Finding Speed in the Rain at the 2017 World Championship Trials

WEST WINDSOR, N.J. — This morning, as dark clouds saturated with rain unleashed a downpour on Mercer Lake, Keble Boat Club’s Matthew O’Leary (Westwood, Mass.; Harvard University) could still make the lightweight mark even while soaking wet. The rain would not slow him down, as he won the first heat of the lightweight men’s single sculls.

Three-time national team member O’Leary helped Oxford University Boat Club row to victory at the 2017 Boat Race on the River Thames. Despite being both the shortest and lightest athlete in the boat at 5’11” and 155 pounds, his world-class talent made him a top performer.

“I was trying to get heavy at Oxford. so I put on four pounds, trying to eat as much as I could – it didn’t help. I still ended up under 75 kilos [165.35 lbs].” said O’Leary.

Earlier this month, O’Leary represented the United States in the lightweight men’s single sculls at the 2017 World Cup III, where he rowed to a ninth place finish, after narrowly missing the A final.

Earning first place in the final would qualify O’Leary to be named to his third U.S. senior national team, his first in the single. At the 2015 World Rowing Championships, he took fifth in the lightweight quadruple sculls, and in 2014 rowed to a fifth place finish in the lightweight eight.

In the first of two lightweight events this morning, O’Leary took first place in his heat for the lightweight men’s single sculls. He finished with a time of 7:14.28, just 1.02 seconds over Craftsbury’s Hugh McAdam (Hollis, N.H.; Washington College).

“I didn’t want it to be that close, but Hugh [McAdam] was really fast. There’s only so much you can do,” said O’Leary. “I had a good piece and I had a length on him or something and he wound up this big sprint and I had to do the same.”

Heat two of the lightweight men’s single went to Nicholas Trojan (Los Alamitos, Calif.; Orange Coast College) of Newport Aquatic Center. Trojan finished in 7:22.04, 16 seconds over Seattle Training Center’s William Solberg (Darien, Conn.; Columbia University). The lightweight men’s single final will race at 9:12 a.m. EST on Wednesday.

In the heats for the men’s single sculls, Ari Cohen (Wellesley, Mass.) of Community Rowing, Inc. secured a spot in Wednesday’s final with a time of 7:13.80. He placed first in his heat, with a 5.46-second margin over second-place Gregory Ansolabehere (Bakersfield, Calif.; California State University, Sacramento) of Penn AC.

Cohen will be joined in the final by Michael Clougher (Canton Mass.; Connecticut College) of California Rowing Club, who placed first in his heat as well. Clougher finished in a time of 7:03.11, only 1.03 seconds ahead of Penn AC’s Justin Keen (Hatfield, Pa.; Pennsylvania State University) who will compete in the repechage on Tuesday. The men’s single final will be held at 8:00 a.m. EST on Wednesday, August 9.

Moving to the women’s single sculls, 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Kara Kohler (Clayton, Calif.; University of California) of California Rowing Club secured her place in the final with a time of 7:43.47. Kohler finished with a 19.86 second lead over the rest of the field, looking to be a fierce competitor in Wednesday’s final.

In another fast heat, 2016 Olympian Felice Mueller (Cleveland, Ohio; University of Michigan) of The Foundry finished first by another sizeable margin. Mueller finished in 7:36.46, 19.69 seconds over the rest of the field.

In the third heat of the women’s single, Stesha Carle (Long Beach, Calif.; University of Michigan) of SoCal Scullers directly advanced to the semifinal with a time of 7:53.31, 9.7 seconds over Narragansett’s Emily Kallfelz (Jamestown, R.I.; Princeton University). The women’s single semifinal will run tomorrow morning at 8:24 a.m. EST.

In the women’s double sculls, 2016 Olympians and long-time double partners, Ellen Tomek (Flushing, Mich.; University of Michigan) and Meghan O’Leary (Baton Rouge, La.; University of Virginia), a New York AC/Vesper composite crew, took first in a time of 6:59.61 and secured a spot in the final.

Tomek and O’Leary will be joined in the final by the unaffiliated crew of Emily Huelskamp (Sainte Genevieve, Mo.; Wheaton College) and Margaret Bertasi (London, England; Princeton University), who finished in 7:09.66. The women’s double will race their final at 8:24 a.m. EST this Wednesday.

In the men’s pair, six U.S. Training Center crews faced off in two heats this morning. In the first heat, 2016 Olympian Anders Weiss (Barrington, R.I.; Brown University) and pair partner Michael Colella (Kensington, Md.; Cornell University) finished first, advancing them directly to the final. Weiss and Colella finished in a time of 6:53.69, 5.81 seconds over the second-place crew of Bobby Moffitt (Greenwich, Conn.; Dartmouth College) and Nate Goodman (Montclair, N.J.; Yale University).

In the second heat, Andrew LeRoux (Venice, Fla.; Princeton University) and Ben Delaney (Windermere, Fla.; George Washington University), the youngest crew in the event, took first in 6:49.27 to advance to the final. Weiss, Colella, LeRoux and Delaney will race for a position on the U.S. National Team at 8:32 a.m. EST on Wednesday.

In the lightweight women’s single sculls, Michaela Copenhaver (Princeton University) of GMS Rowing Center took first in her heat with a time of 8:29.18 to advance to the final. She will be joined by Mary Jones (Huntsville, Ala.; University of Tennessee, Knoxville) of Cambridge Boat Club in the final, who finished first in her heat in 8:20.45. The final for the lightweight women’s single will race at 9:20 a.m. EST this Wednesday.

Racing will pick up tonight at 6:00 p.m. EST with the repechages of the women’s single sculls.

Evening Repechage Results – updated at 6:30 p.m. EST

In the repechage of the women’s single sculls, New York Athletic Club’s Olivia Coffey (Watkins Glen, N.Y.; Harvard University) secured a spot in the semifinal with a time of 8:25.30. Earning the second qualifying spot was Julia Lonchar of Vesper Boat Club, who finished in 8:34.08. Coffey and Lonchar will race in the semifinals tomorrow morning at 8:24 a.m. EST.

Heat Sheets | Entries | Results

Photos available at USRowing.Photos

Follow along on Instagram at @USRowing, or with the hashtag #USRWorldTrials.

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