Historic Results for United States Crews at 2013 Samsung World Rowing Cup #3
July 14, 2013
LUCERNE, Switzerland – From outstanding, gold-medal performances on the men’s side, to setting a new world best time in the women’s eight, the 2013 World Rowing Cup #3 was a memorable one for the eight United States crews that won medals on the Rotsee. Nine of the 31 athletes that stood on the podium this weekend were racing internationally at the senior level for the first time in their rowing careers.
U.S. women’s single sculler Eleanor Logan said it best, moments before accepting her silver medal – her fourth of the 2013 World Cup series and one of eight for the U.S. in Lucerne, Switzerland.
“The team right now has a really positive vibe – the men and the women. The future looks really good right now. We all know it’s 2013 and Rio is a ways away, but this is a good base layer.”
The United States ended the regatta at the top of the Lucerne world cup standings, based on points accumulated across all events, while Great Britain won the overall 2013 World Cup points trophy.
In addition, three crews – the women’s double sculls, lightweight women’s double sculls and women’s pair – earned the opportunity to race at the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju, South Korea, August 25-September 1.
Women’s Eight – Gold, New World Best Time (5:54.16)
The U.S. women’s eight set the stage in Saturday’s race for lanes, winning by 7.2 seconds over the field. Then in the final, 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.) took the lead off the start, and continued to take seats through the 500-mark before gaining open water on Canada and Romania at the halfway point.
“I knew that we were 2:55 or so at the thousand, and that was on pace, so we just tried to shift the focus internally and it worked,” said Snyder, who coxed the U.S. to a gold medal in 2009.
The United States had a clear lead coming into the finish area, and won the race by 6.2 seconds, beating the previous world best time of 5:54.17, set by the U.S. in Lucerne last year, by one-hundredth of a second. Romania took silver in 6:00.42, with Canada bronze in 6:01.61.
“This feels absolutely incredible,” said Robbins, stroke seat and 2013 Princeton University graduate. “It’s so neat to be racing here in Switzerland; it’s a dream come true. To do this is just phenomenal.
“It was very much internal from the beginning. I didn’t even see the crews next to me. Then Katelin made a call at the thousand with our time, and I just thought ‘it’s go time, just do it and see what you can do.’”
Lind is the only rower to return from the London crew that won gold at the 2012 Olympic Games. The rest of the lineup includes a mix of under 23 champions and recent training center athletes.
“For two girls, it’s their first international experience and there is just a lot of really positive energy,” said Snyder. “It’s fun to practice, and it’s even more fun to race. The dynamic on the team is really great, and I’m just excited to be part of it again.”
Men’s Eight – Gold
It’s been five years since a U.S. men’s boat, the 2008 men’s quadruple sculls, medaled at a world cup race. This year, the U.S. dominated both the men’s four and the men’s eight finals, bringing the total of men’s gold medals in world cup history up to seven.
In the men’s eight, 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.) won its heat Friday en route to the final.
On Sunday, when four-time defending world and Olympic champion Germany was first off the line, Vlahos was prepared for it.
“We won the heat, but we still knew that Germany would be really fast off the start,” said Vlahos. “We talked about it, and we knew we had to be prepared to be down going into that middle part of the race.
“We were confident in our base speed and we wanted to grind them down in the middle. Then it was ‘who wants it more’ in the last 500 meters. That is about as tight as it gets. We went up, and then they actually came back on us, and we ended up crossing the line first.”
The U.S. posted a 5:22.26, just 0.38 seconds ahead of Germany for the gold medal.
“We were just happy to be able to stick with them,” said Vlahos. “It was a race in the last 500 and we’re just happy to cross first today. Credit to the guys in the boat today; it was a gutsy performance. Time to go home and find some more speed.”
Men’s Four – Gold
Grant James (DeKalb, Ill.), Seth Weil (Menlo Park, Calif.), Henrik Rummel (Pittsford, N.Y.) and Mike Gennaro (Havertown, Pa.) swept the heat, semi and final of the men’s four event. The U.S. crew held off Australia in the sprint to win by just under a second in 5:50.78.
