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Blog Contributors
Ed Hewitt
Ed Hewitt is the publisher of
Erik Dresser
Erik Dresser is row2k's Assistant Editor
Gevvie Stone
First-time Olympian Gevvie Stone is the USA W1x
Jamie Redman
World Champion Jamie Redman rows in the USA W8+
Jimmy Sopko
Three-time senior team member Jimmy Sopko rows in the USA LM8+
John FX Flynn
John is row2k's East Coast correspondent & resident results-monger
Kristin Hedstrom
Three-time senior team member Kristin Hedsrom sculls the bow seat of the USA LW2x
Megan Kalmoe
Olympian Megan Kalmoe is the 3-seat of the USA W4x
Rares Crisan
Crisan is a member of the Canadian LM4-
Trish Downing
Wheelchair racer and triathlete, USA ASW1x Trish Downing is making her World Rowing debut
Most Recent Posts by this Author
Getting to London, Final Look
posted by: John FX Flynn (September 4, 2011)
click for full size image!

USA M4x making sure they are 'On to London'

Final installment of row2k's daily look at which US crews are On to London, and which are now Facing Final Qualification. 

On to London: W4x, W2-, W8, M4x, M2-, M1x, M4-, LW2x
The US didn't collect any more spots on the final day, and so the team returns from Bled with 8 guaranteed spots for London, out of the 14 Olympic events they entered. 

How is that as a tally? Obviously, not nearly enough for the athletes in the six boats that didn't make the cut--and particularly bad if you happen to be a lightweight male Olympic hopeful--but here is some context:

Great Britain qualified 13, the most of any nation in their run-up to the home Olympics. Team GB missed only in the W1x, and there just barely when Frances Houghton finished one place shy. Germany also went after all 14 events and gobbled up 12 spots, with just the women's eight and pair falling short (somewhat inexplicably). 

New Zealand and Australia entered fewer events, but like GB, also qualified all but one: the Kiwis went 11 for 12, faltering in the M8, and the Aussies went 10 for 11, with just Nick Hudson in the single running into trouble.

The US total of eight ranks next, tied with China (which also went 8 for 14) followed by the seven spots collected by Canada and Italy, both of which missed in three of the ten events they contested: Canada falling short in the LM4-, W2-, and W2x; Italy in the M2x, M1x, and W4x. (China, for the record, missed in both eights, the M2-, M2x, M4-, and M4x).

Facing Final Qualification: M2x, LM4-, LM2x, M8+, W2x, W1x
Any US athletes hoping to race in these events at the London Games will have to win their respective trials in early spring, then head to Lucerne in the late spring and secure a podium-worthy performance--or better--before a summer in London is even an option. Whoa: no wonder one New Zealand paper is already calling the Final Qualifier the "regatta of death." Here, again, is just how high the stakes are for each crew:

Men's eight: must finish first
Men's double: must finish top two
Women's double: must finish top two
Women's single: must finish top three
Light Men's four: must finish top two
Light Men's double: must finish top two

Of course it is hard to say just who the competition will be, but it is a good bet that the competition will be stiff. New Zealand's eight is already planning to go and it is hard to imagine Canada's lightweight four skipping the Olympics altogether. Add to that a host of European sculling nations, and that weekend in Lucerne promises to be a heater.

Paralympic Qualification
On the Adaptive side, which we've also been watching, the criterion in all four events was a top-eight finish, so the US won two spots there, when the LTAMix Four and Ron Harvey, in the ASM1x, made the A Finals.  

In the other two events, the ASW1x and TAMix2x, the US adaptive athletes made the B Final, but finished in 10th and 9th respectively, so those boats will need to be qualified with a good result next summer in order to make it to the Paralympics.

Olympic Qualification Summary - USA (Final)
14 Olympic Events total
In = 8 - W4x, W2-, W8, M4x, M2-, M1x, M4-, LW2x
Out = 6 - M2x, LM4-, LM2x, M8+, W2x, W1x

See also: 
Getting to London Tuesday update
Getting to London Wednesday update
Getting to London Thursday update 
Getting to London Friday update 
Getting to London Saturday update

USA M4x making sure they are 'On to London' - Click for full-size image!

Getting to London, Fifth Look
posted by: John FX Flynn (September 3, 2011)
click for full size image!

USA M4 now 'On to London'

row2k's daily look at which US crews are On to London, Still Alive, or now Facing Final Qualification. 

The USA finally had a big day in Bled, grabbing five of the remaining seven Olympic bids they are chasing. Two came from making the A Final outright, in the M4 and LW2x, leaving those crews to concentrate on medals in the Final without the worry of qualification. The other three came on the last try, in the sort of all-to-chance B Finals these Championships have been rife with. 

