Haxton Advances to Semifinals on Tuesday at 2018 World Rowing Championships

PLOVDIV, Bulgaria – PR1 men’s single sculler Blake Haxton (Columbus, Ohio) advanced to the semifinals to highlight a short day of racing for the United States on Tuesday at the 2018 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

With only three U.S. crews in action, Haxton’s second-place finish behind Russia’s Alexey Chuvashev proved to be the American’s top result of the day. With two to advance to the semis, Chuvashev and Haxton, a five-time national team member, had taken control of the qualifying positions by the 500-meter mark. The two scullers continued to walk away from the rest of the field during the remainder of the race. Chuvashev finished with a time of 9:42.15, with Haxton crossing in a 10:09.30. Haxton, who finished sixth in the event last year, will race again on Friday.

“It feels pretty good. You know – new rules, new boat set-up, but it moved pretty well. So far, so good,” Haxton said. “When you move the pontoons up and out of the water, it becomes a bit more of a rowing race rather than an erg sprint. Now, there’s a little bit more of an advantage to be able to sit up and set the boat. It is a longer equation, but I think it’s made the event better.”

The men’s four of Alexander Richards (Watertown, Mass.), Michael Clougher (Canton, Mass.), Nick Mead (Strafford, Pa.) and Dariush Aghai (Skokie, Ill.) finished third in its repechage. Austria and the Czech Republic took the race out hard, but less than two seconds separated the five-boat field as the crews reached the midway point of the race. That’s when the Czech Republic and Switzerland began to pull ahead of the remaining three boats. Coming into the final 500 meters, the two lead crews were separated by just a bow-ball as Austria continued to drop back.

The Americans tried to make a move as they entered the final 500 meters, passing the Austrians, but they were unable close the gap on the leaders. The Czech Republic won the race in a 5:52.87, with Switzerland crossing in a 5:53.47. The U.S. finished with a time of 5:56.07 and will now race in Thursday’s C/D semifinals for the opportunity to advance to the C final for places 13-18.

With only six entries in the PR2 mixed double sculls, Ron Harvey (Long Beach, Calif.) and Laura Goodkind (Los Angeles, Calif.) rowed in a preliminary race on Tuesday. The Netherlands led from start to finish, clocking an 8:13.16 to win the race. The American duo finished sixth with a time of 9:31.60. Harvey and Goodkind will race against The Netherlands, Poland, Ukraine, Brazil and Latvia again in Saturday’s final.

Thirteen U.S. crews will be in action on Wednesday including eight that will get their first opportunity to race in Plovdiv. The men’s eight, women’s eight and PR1 women’s single sculls will have a chance to advance to the finals during their opening heats.

Coming off a silver medal at last year’s world championships, the U.S. men’s eight of Alex Karwoski (Moultonborough, N.H.), Glenn Ochal (Philadelphia, Pa.), Tom Peszek (Farmington Hills, Mich.), Tom Dethlefs (Lawrenceville, N.J.), Conor Harrity (Weston, Mass.), Mike DiSanto (Boston, Mass.), Andrew Reed (Wayland, Mass.), Patrick Eble (Fort Washington, Pa.) and coxswain Julian Venonsky (Malvern, Pa.) is looking to get back on the podium in 2018. Venonsky, Eble, Reed, Peszek and Karwoski return to the boat that will try to knock off the defending world champions from Germany. The U.S. will race Australia, Canada, Great Britain and New Zealand in its heat, with the top two crews advancing straight to Sunday’s final.

After 11 consecutive years of standing atop the medal stand, the U.S. women’s eight finished fourth at the 2017 World Rowing Championships as the squad saw significant turnover from the boat that won a third consecutive Olympic gold medal in Rio. This year’s crew of Kristine O’Brien (Massapequa Park, N.Y.), Felice Mueller (Cleveland, Ohio), Vicky Opitz (Middleton, Wis.), Gia Doonan (Rochester, Mass.), Dana Moffat (Manlius, N.Y.), Tracy Eisser (Fair Lawn, N.J.), Emily Regan (Buffalo, N.Y.), Olivia Coffey (Watkins Glen, N.Y.) and coxswain Katelin Guregian (Detroit, Mich.) is looking to return to the podium in Plovdiv. Regan and Guregian are the lone returnees from both the 2016 Olympic eight and last year’s crew, while Mueller and Eisser bring Olympic experience to the boat. The U.S. will take on The Netherlands, China and Canada in the first of two heats, with the winner qualifying directly for Sunday’s final.

PR1 women’s single sculler Hallie Smith (Washington, D.C.) reached the final in the event last year, finishing sixth. Smith is looking to improve on that performance this week. Racing in the first of two heats, Smith will take on scullers from Japan, Germany and Israel, with the winner earning a spot in Sunday’s final. Israel’s Moran Samuel won the silver medal last year.

Five crews will row in preliminary races on Wednesday to determine lane assignments for their finals.

