LUCERNE, Switzerland - United States crews are off to a good start at the third and final stop in the 2013 World Rowing Cup series, with five boats winning their respective heats on the opening day of competition.
Three sculling boats took the top spots on the women’s side - the lightweight double sculls, double sculls and single sculls, while the eight and the four on the men’s side came out strong.
The USA 1 women’s double sculls crew of Beijing Olympian Ellen Tomek (Flint, Mich.) and Meghan O'Leary (Baton Rouge, La.) led from the start of the second heat, clocking a 6:48.60. Belarus’ four-time Olympic medalist Ekaterina Karsten and Yuliya Bichyk crossed second in a 6:52.54.
Tomek and O’Leary won National Selection Regatta #2 and will be looking to finish in the top four at this event in order to secure a spot on the 2013 U.S. National Team. The heat win qualified them for the final, scheduled for Sunday at 1:31 p.m. local time.
Also seeking an overall top-four finish at World Cup #3, the lightweight women's double sculls combination of Kate Bertko (Oakland, Calif.) and Kristin Hedstrom (Concord, Mass.) won its heat Friday. Competing internationally for the first time since their win at National Selection Regatta #2, the duo gained nearly two seconds on the field by the 500-meter mark. The U.S. crossed in a 6:59.50 to New Zealand’s 7:00.90 and will now race in Saturday’s semifinal.
The U.S. men’s eight won its heat to advance directly to the final. Coxswain Zach Vlahos (Piedmont, Calif.), Tom Peszek (Farmington Hills, Mich.), Thomas Dethlefs (Lawrenceville, N.J.), Steven Kasprzyk (Cinnaminson, N.J.), Glenn Ochal (Philadelphia, Pa.), Austin Hack (Old Lyme, Conn.), Nareg Guregian (North Hills, Calif.), Ross James (DeKalb, Ill.) and Ian Silveira (West Bloomfield, Mich.) were first off the line and held off Great Britain to win by just over four seconds in a 5:27.29.
With a win in the first heat of the men’s four, Grant James (DeKalb, Ill.), Seth Weil (Menlo Park, Calif.), Henrik Rummel (Pittsford, N.Y.) and Mike Gennaro (Havertown, Pa.) advanced to Saturday’s semifinal. The U.S. crew, with two London Olympians and an Olympic alternate in the lineup, led from start to finish, crossing in a time of 5:54.71. Belarus finished second in 5:57.64 to advance, while Czech Republic edged out Great Britain for third in 5:58.19.
Women's single sculler and two-time Olympic gold medalist Eleanor Logan (Boothbay Harbor, Maine) did not disappoint, winning her heat by 3.67 seconds in 7:30.33 over Czech Republic’s London gold medalist Mirka Knapkova. Logan, who was named to the 2013 U.S. National Team last week following her bronze-medal finish in Eton, advanced to Saturday’s semifinals.
Advancing with a third-place finish in its heat, the U.S. men's quadruple sculls team of William Cowles (Farmington, Conn.), Matt Miller (Springfield, Va.), Sam Stitt (McLean, Va.) and Thomas Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio) will now race in the semifinals. The crew was in fourth place through the halfway point, but pushed past Australia to take the qualifying spot in a 5:53.65. Spain won the race in a 5:51.38, with Canada in a 5:52.36 for second.
In the international events, the lightweight men's pair of Tyler Nase (Phoenixville, Pa.) and Michael Wales (Seattle, Wash.) finished third in its heat to advance to the semifinals. Nase and Wales, who won the event at the USRowing National Championships last month, crossed behind Spain and Germany in a 7:03.09.
Two U.S. crews advanced from Friday’s afternoon repechages. Men’s single sculler John Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio) is one step closer to earning his spot on the 2013 U.S. National Team. After a third-place finish in his morning heat, the NSR #1 winner returned in the afternoon repechage to earn a place in the semifinals.
Also advancing out of the repechages is the lightweight men's four of Robin Prendes (Miami, Fla.), Bob Duff (Huntingdon Valley, Pa.), Will Daly (Vail, Colo.) and Anthony Fahden (Lafayette, Calif.). Coming off of a fourth-place finish in its morning heat, The U.S. crew came back to win the repechage in 5:59.38.
Three U.S. crews will race in repechages scheduled for Saturday. The women's pair of London gold medalist Meghan Musnicki (Naples, N.Y.) and Taylor Goetzinger (Mt. Pleasant, Mich.) finished second in its heat to Great Britain. The women's quadruple sculls crew of Esther Lofgren (Newport Beach, Calif.), Susan Francia (Abington, Pa.), Kara Kohler (Clayton, Calif.) and Stesha Carle (Long Beach, Calif.) also finished second in its heat to Poland.
The USA 2 entry of Megan Kalmoe (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) and Adrienne Martelli (University Place, Wash.) finished fourth in its heat in a 6:57.82, and will race in Saturday’s rep against Hungary, Germany, New Zealand and Canada for a place in the final.
In the men’s pair, Taylor Brown (Winter Park, Fla.) and Michael DiSanto (Boston, Mass.) finished fourth in the morning heat, and then fourth in its repechage. Brown and DiSanto will now race in the C Final for places 13-18.
The U.S. women’s eight will take to the water Saturday at 11:36 a.m. local time for its exhibition race. Coxswain Katelin Snyder (Detroit, Mich.), Heidi Robbins (Hanover, N.H.), Vicky Opitz (Middleton, Wis.), Caroline Lind (Greensboro, N.C.), Grace Luczak (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Lauren Schmetterling (Moorestown, N.J.), Emily Regan (Buffalo, N.Y.), Kerry Simmonds (San Diego, Calif.) and Amanda Polk (Pittsburgh, Pa.) will race crews from Canada, Great Britain, Germany, New Zealand and Romania.
For more information, visit www.worldrowing.com.
The World Cup finals will be video-streamed live on Sunday, July 14 at www.worldrowing.com/video.