SEVILLE, Spain – Four U.S. crews won medals on the first day of finals at the 2002 FISA World Rowing Championships on the Guadalquivir River in Seville, Spain. The men’s pair with coxswain and the women’s lightweight single sculls won silver medals, while the men’s lightweight single sculls and men’s lightweight eight won bronze medals.
Racing in its first international competition together, the men’s pair with coxswain of coxswain Joe Manion (Upper Darby, Pa.), Dana Schmunk (Chelsea, Mich.) and Daniel Beery (Oaktown, Ind.) used a strong second half of the race to win the silver medal in a time of 6:50.60. The trio finished 2.67 seconds behind the gold medal crew from Germany. The American crew was able to execute its race plan very effectively. Although it sat in fourth place after the first 1,000 meters, the U.S. boat was in range of the top three crews for its patented second-half move. Manion, Schmunk and Beery proceeded to pass the Romanian crew and then the Australians in the third 500 meters to take second place. Although the crew cut into Germany’s lead over the last quarter of the race, it was unable to challenge for the gold medal. Australia won the bronze medal. For the United States, it was the fifth medal in six years in the men’s pair with coxswain.
“We wanted to keep close to everyone through the first 1,000, catch up with anyone that was ahead of us in the third 500 and then use our sprint if we had anything left,” Schmunk said. “We did make a move through Romania and Australia in the third 500, but we didn’t have enough left to catch the Germans.”
Lisa Schlenker (Lake Oswego, Ore.) also brought home a silver medal with a second-place finish in the women’s lightweight single sculls. Schlenker, who won the silver medal in 1999 as well, clocked a 7:30.56 to finish 1.67 seconds behind Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Dimitrova. Spain’s Maria Mas De Xaxars Rivero won the bronze medal in a 7:31.21. Schlenker got off to a solid start and sat in the second position behind Dimitrova at the 500-meter mark, 2.34 seconds behind. The American slowly cut into the deficit throughout the next 1,000 meters and trailed by less than one second with 500 meters to go. However, the Bulgarian was able to keep Schlenker at bay and hold on for the gold medal.
“I knew Spain and Bulgaria were going to be there,” Schlenker said. “I love the tailwind conditions. I thought I had a good start, which is a huge improvement, and I just tried to find my base cadence. I knew Bulgaria was there. I have a little mantra that I say and it worked and I moved, but it wasn’t enough.”
After twice finishing fourth at the world championships in the men’s lightweight single sculls, the third time was a charm for Steve Tucker (Mooresville, Ind.) on Saturday as he reached the medal stand by finishing third. Tucker clocked a 6:52.94 to finish 3.08 seconds behind Ireland’s Sam Lynch, who won the gold medal. Italy’s Stefano Basalini claimed the silver medal in a time of 6:51.29. Tucker had a strong start on Saturday and sat in fourth position just 2.17 seconds behind Lynch at the 500-meter mark, and by the midway point of the race, he had overtaken second place. Tucker continued in second through the 1,500-meter mark before Basalini was able to chase him down in the final 500 meters. The bronze-medal performance was the best U.S. result in the event since 1992.
“I was surprised at the start that I wasn’t down by very much and I feel I might have paid for that at the end, but who knows if I would have been in the position to medal if I hadn’t,” Tucker said. “I’ve been fourth enough that that is actually what I was thinking of at the start – not being fourth. I thought I had a pretty good shot at second there for awhile, but the Italian was moving up at the same time I was dying off.”
For the second consecutive year, the men’s lightweight eight of coxswain Bill McManus (Smithville, N.J.), Matt Smith (Woodbridge, Va.), Tom Paradiso (Blue Bell, Pa.), Jon Douglas (Boxborough, Mass.), Erik Miller (Renton, Wash.), John Cashman (Sausalito, Calif.), Andrew Liverman (Oakton, Va.), Eric Feins (Rochester, N.Y.) and Gavin Blackmore (Worcester, Mass.) won the bronze medal. Racing in a final-only race, the U.S. crew clocked a 5:38.21 to finish 3.16 seconds behind the gold medalists from Italy. The Italian crew got off to a strong start, taking the lead by the 500-meter mark, and it was able to hold off every challenge from the rest of the field. The U.S. battled Germany and Denmark most of the way down the course and held second place at the midway point of the contest. But, the Germans were able to edge away from the American boat in the last half of the race to win the silver medal. For the U.S., it was the fifth consecutive year that the men’s lightweight eight has brought home a medal.
The women’s four of Wendy Wilbur (East Bridgewater, Mass.), Kate Ronkainen (Houston, Texas,), Whitney Webber (Sacramento, Calif.) and Katie Hammes (LaCrosse, Wis.) came in fifth in its final, clocking a 6:35.29 to finish 9.18 seconds behind the gold medalists from Australia. The crew got off to a solid start and sat in third position behind Australia and Canada at the 500-meter mark. However, the U.S. boat could not maintain its position, dropping to fourth at the midway point of the race and then to fifth with 500 meters remaining. Australia led from start to finish, stroking a 6:26.11 to win the gold medal. Canada finished second in a 6:28.32, while China won the bronze medal in a 6:31.28.