On to London: M4x, M2-, M1x, M4-, LW2x
All week, we've seen crews exultant to qualify before their final race, and the US finally had two crews today who could celebrate just that. The M4- rowed an exceptional semi, coming in second just behind the GB four, and can now focus on a medal with the London berth secured. The LW2x, on a tear all year, took perhaps the most important step of all today: coming in a comfortable third to move to the final and lock up London--and likely doing so without showing all of their cards. 

In "last chance" B Finals, the M4x, M2- and M1x all made the top 11 overall and emerged with bids intact. The quad raced ahead of the cut line the whole way, moving from fourth to third to second in the end, catching everyone but the much chagrined GBR quad who'd figured to medal in Bled, at the very least. The pair flirted with the back of the back as late as the third 500, but another stunning drop of the hammer nearly pushed them as high as second and they took third by open water.

Men's single sculler Ken Jurkowski cut it the closest, down a bit in last at the thousand and finishing in fifth for the 11th and final spot. He's a canny racer, though, and he really did all he needed to do: there were no prizes better than the Olympic spot on offer, and any spot but last was good for London.

Still Alive: W1x
The last bid still undecided for the US rests in the hands of Gevvie Stone in the W1x. Stone had a chance to qualify today by making the A Final, but that would have required a more than mild upset. That said, she raced well in the semi, running fourth much of the way before heading to the B Final in fifth. Racing in that petite will be tough, since only the top three finishers can qualify, but her times today show her very much in the mix. That's a good spot to be in for a relatively young sculler who missed the semis in Lucerne altogether (if barely)--and, as we've seen with qualifying all week, anything can happen out on the race course.

Facing Final Qualification: W2x
The US did wind up on the wrong side of one tight finish today, when the W2x lost their dual with China for second place in the B Final of that event. Just 2.5 seconds separated first through third, but Germany and China got the last two spots, and the W2x will be the one crew on the women's side that will have to race the Qualifier next June.

Olympic Qualification Summary - USA (as of Saturday)
14 Olympic Events total
In = 8 - W4x, W2-, W8, M4x, M2-, M1x, M4-, LW2x
Out = 5 - M2x, LM4-, LM2x, M8+, W2x
TBD = 1 (W1x)

See also: 
Getting to London Tuesday update
Getting to London Wednesday update
Getting to London Thursday update 
Getting to London Friday update


USA M4 now 'On to London' - Click for full-size image!

Getting to London, Fourth Look
posted by: John FX Flynn (September 2, 2011)
click for full size image!

USA W8: 'On to London' as World Champs

row2k's daily look at which US crews are On to London, Still Alive, or now Facing Final Qualification. 

US Women's eight takes care of business, and will head to London to defend the Olympic title. Friday's semis and finals could have ended with as many as five Olympic bids in hand, but misses in the four US semis today deferred the final reckoning in the M4x, M2-, W2x and M1x. 

On to London: W8
No such thing as a foregone conclusion in any event, but the USA Women's eight, a five-time defending champion who laid down the fastest heat time, sure looked like a good bet to take the top five finish they needed to qualify. The US certainly looked like they were taking a "qualify first, then chase the leader" approach, and the result was a thrilling duel with Canada that the Americans won in the end, again.

Still Alive: M4x, M2-, W2x, M1x
The four US crews in today's semifinals could have qualified by winning a spot in the A Final, but fourth for the M2-, and fifth in the W2x, M4x, and M1x means a trip to the petites across the board. All are still alive, though, and will have a shot at London when they race the B Final on Saturday.

The women's double will have to match the pair's result from Thursday: only 1st or 2nd in the B Final is good enough for London. For the M4x, M2-, and M1x, the door is propped a bit wider: 5th or better in the petite would give them the top 11 finish FISA requires. 

The M4-, LW2x, and Gevvie Stone in the W1x also with a chance to wrap up qualification on Saturday, in the semis of those three events, by making it to the A Final. That won't be the final chance for those events: the M4- and LW2x will still have a top 11 shot in the B Final, if needed, while the top 3 spots in the W1x petite still count for London.

These "top 11" crews might sound like they have it made even in the B Final--just one crew to beat right?--but Friday's B Finalists in the LM4- might beg to differ. With one crew destined to be out of the London running, that final saw the WHOLE field within 1.8 seconds at the line, a closed-water finish that put South Africa in the final spot by just 0.6 over Serbia. Wow.  

Facing Final Qualification: 
No changes to this category on Friday

Olympic Qualification Summary - USA (as of Friday)
14 Olympic Events total
In = 3 - W4x, W2-, W8
Out = 4 - M2x, LM4-, LM2x, M8+
TBD = 7

USA W8: 'On to London' as World Champs - Click for full-size image!

Getting to London, Third Look
posted by: John FX Flynn (September 1, 2011)
click for full size image!

