U.S. Olympian Rows to Impressive Victory in New Boat

PRINCETON, N.J. – Not everyone embraces change but for 2016 United States Olympian Felice Mueller making the switch from women’s pairs to singles is paying off.

Mueller, who placed fourth in pairs at the Rio Summer Olympics with partner Grace Luczak, finished nearly 14 seconds ahead of the closest competitor in heat 1 of the 2017 Spring Speed Order 1 on Wednesday morning at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J.

“The single is really fun. It’s fun that it’s all you,” said Mueller, a member of the USRowing Training Center team. “But it’s made me realize how much I like having someone else in the boat. Sitting at the start line, I wanted to talk to some because you are nervous. But [in singles] you don’t have that teammate to talk to.”

At this point in the season, the Ohio native has not determined whether she will continue racing as a single or take some additional time off from training.

“I’m trying to figure out what I want to do. If I want to keep training or not,” said Mueller. “The single is a really easy way to stay training and to stay in touch with the rowing motion.”

With her convincing victory in the heats on Wednesday, Mueller advanced to the semifinals of the speed order on Thursday. But with the likes of 2016 Olympic gold medalist Lauren Schmetterling and USTC teammate Lauren Tracey in the women’s singles field, Mueller knows the road to Friday’s final won’t be easy.

“The competition is amazing. These are the best women in the country,” said Mueller. “I’m thrilled to be able to compete with these women.”

Women’s Single

All eighteen women raced in singles this morning on the breezy Mercer Lake for heats, with the top four qualifying for semifinals 1 and 2, and the remaining athletes being relegated to the C final. In heat 1, 2016 Olympian Felice Mueller (USTC) took a commanding lead of the field, finishing in 8:42.27. Heat 2 was won by 2016 Olympian Lauren Schmetterling (USTC) in 8:55.61. Heat 3 was won by 2016 Olympian for Trinidad and Tobago, Aisha Chow, representing BIAC in 8:54.19.

Also qualifying for tomorrow’s semifinals, alphabetically, are: Olivia Coffey (New York AC), Gabby Cutler (University), Michalina Fili (Potomac), Julia Longchar (Vesper), Elizabeth Sonshine (ARION), Kara Soucek (ARION), Lauren Tracey (USTC), Elizabeth Vogt (ARION), Krista Wagner (ARION).

Men’s Single

The top sixteen men closed out the morning in their heats, with top four qualifying for semifinals 1 and 2, and the remaining athletes being relegated to the C final. Schuylkill Navy’s Lenny Futterman took first place in heat 1 with a time of 7:43.88. With the fastest time of the day, John Graves of Craftsbury finished heat 2 in 7:41.54. In the final heat of the day, Erik Frid crossed the line first in 7:44.62.

Also qualifying for tomorrow’s semifinals, alphabetically, are: Charles Anderson (Penn AC), Greg Ansolabehere (Potomac), Liam Casey (ARION), Justin Keen (Penn AC), Jonathan Kirkegaard (Schuylkill Navy), Nathan Lado (Penn AC), Wes Vear (Craftsbury), Luke Wilhelm (Penn AC), Erick Winstead (Penn AC).

Racing begins at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow with two semifinals for the women’s single, and will conclude with the D and E finals of the men’s singles at 10:10 a.m.

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