In the other finals, six world records were set in seven races. Women’s single sculler Rumyana Neykova of Bulgaria dominated the field and set a new world record, clocking a 7:07.71 to finish 4.03 seconds ahead of Belarus’ Ekaterina Karsten. Germany’s Marcel Hacker stroked a 6:36.33 to set a new world record in the men’s single sculls. Both the men and women’s pairs set new world records with the Romania’s Viorica Susanu and Georgeta Andrunache winning the women’s event in a 6:53.80 and Great Britain’s Matthew Pinsent and James Cracknell winning the men’s event in a 6:14.27. New Zealand’s Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell won the women’s double sculls in a world record time of 6:38.78, while Germany’s men’s four clocked a 5:41.35 to set a new world record. The only world record in an Olympic event that wasn’t broken was in the men’s double sculls where Hungary stroked a 6:05.74, 1.69 seconds off the world’s fastest time.
Four additional U.S. crews raced for final placing in the consolation finals.
The women’s double sculls tandem of Kelly Salchow (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Laurel Korholz (La Jolla, Calif.) finished second in its “B” final for an eighth-place finish overall. The duo got off the line in fourth position and remained in fourth through the 1,000-meter mark. Salchow and Korholz then made their move, passing Romania and Canada in the third quarter of the race to take over second place. The U.S. crew clocked a 6:54.80 to finish 3.06 seconds behind Lithuania.
In the men’s single sculls, Aquil Abdullah (Washington, D.C.) finished fifth in the “B” final to place 11th overall. Abdullah got off to a strong start and sat in second place at the 500-meter mark behind race leader Santiago Fernandez of Argentina. That’s when Italian sculler Luca Ghezzi began making his move, passing Abdullah in the second quarter of the race. Abdullah sat in third place at the 1,500-meter mark and tried to hold off Slovakia’s Jan Ziska and Bulgaria’s Yvo Yanakiev during the last 500 meters. However, Abdullah was unable to keep them at bay, dropping to fifth with a time of 6:56.38. Fernandez won the race in a time of 6:53.12.
The women’s pair of Megan Dirkmaat (San Jose, Calif.) and Portia Johnson (Seattle, Wash.) finished sixth in the “B” final for a 12th-place finish overall. The crew clocked a 7:22.96 to finish 10.43 seconds behind the winners from Russia. Dirkmaat and Johnson got off the line in fourth position and were never able to get back into the race, while Russia sat in second place for much of the race before overtaking Germany in the final 500 meters.
In the men’s four, Mark Flickinger (Corning, N.Y.), Luke McGee (Brant Lake, N.Y.), Beau Hoopman (Plymouth, Wis.) and Jason Read (Ringoes, N.J.) were battling Poland for second place in the “B” final when a boat-stopping crab in the final 50 meters caused the crew to drop to sixth place in the race and 12th place overall. The crew sat in third place for the majority of the race and was trying to move on Poland when the crab occurred. The U.S. boat ended up clocking a 6:16.66 to finish 22.53 seconds behind New Zealand and 21.06 seconds behind Poland.
Racing concludes Sunday with the last day of finals. The U.S. will have six crews racing for medals on Sunday.
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2002 FISA World Rowing Championships Results
Saturday, September 21, 2002
Final: 1. Australia, 6:26.11; 2. Canada, 6:28.32; 3. China, 6:31.28; 4. New Zealand, 6:34.25; 5. United States (Wilbur, Ronkainen, Webber, Hammes), 6:35.29; 6. Germany, 6:35.88.
Men’s Pair with Coxswain
Final: 1. Germany, 6:47.93; 2. United States (Manion, Schmunk, Beery), 6:50.60; 3. Australia, 6:53.77; 4. Romania, 6:55.27; 5. Spain, 6:57.63; 6. Italy, 7:18.35.
Women’s Lightweight Single Sculls (Final A Places 1-6; Final B Places 7-12)
Final A: 1. Bulgaria, 7:28.89; 2. United States (Schlenker), 7:30.56; 3. Spain, 7:31.21; 4. Croatia, 7:34.45; 5. Czech Republic, 7:36.22; 6. Netherlands, 7:39.19.
Final B: 1. Germany, 7:42.16; 2. Romania, 7:43.79; 3. Canada, 7:44.94; 4. Greece, 7:46.13; 5. Great Britain, 7:50.07; Switzerland, DNS.