In the PR3 mixed double sculls, national team newcomers Pearl Outlaw (Charlottesville, Va.) and Joshua Boissoneau (Bedford, N.H.) will race against crews from Germany, Austria, Brazil and Russia. Brazil is the defending world champion.

In the PR2 women’s single sculls, Goodkind will be back in action after finishing sixth in today’s race for lanes in the PR2 mixed double sculls. Goodkind will race against scullers from Poland, Ukraine, Brazil, The Netherlands and France in the single.

The lightweight women’s pair returns to the international race program at the 2018 World Rowing Championships. Coming out of last year’s lightweight women’s quadruple sculls crew, Jillian Zieff (Wayland, Mass.) and Jennifer Sager (Philadelphia, Pa.) will take on Italy in the two-boat race.

The lightweight men’s pair of Tom Foster (New York, N.Y.) and David O. Smith (Seattle Wash.) will race Greece and Italy in a three-boat race. Foster and Smith were part of the lightweight men’s four that finished sixth at the 2017 World Rowing Championships. Italy won the silver medal in the event last year.

The PR3 women’s pair of Jaclyn Smith (Williston Park, N.Y.) and Danielle Hansen (Patterson, Calif.) were scheduled to take on Italy in a two-boat race. However, the Americans will row down the course solo after the Italian crew withdrew from the competition. Hansen, who is also racing in the PR3 mixed four with coxswain that won its heat on Monday, is a five-time national team member. Smith is a six-time team member.

Five other crews will be back on the water racing in either quarterfinals or repechages on Wednesday, with the opportunity to advance.

After finishing second in its heat, the lightweight women’s quadruple sculls crew of Michaela Copenhaver (Berkeley, Calif.), Christine Cavallo (Windermere, Fla.), Margaret Bertasi (London, England) and Hillary Saeger (Dedham, Mass.) will race in a repechage on Wednesday against Great Britain, Denmark, Germany and Ukraine. The top four finishers will join heat winners China and Italy in Friday’s final.

In the lightweight men’s quadruple sculls, the U.S. crew of James Nelson (Austin, Texas), Alexander Loy (Ballston Lake, N.Y.), Sam Hausmann (Buffalo, N.Y.) and Michael Landuyt (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) finished fifth in its heat and will take on Ireland, Turkey, Norway and Algeria in the first of two repechages. The U.S. will need a top-two finish to advance to Friday’s final.

In the men’s double sculls, John Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Ben Davison (Inverness, Fla.) finished third in their heat and will now race in the first of four repechages on Wednesday. The duo will take on Greece, Switzerland and Poland, needing a top-two finish to advance to Friday’s semifinals.

The men’s pair of Michael Colella (Kensington, Md.) and Anders Weiss (Barrington, R.I.) advanced to Wednesday’s quarterfinals thanks to a fourth-place finish in its heat. Colella and Weiss will take on The Netherlands, South Africa, Croatia, Spain and Ukraine in the second quarterfinal. The top three finishers will advance to Thursday’s semifinals.

Men’s single sculler Kevin Meador (Berkeley, Calif.) won his repechage on Monday to reach the quarterfinals. With the top three advancing to Friday’s semifinals, the American will row against scullers from France, Israel, Norway, Serbia and the Czech Republic in the second quarterfinal. Czech sculler Ondrej Synek is the defending world champion.

Close to 950 athletes from 62 countries are scheduled to race in Plovdiv. The U.S. has the largest team, with entries in 27 of the 29 events. The eight-day regatta offers racing in the men’s and women’s single sculls, lightweight single sculls, double sculls, lightweight double sculls, pair, lightweight pair, quadruple sculls, lightweight quadruple sculls, four and eight, as well as the para-rowing men’s and women’s PR1 single sculls, men’s and women’s PR2 single sculls, PR2 mixed double sculls, PR3 mixed double sculls and the PR3 mixed four with coxswain.

Racing runs through Sunday, September 16. Finals will take place over the last three days, beginning on Friday, September 14.

Complete press coverage, athlete bios and links to event information are available at www.usrowing.org and www.worldrowing.com. Photo galleries are available each day at www.usrowing.photos. Follow along with the U.S. National Team at the 2018 World Rowing Championships by using the hashtags #WRChamps and #WRC2018.

World Rowing recently partnered with NBC Sports Group for coverage of the World Rowing Cups, European Championships and World Championships for the next three years.

The first four days of racing (Sunday through Wednesday) will be streamed live on the Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA (OlympicChannel.com) and the Olympic Channel app or via authentication on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app, which includes NBCSN’s coverage.

The Olympic Channel television network will broadcast live the final four days of the event (Thursday through Sunday), while NBCSN will broadcast a highlight show on Friday and Sunday night. Click here for the most up-to-date broadcast schedule.

Live-streaming will not be available on www.worldrowing.com, but the VOD clips will be available 24 hours after the event.

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