Monday Olympic Preview: Five U.S. Crews in Action
July 29, 2012
LONDON – Two boats that have been waiting the longest to get started will row to the line tomorrow morning for the first heats of their Olympic quest at Eton Dorney.
The women’s double sculls team of Sarah Trowbridge (Guilford, Conn.) and Margot Shumway (Westlake, Ohio) will race at 10:30 a.m. against Germany, Ukraine, Australia and Poland, with the top two boats advancing to the final on Friday.
The U.S. avoided facing the favored British duo of Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins, who are the best hope for Great Britain to win its first women’s gold medal in Olympic rowing history. They have not lost since teaming together in 2010.
But they will face Australia’s Kim Crow and Brooke Pratley. With Pratley injured earlier this year, Crow jumped into the single and is now rowing in both events. When they finally did race this year, Crow and Pratley finished second to the Brits.
Poland’s Magdalena Fularczyk and Julia Michalska will also be stiff competition. They were the first Polish women rowers to win a world championship in 2009.
In the men’s four, the crew of Scott Gault (Piedmont, Calif.), Henrik Rummel (Pittsford, N.Y.), Charlie Cole (New Canaan, Conn.) and Glenn Ochal (Philadelphia, Pa.) will race at 11:00 a.m. and go up against The Netherlands, Italy, and Greece with the top three advancing to the semifinal on Thursday.
The four qualified at the world championships last summer, but finished one spot out of the medals. With a two changes to the crew, they are untested in competition.
Great Britain has won the event the last three Olympics and they are the defending world champions. Andrew Triggs Hodge and Pete Reed are the top Brit sweep rowers and Tom James and Alex Gregory return from last year’s championship crew.
Australia is also among the possible winners and defeated the British in the third Samsung World Rowing Cup in Munich this year. The Australians row in the first heat and the Brits go in the second heat, but the U.S. will face Greece who were the silver medalists in the 2010 World Rowing Championships.
In repechage, or second-chance racing, three crews will again attempt to advance.
The U.S. crew of Adrienne Martelli (University Place, Wash.), Megan Kalmoe (St. Croix Falls, Wis.), Kara Kohler (Clayton, Calif.) and Natalie Dell (Clearville, Pa.) finished second in its Saturday heat and will now row for a shot at the Thursday final.
They will face Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Poland and China, with the top four boats advancing to the final. Germany and Ukraine advanced into the final Saturday, but the U.S. was second only in time to Great Britain of the remaining crews.
In the men’s quad, the crew of Elliot Hovey (Manchester-By-The-Sea, Mass.), Peter Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio), Alex Osborne (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) and Wes Piermarini (West Brookfield, Mass.) finished fourth in its heat and now races Italy, New Zealand and Switzerland, with the first three boats to cross the line advancing to the semifinal.
The U.S. has vowed to retool their race plan and will need a top performance as they go to the line with the slowest time of the crews in their race.
Finally, in the men’s pair, the crew of Silas Stafford (Santa Rosa, Calif.) and Tom Peszek (Farmington Hills, Mich.) finished last in its four-boat heat and will race again against Hungary, Serbia and Germany with three boats qualifying for the semifinals. Only Serbia had a better time than the U.S. in the opening heats.
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Ed Moran, Photos by Ed Hewitt, Row2k Media