“This is our first chance at really racing this lineup internationally, and the first time I’m racing internationally,” said Weil. “So the goal was just to uncork it and see where the speed falls.
“The heat went well, so we tried it again in the semis, and then we knew we had good base speed in the final, so we just wanted to clean it up and execute. It was a learning process.
“I’m new (to the lineup) here, so it feels great on two fronts. One, because I’m so excited we have such a deep program coming off of the Olympics. Two, because this is a great group of guys. We have young coaches and young athletes, but we also have a lot of experience. So we have this very unique blend of energy. It’s great momentum. I can’t see us doing anything but getting faster between now and Rio. Everyone is really driven.”
“The U.S. team as a whole is in a much better spot right now than we were four years ago,” said Rummel, who won bronze in the event at the 2012 Olympic Games. “We have a full group training and fast people back in Princeton, ready to take our seats. We are excited for the road ahead.”
Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls – Silver
Coming off a pair of heat and semifinal wins, Kate Bertko (Oakland, Calif.) and Kristin Hedstrom (Concord, Mass.) were in first place in the final through the top half of the course, before Italy charged ahead to clock a new world best time in 6:52.41. Bertko and Hedstrom finished in 6:55.36, with New Zealand taking bronze in 6:57.31.
“I would say this was the best of the races we had here this weekend,” said Hedstrom, who competed in the event at the 2012 Olympic Games. “We haven’t had too many races together. This is our first international regatta, so we’re just building every piece and it felt like today was pretty solid.
“We had our race plan that we wanted to execute, and I think this regatta has been an experience in learning to work with each other,” said Bertko. “We just got together a couple of months ago. We were going for the win, of course, but I think we got a lot of good stuff out of it and we’re certainly hungry.”
Today’s world cup finish qualified both athletes for the 2013 U.S. National Team, and they will now have the opportunity to compete at the 2013 World Rowing Championships.
“We’re super excited about South Korea,” said Hedstrom. “It’s awesome to qualify here. That was obviously our goal going in to this regatta. Seeing the results from the heats and the semis, we thought, ‘hey, maybe we can just win the whole thing.’ But silver is always bittersweet.”
Women’s Single Sculls – Silver
Eleanor Logan (Boothbay Harbor, Maine) won her fourth world cup medal of the 2013 series – a silver – on Sunday in the women’s single. The two-time Olympic gold medalist won bronze in the single and silver in the quadruple sculls at World Rowing Cup #1 in Sydney, and then took bronze in the single in Eton at World Rowing Cup #2.
“I’m just trying to get better every race,” said Logan, who accepted her bid to the 2013 World Rowing Championships earlier this month. “The competition is fast. I’m just trying to stay really internal and focus on the things that I have to work on.”
Logan was fourth crossing over the 500-meter mark, but worked her way through a field of experienced scullers that included London gold medalist Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic, Kim Crow of Australia, who won bronze in this event at the 2012 Olympics, and Emma Twigg of New Zealand, who finished fourth in London last year and won gold in Eton.
Crow posted a 7:14.35 to win gold, while Logan edged out Knapkova by 0.36 seconds for silver in 7:16.08.
“It’s really awesome to line up with the majority of the people that were in my final,” said Logan. “I feel really lucky, and I’m having a lot of fun.”
Women’s Pair - Bronze
After winning Saturday’s repechage, 2012 Olympic gold medalist Meghan Musnicki (Naples, N.Y.) and under 23 champion Taylor Goetzinger (Mt. Pleasant, Mich.) rowed to a bronze medal in the women’s pair. Racing in their first international event as a team, the U.S. women clocked a 7:06.24 behind Great Britain (7:01.39) and New Zealand (7:02.35).
“It feels great to be in the medals,” said Goetzinger. “We were hoping to be a little bit closer to the top in this race, but we have definitely been gaining speed all weekend and it’s really exciting got be training in the pair with Meghan. We are hoping to find more speed as we go on. Things really just started to click this week during practice and we put in a lot of work and the boat was running great.”
