The first stage of the 2012 Samsung World Rowing Cup series in Belgrade, Serbia resulted in two medals for U.S. crews – silver for Eleanor Logan (Boothbay Harbor, Maine) and Erin Cafaro (Modesto, Calif.), and bronze for Taylor Ritzel (Larkspur, Colo.) and Caroline Lind (Greensboro, N.C.) in the women’s pair event.
BELGRADE, Serbia – The first stage of the 2012 Samsung World Rowing Cup series in Belgrade, Serbia resulted in two medals for U.S. crews – silver for Eleanor Logan
(Boothbay Harbor, Maine) and Erin Cafaro
(Modesto, Calif.), and bronze for Taylor Ritzel
(Larkspur, Colo.) and Caroline Lind
(Greensboro, N.C.) in the women’s pair event.
Logan and Cafaro, Beijing gold medalists in the women’s eight and winners of the first National Selection Regatta, won their heat and placed second to Ritzel and Lind in the semifinal.
In the final, it was Great Britain’s Helen Glover and Heather Stanning that got off the line first with a high stroke rate, holding off USA 2’s Ritzel and Lind. Meanwhile, in sixth place with 500 meters down, the USA 1 entry of Logan and Cafaro began to walk through the field, overtaking their U.S. teammates for the second-place position by the 800-meter mark.
In the final sprint, Logan and Cafaro upped their stroke rate to 41, but it wasn’t enough to catch the Brits. Glover and Stanning, who won silver in the event at the last two world championships, posted a 7:00.61 for the gold medal, with Logan and Cafaro 1.18 seconds back in 7:01.79.
“The race was pretty fast and it was hard under the weather conditions,” said Logan. “It was good to test our speed and pretty much exciting. I enjoyed it.”
Ritzel and Lind finished in the bronze medal position, well ahead of The Netherlands, in 7:03.47.
“I thought it was a great race for the USA,” said Ritzel. “It was a great first race of the season. Our last race was at the world championships last year. I am proud of my team.”
The top-four world cup finish qualifies Logan and Cafaro for the 2012 Olympic team, a commitment they have until May 30 to accept. If the crew declines its berth, the event will be included in the 2012 Olympic Trials – Rowing June 11-14 in West Windsor, N.J.
The U.S. lightweight women’s double sculls crew of Julie Nichols
(Livermore, Calif.) and Kristin Hedstrom
(Concord, Mass.) finished sixth in its final. Crossing over the 1,000-meter mark, the duo was in fourth place, a position that would qualify them for the 2012 Olympic team.
Nichols and Hedstrom slipped back in the last half of the race, however, crossing in 7:00.76. Greece’s Christina Giazitzidou and Alexandra Tsiavou led from wire-to-wire to win the gold medal in 6:55.04, with Great Britain (6:55.51) and China (6:56.01) rounding out the podium.
The U.S. crew will have another opportunity for a top-four finish and Olympic berth at the second World Rowing Cup May 25-27 in Lucerne, Switzerland. Should Nichols and Hedstrom not qualify, the event will be included in the 2012 Olympic Trials – Rowing in June.
Also in the hunt for medals Sunday, the U.S. women’s quadruple sculls crew advanced through the reps on Saturday to finish fourth in the final. Kate Bertko
(Oakland, Calif.), Kara Kohler
(Clayton, Calif.), Kady Glessner
(Seattle, Wash.) and Stesha Carle
(Long Beach, Calif.) were in sixth place at the 500-meter mark, but worked its way through the pack to the third-place position by the halfway point.
Great Britain responded in the final 500 meters to claim the bronze-medal spot in 6:25.23 to the U.S. crew’s 6:31.94. Ukraine won the gold medal (6:20.37), with Germany silver in a 6:22.90.
After missing a spot in the finals, New Fairfield, Conn. native Ken Jurkowski
ended his World Rowing Cup I journey with a 12th-place finish in the men’s single sculls, arguably the most competitive event at the regatta.
Czech Republic’s Ondrej Synek, 2010 world champion and 2011 silver medalist, won the event, with Great Britain’s Alan Campbell silver and Cuba’s Angel Fournier Rodriguez in third.
Like the lightweight women’s double, Jurkowski will have another opportunity for a top-four finish and Olympic berth at the second World Rowing Cup. Should he not qualify, the men’s single will be included in the 2012 Olympic Trials – Rowing in June.
For complete 2012 Samsung World Rowing Cup results and medal table, visit www.worldrowing.com
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