Men’s Lightweight Single Sculls (Final A Places 1-6; Final B Places 7-12)
Final A: 1. Ireland, 6:49.86; 2. Italy, 6:51.29; 3. United States (Tucker), 6:52.94; 4. Germany, 6:56.38; 5. Australia, 6:58.31; 6. Japan, 7:00.49.
Final B: 1. Czech Republic, 6:58.87; 2. Slovakia, 7:01.10; 3. Mexico, 7:03.13; 4. Spain, 7:05.86; 5. Guatemala, 7:08.20; 6. South Africa, 7:12.79.
Men’s Lightweight Eight
Final: 1. Italy, 5:35.05; 2. Germany, 5:56.51; 3. United States (McManus, Smith, Paradiso, Douglas, Miller, Liverman, Cashman, Feins, Blackmore), 5:38.21; 4. Denmark, 5:40.65; 5. Great Britain, 5:44.60; 6. El Salvador, 6:07.75.
Women’s Single Sculls (Final A Places 1-6; Final B Places 7-12)
Final A: 1. Bulgaria (Rumyana Neykova), 7:07.71 (World Record); 2. Belarus, 7:11.74; 3. Germany, 7:12.07; 4. China, 7:14.32; 5. Italy, 7:24.69; 6. Russia, 7:27.21.
Final B: 1. Great Britain, 7:30.44; 2. Spain, 7:30.52, 3. Netherlands, 7:34.36; 4. Cuba, 7:35.14; 5. New Zealand, 7:35.34; 6. Hungary, 7:36.34.
Men’s Single Sculls (Final A Places 1-6; Final B Places 7-12)
Final A: 1. Germany (Marcel Hacker), 6:36.33 (World Record); 2. Slovenia, 6:39.00; 3. Norway, 6:39.45; 4. Czech Republic, 6:41.60; 5. Netherlands, 6:47.18; 6. Austria, 6:55.67.
Final B: 1. Argentina, 6:53.12; 2. Italy, 6:54.28; 3. Slovakia, 6:55.25; 4. Bulgaria, 6:55.90; 5. United States (Abdullah), 6:56.38; 6. Finland, 7:07.92.
Women’s Pair (Final A Places 1-6; Final B Places 7-12)
Final A: 1. Romania, 6:53.80 (World Record); 2. Canada, 6:57.08; 3. Belarus, 6:59.21; 4. Ukraine, 7:02.62; 5. South Africa, 7:06.51; 6. Australia, 7:08.60.
Final B: 1. Russia, 7:12.53; 2. Germany, 7:13.19; 3. France, 7:14.06; 4. New Zealand, 7:16.54; 5. Bulgaria, 7:18.69; 6. United States (Dirkmaat, Johnson), 7:22.96.
Men’s Pair (Final A Places 1-6; Final B Places 7-12)
Final A: 1. Great Britain, 6:14.27 (World Record); 2. South Africa, 6:15.60; 3. Croatia, 6:15.97; 4. Australia, 6:16.02; 5. Yugoslavia, 6:21.32; 6. Czech Republic, 6:21.73.
Final B: 1. Canada, 6:28.45; 2. Lithuania, 6:28.89; 3. Brazil, 6:29.63; 4. Argentina, 6:35.45; 5. Italy, 6:40.34; 6. Egypt, 6:45.42.
Women’s Double Sculls (Final A Places 1-6; Final B Places 7-11)
Final A: 1. New Zealand, 6:38.78 (World Record); 2. Russia, 6:41.06; 3. Italy, 6:41.65; 4. Great Britain, 6:44.27; 5. Germany, 6:46.59; 6. France, 6:49.48.
Final B: 1. Lithuania, 6:51.74; 2. United States (Salchow, Korholz), 6:54.80; 3. Canada, 6:56.38; 4. Poland, 7:04.46; 5. Romania, 7:19.47.
Men’s Double Sculls (Final A Places 1-6; Final B Places 7-12)
Final A: 1. Hungary, 6:05.74; 2. Italy, 6:06.93; 3. Germany, 6:07.77; 4. Australia, 6:08.82; 5. Czech Republic, 6:14.79; 6. Great Britain, 6:16.54.
Final B: 1. France, 6:12.87; 2. Cuba, 6:13.35; 3. Brazil, 6:16.64; 4. Lithuania, 6:16.76; 5. Austria, 6:16.82; 6. Ukraine, 6:19.96.
Men’s Four (Final A Places 1-6; Final B Places 7-12)
Final A: 1. Germany, 5:41.35 (World Record); 2. Great Britain, 5:41.60; 3. Italy, 5:44.12; 4. Slovenia, 5:44.99; 5. Netherlands, 5:48.46; 6. France, 5:52.02.
Final B: 1. New Zealand, 5:54.13; 2. Poland, 5:56.00; 3. Denmark, 5:58.50; 4. Bulgaria, 6:00.56; 5. Czech Republic, 6:04.53; 6. United States (Flickinger, McGee, Hoopman, Read), 6:16.66.