PRINCETON, N.J. - Grace Luczak (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Felice Mueller (Cleveland, Ohio) have officially accepted their nomination as the U.S. women's pair for the 2016 Olympic Games, pending United States Olympic Committee approval, USRowing announced on Wednesday.
The crew earned the opportunity to represent the U.S. by virtue of its win at the 2016 National Selection Regatta in April, and by placing top four in the boat class at 2016 World Rowing Cup II in Lucerne, Switzerland last week.
"We are both thrilled," said Mueller. "I am still digesting everything that has happened and trying to process the past year. It's truly amazing. I can feel all the love and support that my family, friends and teammates share with me and I them, and know that so much of the momentum to keep going comes from them. I'm so thankful for this opportunity and the experiences that brought me here."
In the world cup final, Luczak and Mueller jumped into the lead from the start and were never out of contention for gold, crossing the line with a time of 7:06.36 for the win. New Zealand's Genevieve Behrent and Rebecca Scown took silver and USA's Eleanor Logan (Boothbay Harbor, Maine) and Meghan Musnicki (Naples, N.Y.) won bronze.
Luczak, 27, and Mueller, 26, have a history of being fast together, having won gold in the pair at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships with a world-record time.
Mueller, a University of Michigan graduate who took fourth in the pair at World Rowing Cup II last year, also has a bronze medal in the event from the 2015 World Rowing Championships. In addition, she won bronze in the quadruple sculls at the 2014 World Rowing Championships and was part of the women's four that won in 2013.
Stanford University graduate Luczak was part of the gold-medal-winning women's four at the 2015 World Rowing Championships and has won back-to-back world championship gold medals in the eight in 2013 and 2014. She also was part of the eight that posted the fastest time in history, recording a time of 5:54.160 at the 2013 World Rowing Cup III. In 2011 she set a world record in the pair at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, where she also was part of the champion eight.
"I have so much fun racing in the pair with Felice," said Luczak. "I am excited we have the opportunity to represent our amazing country. We're looking forward to earning more speed in the next couple of months training with our team."
Members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Rowing Team are selected in stages, with the full roster announced by June 24. For more information about qualification, visit www.usrowing.org.