Women’s Pair Earns Silver at 2017 World Rowing Cup III

PRINCETON, N.J. — As the World Rowing Cup III came to a rainy close on the Rotsee in Lucerne, Switzerland, athletes from the United States set their sights on new horizons. With one medal and four finishes in the A Finals, the next step in the process for athletes interested in making the U.S. National Team is to prepare for Senior World Championship Trials. The 2017 World Rowing Championships is just a few short months away.

The only U.S. medal of the event was earned by the USRowing Training Center pair of Megan Kalmoe (St. Croix Falls, Wis.; University of Washington ‘06) and Tracy Eisser (Fair Lawn, N.J.; Cornell University ‘12). Kalmoe and Eisser’s last 12 months together have certainly been impressive. With a fifth place finish at the 2016 Olympic Games in the women’s quad, and racing the pair to wins in the United States at Spring Speed Order I and National Selection Regatta I and a silver medal at World Rowing Cup II, the two certainly boast impressive results.

New Zealand’s pair of Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler came into the event as the favorite to win, following their first place finish and world record time at World Rowing Cup II. As the final began, they did not relent.

With Kalmoe and Eisser eager to return to the podium, they pushed hard against the crew from New Zealand, following only a few seconds behind throughout the race. In the final sprint, Kalmoe and Eisser brought their rate up to 40 strokes-per-minute and crossed the line 5.39 seconds ahead of third place.

New Zealand won gold in 7:01.88, the U.S. second in a time of 7:06.58 and Denmark, third in 7:11.97.

“It was a very hard race, I’m very tired now,” said bow seat, Kalmoe. “We already had a great heat against the Kiwis. The competition is really great, we are looking forward to Sarasota.”

As a result of placing in the top four at both World Cup II and World Cup III, Kalmoe and Eisser have qualified to be named to the 2017 U.S. National Team. The team must declare their intent to compete at the 2017 World Rowing Championships by Friday, July 17. In the event that they choose to forgo declaration, qualification for the team will be held at the 2017 Senior World Championships Trials event.

Felice Mueller (Cleveland, Ohio; University of Michigan ‘12) rowed a great race in the women’s single sculls, ending up just shy of a podium finish. Following a fourth place finish in the women’s pair at the 2016 Olympic Games and a win in the women’s single at Spring Speed Order I, USTC’s Mueller came to Lucerne as someone to watch.

A dramatic finish saw Mueller finish fourth in 7:29.17, 0.09 seconds behind Austria’s Magdalena Lobnig, who had set the World Cup Best Time at World Cup II earlier this summer.

Switzerland took home gold with a time of 7:25.22, Canada in the silver position at 7:27.53 and Austria took the bronze medal in a time of 7:29.08.

The last A Final of the day, where the U.S. would be represented, was the women’s double sculls crew of 2016 Olympians Meghan O’Leary (Baton Rouge, La.; University of Virginia ‘08) and Ellen Tomek (Flushing, Mich.; University of Michigan ‘06).

O’Leary and Tomek fell into sixth place early on in the race, challenging the fifth place Lithuanian crew down the course. With a move just before the 1500 meter mark, the U.S. double surged ahead of the France 2 boat briefly. Ultimately, O’Leary and Tomek crossed the line in sixth place with a time of 6:59.60.

New Zealand took home the win with a time of 6:50.20, with France 1 in second in 6:51.86 and France 2 in third in 6:55.16.

The men’s quadruple sculls B Final included the U.S. crew of Justin Keen (Hatfield, Pa.; Penn State ‘12), Lenny Futterman (New York, N.Y.; Boston University ‘14), Jonathan Kirkegaard (Philadelphia, Pa.; Purdue University ‘08), and Greg Ansolabehere (Bakersfield, Calif.; California State University, Sacramento ‘09). The four raced the first 1500 meters of the course in fourth place.

Pushed by Estonia’s quad in the final sprint, the U.S. fell to into fifth place, where they crossed the line in 6:03.60, earning an eleventh place finish overall.

Out of the ten U.S. crews entered, four finished in the top six of their event: the lightweight women’s single, women’s single, women’s pair and women’s double. Three crews finished in the B finals, placing seventh through eleventh overall, and three crews finished in the C final.

“We had a range of experience in the group competing in Lucerne this year. From first-time athletes getting senior international racing, to returning Olympians,” said  USRowing Director of High Performance, Matt Imes. “There were some great performances in the women’s pair, women’s single and lightweight women’s single. It was good to see the women’s double get into the A Finals in their first racing since Rio as well.”

“As a group you could see experience being gained and applied each time down the course. It was a good step to finish up the World Cup season and athletes have a sense of the gains that need to be made for World Championships this year.”

Next for the United States athletes will be the 2017 Senior World Championship Trials, where athletes will race in West Windsor, New Jersey on August 6-9 for the opportunity to make the U.S. National Team. Trials boats include the men’s and women’s single sculls, lightweight men’s and women’s single sculls, men’s and women’s double sculls, lightweight men’s and women’s double sculls, lightweight men’s pair, men’s pair, men’s pair with coxswain, lightweight men’s quadruple sculls, lightweight women’s quadruple sculls, lightweight men’s four and the men’s quadruple sculls.

The best of the world will gather in Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla. on September 24 to October 2 for the 2017 World Rowing Championships at Nathan Benderson Park. This year’s World Championship will be the first international rowing competition to be held in the United States in over 20 years. Information about tickets and race schedules can be found here.

Full results and videos of today’s races are available on worldrowing.com.

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