Three crews moved one step closer to winning their event at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Rowing following their victories on Thursday in the first round of the best two-out-of-three finals at Lake Mercer in West Windsor, N.J.
Referred to as the non-qualified small boat trials, today's winners in the men's single sculls, lightweight women's double sculls and lightweight men's double sculls can take their first step towards making the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team by winning tomorrow's second final. With the U.S. failing to qualify these three boat categories for the 2008 Olympic Games at last year's world championships, the winners of the trials will have to compete at the 2008 Olympic Qualification Regatta scheduled for June 15-18 in Poznan, Poland, in order to qualify to race in Beijing. Qualification spots at that regatta are available to the top three finishers in the men's single sculls, top two finishers in the lightweight men's double sculls and top two finishers in the lightweight women's double sculls.
On Thursday, Ken Jurkowski (New Fairfield, Conn.) had no trouble winning the first final of the men's single sculls. Jurkowski took control of the race early on and rowed to a five-second victory. Jurkowski crossed the finish line in a 7:16.09. New York Athletic Club's James Dietz (Amherst, Mass.) finished second in a 7:21.40, followed by California Rowing Club's Patrick O'Hea (Culver City, Calif.) and Bantam Boat Club's Peter Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio). Jurkowski, Dietz and O'Hea advanced to Friday's second final.
USRowing Training Center's Jen Goldsack (Henley-on-Thames, United Kingdom) and Renee Hykel (Haverford, Pa.) dominated the first final of the lightweight women's double sculls, crossing the finish line more than eight seconds ahead of the second-place crew. Goldsack and Hykel finished with a time of 7:12.39, with Vesper Boat Club's Julie Nichols (Livermore, Calif.) and Libby Peters (Utica, N.Y.) coming in second in a 7:20.42. Vesper's Carey Brezler (Waynesboro, Pa.) and Wendy Tripician (Needham, Mass.) finished third in a 7:22.88, followed by teammates Rebecca Smith (Torrington, Conn.) and Hannah Moore (Niskayuna, N.Y.). The top three finishers advanced to tomorrow's second final.
In the lightweight men's double sculls, the California Rowing Club/Potomac Boat Club duo of Michael Aller (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Gavin Frase (Orinda, Calif.) won the first final by clocking a 6:40.29. The USRowing Training Center/Bachelor's Barge Club tandem of Dan Urevick-Ackelsberg (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Cody Lowry (Bristow, Okla.) held off the Malta Boat Club/Penn AC combination of Bjorn Larsen (Lake Stevens, Wash.) and Richard Montgomery (Batavia, Ill.) to finish second. Urevick-Ackelsberg and Lowry finished with a time of 6:44.88, while Larsen and Montgomery clocked a 6:47.32. USRowing Training Center's Andy Quinn and Shane Madden (Ambler, Pa.) finished fourth. The top three finishers moved on to tomorrow's second final.
The second set of finals will be held on Friday starting at 8:00 a.m., with third finals taking place on Saturday, if necessary. The start time for Saturday's racing is to be announced. For a complete schedule and results, please visit http://www.usrowing.org. For a complete explanation of USRowing's selection procedures, please visit http://www.usrowing.org/News_Media/2008OlympicGames/08olselexp.aspx.