schedule is spread out enough compared to World Cup III. It's going to be a challenge, but we're excited," she said.
"At least the races aren’t 40 minutes apart," added Opitz. "So that's good."
While it is not unusual for training center athletes to row multiple international events, it usually only happens at a World Cup. The last time the US doubled up at a World Championship was in 2009, when Susan Francia and Erin Cafaro won two gold medals each rowing in both the eight and pair in Poznan, Poland.
Gia Doonan and Vicky Opitz led into the final 250
"It feels really good," Optiz said. "It was a very competitive field and we have to acknowledge all of our teammates that didn't also race. The women's pair was very tight this entire year and it feels really good.
"Both of us have the expectation that we want to be the best in any boat class that we're in," she said. "Any race that we shove off the dock for, we want to give our best. I don't think it's an issue of thinking one event is more important than the other. We want to do the best we can. No matter what race we're in."
In addition to Doonan and Optiz, 11 other crews earned places on the 2018 US World Championship team including in the men's pair, the men's quad, lightweight men's and women's pairs, lightweight men's double, lightweight men's and women's quads and three para events.
The lightweight men's pair and lightweight men's and women's quads rowed unopposed.
The para events included the PR3 mixed double, PR3 women's pairs, and PR2 women's single. The women's single rowed unopposed. A PR3 men's pair was scheduled to race but was withdrawn.
Starting off the day in the men's pair final, Anders Weiss and Michael Collela won a return to the event they rowed last year to an 11th place finish at the 2017 World Rowing Championship.
Weiss and Collela worked their way into the lead ahead of three other men's pairs from the US men's Oakland, California, training center including, Jordan Vanderstoep and Max Meyer-Bosse, Robert Moffitt and Spencer Furey, and Finn Meeks and Greg Davis.
Heading into the final, Vanderstoep and Meyer-Bosse has been posting the fastest times in the time trials and heat, but yesterday Weiss and Collela drew from their experience to fight their way into the lead and won.
"I was talking to Mike after the race about how, even from last year, we've matured quite a bit as racers," Weiss said. "Just looking at the profile of that piece, we knew there were three incredibly fast and competitive pairs.
"Usually we lead from the front, so it was a little unnerving at first, but we managed to take a few moves to get a lead and were able to maintain our cool under pressure, which is something we weren't able to do as well last year," he said.
"I'm pretty excited, we made some good improvements from last year, so I'm excited to go back to the world championships, and hopefully do a little bit better than last year," Collela added. "It's always fun to race with Anders, so I'm excited I get to follow him for the next couple of weeks."
Of the two crews racing for the men's quad, both were from Philadelphia's Penn AC Rowing Association, which participates in a Schuylkill Navy high performance collaborative, the group that produced the crew that finished 15th at last year's World Rowing Championships.
Of the crew that won Wednesday - which included Justin Keen, Greg Ansolabehere, Michael Knippen and Erik Frid - Frid is the lone returning competitor from the 2017 team.
Justin Keen, Greg Ansolabehere, Michael Knippen and Erik Frid
"I think the vibe among the group has been positive," Frid said. "The biggest thing we've been working on this summer is trying to hold ourselves to what we perceive to be international standards. We went to world cup this summer and got a taste of some good racing, which gave us a good idea of what we need to do moving forward.
"It's been fun having two quads and a good group of guys to race against, and I think we're trying to push the ball forward as much as we can and have a good showing overseas to build further momentum going into 2020," he said.
Among the largest group to enter competition this week - the men's single - the winner went into the event not expecting to finish first. But that is what Riverside Boat Club's Kevin Meador did, beating out Lenny Futterman, Matt O'Leary and Tyler Nase, who rowed the in the 2016 Olympic US lightweight men's four.
Riverside Boat Club's Kevin Meador will represent the US in the men's single
"I didn't necessarily anticipate (winning) before the regatta," Meador said. "But I think that I am rowing better now than I was in the spring. It was a really tough race, close margins. I have a lot of respect for the other competitors and I'm ready now to try and take it up to the international level, to see if I can get faster in the next couple of weeks.
"The race was quite even, neck and neck the whole way. I try to put myself in a position where I can sort of see my competition on the way down the course. I tried to use that to the best of my ability and then it was a pretty much an all-out sprint to make sure I was able to keep the margin," he said.
"I knew the other guys were big sprinters, so I made sure I could be in a position to take the rates up and the splits down to make sure I held the position."
Not to be outdone by Doonan and Opitz in rowing two events in one World Championships, Community Rowing Inc.'s Dani Hansen earned a seat in a second para event by winning the women's PR3 pair with teammate Jaclyn Smith.
Hansen was named to the para rowing four last week, a boat she and Smith have rowed together in the last three years, including at the 2016 Paralympics where they won a silver medal.
"I'm very excited to be able to be going out there twice," Hansen said. "I think that both crews are going to be really fast this year and I'm looking forward to heading over to Bulgaria with everybody."
As for the pair, Hansen said she and Smith have been hoping for a chance to row the boat class since talk about adding it to the para program began a few years ago.
"Jaclyn and I have been hoping that something like this would happen," she said. "We've been sort of inquiring about the women's pair for like three years now, and the fact that it's real is surreal, and we are just completely psyched up.
"After the race, when we went through the finish, we said we are the first US women's PR3 pair. That's going to be amazing. We have a really crazy opportunity now, and we've been looking for this for a long time. The fact that it's here now and we have it, and we have the opportunity, is amazing."
Dani Hansen and Jaclyn Smith will be the first US women's para rowing pair