USA W2- is 'On to London'

row2k's daily look at which US crews are On to London, Still Alive, or now Facing Final Qualification. 

Thursday's racing centered on just two Olympic spots for the USA, and all hinged on whether the Men's eight and women's pair could salvage a bid in their respective B Finals

On to London: W2-
After missing the A Final, the W2- needed to be at least second in the petite, and after a wild race, the US got it done, just: in the 8th and final spot, and in there by inches. The Italians prevailed in a four-way battle that went the full 2k, while the US took the last London spot in a photo finish over Canada. The Canadians and fourth place Germany lost out on the chance for London altogether here. Germany's sweep women, having also missed the cut in the eight already, now face the prospect of zero guaranteed spots in London.

Still Alive: Five for Friday
No changes to this category on Thursday, but Friday's racing could see the US lock up at least five bids, including the Women's eight. Here's how:

The women's eight, racing in the A final after winning their heat easily, needs to finish fifth or better to qualify; the sixth place crew will be left to face the final qualifier next June.

The four US crews in Friday's semifinals--M4x, M2-, W2x, and Ken Jurkowski in the 1x--can grab an Olympic spot outright by making the A Final, but none can be eliminated from the qualification race on Friday. The M4x, M2-, and M1x could still qualify from the B final by finishing 11th or better overall, while the W2x would be safe anywhere in the top eight spots. 

Facing Final Qualification: Men's 8
Ukraine harried the US right to the line in the semi yesterday, and finished the job today, winning the petite and snatching the final Olympic qualifying spot. The US M8 started down, then charged through France, the Czechs, and China, but could not catch the Ukranians. So, just eight years removed from Olympic Gold and four from the bronze in Beijing, the US men's eight now faces the very real possibility of missing the London Games altogether.  

For the men's eights, only one spot is available at the Final Qualification regatta, so an outright win next June is now the USA's only chance to keep up a run of Olympic appearances that stretches back (apart from the 1980 boycott) to the very first Olympiad. It is hard to predict who the US men might face, but the Qualifier will also be the only recourse for the Czech Republic, New Zealand, and a French program that also has a quartet of World Champions who missed qualifying in the four. Since we are already speculating wildly here, it is also quite possible that an entry from the Italians or Russians, both of who skipped the eight in 2011, could make an appearance. Daunting indeed, and a tremendous disappointment for USRowing. 

Olympic Qualification Summary - USA (as of Thursday)
14 Olympic Events total
In = 2 - W4x, W2-
Out = 4 - M2x, LM4-, LM2x, M8+
TBD = 8

See also: 
Getting to London Tuesday update
Getting to London Wednesday update

USA W2- is  'On to London' - Click for full-size image!

Getting to London, Second Look
posted by: John FX Flynn (August 31, 2011)
click for full size image!

USA M4: in the semis, 'still alive'


Wednesday's racing had six of the remaining 13 Olympic events in the balance for the US, and while none of the crews locked up the chance to move on, the morning ended with five crews "still alive" in the hunt for London.

Here again, row2k's daily look at which US crews are On to London, Still Alive, or now Facing Final Qualification: 

On to London: None for US
Only two Olympic events--W2- and M8--went to semis today, and both US crews missed out on an A Final spot that would have punched their ticket today.

As the regatta hits full stride, however, plenty of nations were clearly gunning for spots within the qualification number, and in these events, making the A Final got the job done. Quite a few "faves" made the cut--like the NZL W2-, GBR W2-, ROU W2-, GER M8, GBR M8, and CAN M8--but we also saw the kind of inspired racing that the added stakes can create from a few crews. This was especially true in the women's pair: South Africa sent Italy out of the final in the last 1000, and Australia nearly caught New Zealand in their push to stay qualified ahead of the Romanians and Americans.

Still Alive: W2-, M8, M4-, M1x, W1x
The semi results in the W2- and M8, while not ideal, don't end things for either crew. In the B Finals, a top two finish for the pair and a win by the eight--for 7th place-- will meet the qualification standard. It does put some extra pressure on, to be sure, and the women will be facing a few crews bound and determined to get to London, including the Italians, Belorussians, Canadians, and Germans. The Men's eight, which must now win out, will have to reprise a tight finish over the Ukrainian crew that nearly caught them in the semi, and contend with China,  France, and the Kiwi eight.

For the M4-, who won the rep they nearly escaped altogether in Sunday's photo finish, a spot in the semi puts them in much the same shape as the M2-: with 11 crews heading to London, the US four essentially has one crew to beat out of the round of twelve. That would be the qualification mark met, of course, but the four is the flagship of the US men's fleet here in Bled, so watch for them to be racing that semi to make the A Final and the podium as well.