“This is exciting – it’s Taylor’s first international race in the pair, and it’s always fun to get a medal in your first international race,” said Musnicki, who was in the pair and eight that won silver at World Rowing Cup #1. “We learned a lot, and we got a lot of racing in. New Zealand and GB are great teams, so it’s good to go out there and race against the top girls in the world.
“It was a great experience for us and we look forward to getting back to Princeton and finding some more speed.”
The world cup finish qualified both athletes for the 2013 U.S. National Team and they now have the opportunity to compete in the event at worlds in South Korea.
Women’s Double Sculls – Bronze
Two U.S. crews went to the line in the women’s double sculls final, but it was the USA 1 entry of Beijing Olympian Ellen Tomek (Flint, Mich.) and Meghan O'Leary (Baton Rouge, La.) that made it to the medal stand.
Tomek and O’Leary were in second over the first half of the course before falling back to New Zealand in the third quarter. Teammates in the USA 2 entry, Megan Kalmoe (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) and Adrienne Martelli (University Place, Wash.), were back in sixth place at each of the 500-meter marks.
Like the lightweight women’s double and women’s pair, the third-place finish gives Tomek and O’Leary the opportunity to race at the world championships.
“Our goal was to qualify and our goal was to win,” said O’Leary. “We got one of those goals, and now we have the opportunity to see where we need to go to do what we want to do in South Korea.”
“It was a good race,” said Tomek. “We were aggressive and we followed our race plan. It was a little bit higher and harder than our heat on Friday, but obviously not quite fast enough for the win. We’re happy with it, because we did qualify. We set ourselves up and put ourselves in a good position.
“This field is quick,” she continued. “We’ve got a lot of people who are just going for it from stroke one, and a lot of new faces and some more accomplished rowers as well. It’s a good spread of talent, and to find us in the pack and in the hunt, I’m really happy. I mean, racing (Belarus’ four-time Olympic medalist Ekaterina) Karsten, twice, is pretty amazing.”
Women’s Quadruple Sculls – Sixth
As the men’s four stood on shore preparing for its medal ceremony, the U.S. women’s quad, in fourth place with 300 meters to go, caught a crab just before the grandstands, breaking bow-seat’s port oar in half.
Esther Lofgren (Newport Beach, Calif.), Susan Francia (Abington, Pa.), Kara Kohler (Clayton, Calif.) and Stesha Carle (Long Beach, Calif.), who won Saturday’s repechage in order to advance to the final, stopped rowing for several seconds, falling immediately into sixth place and crossing the finish line more than a minute behind the other crews.
Germany won gold in 6:18.97, with Poland in second (6:20.93) and Australia third in 6:22.73.
The lightweight men's four of Robin Prendes (Miami, Fla.), Bob Duff (Huntingdon Valley, Pa.), Will Daly (Vail, Colo.) and Anthony Fahden (Lafayette, Calif.), having finished fourth in Saturday’s semifinal by just 0.2 seconds, powered through the field in the B final to win by 1.16 seconds in a 6:01.20.
The men's quad of William Cowles (Farmington, Conn.), Matt Miller (Springfield, Va.), Sam Stitt (McLean, Va.) and Thomas Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio) sprinted into second place in the final stretch, clocking a 5:50.71 for eighth place overall.
John Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio), who won NSR #1 in the men’s single sculls, finished third in 6:59.17 for ninth place overall in his second-ever international competition at the senior level.
For complete results, visit www.worldrowing.com.
About World Rowing Cup
The World Rowing Cup series was launched in 1997 and includes all 14 Olympic boat classes. The overall World Rowing Cup winners are determined after a series of three regattas. Following the two initial stages of the 2013 Samsung World Rowing Cup held in Sydney (AUS) and at Eton Dorney (GBR), it is Great Britain leading the overall World Cup standings with 140 points. Australia currently ranks second with 99 points and New Zealand has 97 points. For more information, visit www.worldrowing.com.
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Story and Photos by Allison Frederick, firstname.lastname@example.org