USA W1x Gevvie Stone took 3rd in her rep to keep the US's chances in the W1x alive. Her run into the semis puts her ahead of her results from Lucerne--where she missed the semis and went on to take 13th--but here she will need a top 9 finish to earn a qualifying spot, so here's hoping her upward trend continues in the last two rounds of racing.

In the M1x, Ken Jurkowski moved into the semis from the quarterfinal round and, with 11 scullers getting the London nod, he too has just one man to beat as far as qualification goes. Jurkowski, of course, did not have the luxury of a guaranteed Olympic spot when he won the US Trials in 2008. He earned his Olympic berth the other hard way--because none of this is supposed to be easy--at the 2008 Final Qualifier, by rowing down Lithuiania's Mindaugas Griskonis in Poznan. That year, he was relatively new to the single; this year, coming off a strong 4th place showing in Lucerne, Jurkowski is on form to qualify the US a good ten months earlier than last time out.

Facing Final Qualification: LM2x
The LM2x got themselves within striking distance of the third and final transfer spot in their quarterfinal, but Portugal would not yield their place and US duo are headed to the C/D semi. De Regt and Winter took 11th in Karapiro, which would have been enough, just, this year, but things are of course tightening up in this event as London approaches. Based just on today's results, the US can expect to face good lightweight nations like Switzerland, Spain and the Netherlands in the Final Qualifier.

Today's result also means that the US now has zero spots for lightweight men at the London Games heading into 2012, which changes the run-up to London big time on the lightweight side.

Olympic Qualification Summary - US (as of Wednesday)
14 Olympic Events total
In = 1 - W4x
Out = 3 - M2x, LM4-, LM2x
TBD = 10

See also: Getting to London Tuesday update


USA M4: in the semis, 'still alive' - Click for full-size image!

Getting to London, First Look
posted by: John FX Flynn (August 30, 2011)
click for full size image!

USA W4x: through GB, straight 'On to London'

Getting to London is the massive subtext of the Bled Worlds, as we discussed earlier in the week. Now that the first set of reps have come and gone, the Olympic Qualification picture is a bit clearer for some US crews and, sad to say, starkly bleak for others. 


Here's row2k's first daily quick look at which US crews are On to London, Still Alive, or now Facing Final Qualification: 

On to London: Women's Quad

A stunning win by the W4x in their rep gave the US their first confirmed bid for London this morning. With the top eight getting the Olympic nod in this event, the USA's spot in the A Final assures them of place in London. The race was every bit worthy of the stakes: with the US coming from behind to hold a narrow lead through the second 1000. Withstanding desperate charges by both the defending Olympic champ Chinese and Defending World champ Brits, the Americans held on to win . . . and less than a second separated all three, with the British--shockingly--headed to the B final.  

The Brits were devastated, naturally, but FISA has seven spots for London on offer here in Bled, so the GBR quad can still get a London bid here this week with a win in the B Final.

Still Alive: Women's Double, Men's Pair

Good reps by both the W2x and M2- keep Olympic spots on the table for the US in those events. The W2x won their rep handily, considering the dire race for second place behind them, and will need to either make the A Final or come top 2 in the B Final to make the top-8 cut. Bertko and Trowbridge took eighth in Lucerne, and will need to maintain, or better that place as the week unfolds. Today's race was an excellent step in that direction.

The M2- looked to be on shaky ground to start the week: needing to place in the top 11, the US managed just 16th place in Lucerne. Things stayed shaky in the early going of the rep today, that is until Pescek and Stangel rowed the Czechs down, and then out, moving on to the semis in second place. That semi berth puts the US in a much better spot: now Peszek and Stangel essentially have just one crew to beat for qualification...and a great race in the semi could, of course, even win them a spot in the A Final.

Facing Final Qualification: Men's Double, Light Men's Four

Both the M2x and LM4- raced some brutal reps today, and the results put both out of the A/B semi and any hope of the top 11 finish they needed to give the US an Olympic spot in these events.

Now any chance the US has of racing either in London will have to rest in a top 2 finish at the Final Qualification regatta in next summer's run up to the Games. Those top two places won't be easy to come by either., because today's reps put some other very talented squads out of the mix. There is also still one semi-finalist who will, eventually, take 12th place in Bled and could head to the Final Qualifier as well. 

In the double, Ukraine, Poland, and Italy also missed the semis, and we can presume they will boat good doubles to race next summer for the final spots. If anything, the always tight light four field could be even tougher at the Final Qualifier, because joining the US in the C/D Semi will be Canada, Austria, Russia, and the Dutch crew who had a late substitution today. All are countries equally capable of producing an Olympic qualifier, and will be driven to do so now that things went sour in Bled.


Olympic Qualification Summary - US (as of Tuesday)

14 Olympic Events total

In = 1 - W4x

Out = 2 - M2x, LM4-

TBD = 11



USA W4x: through GB, straight 'On to London' - Click for full-size image!


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