U.S. Wins Three Medals, Qualifies Three Boats from Semis on Friday at 2018 World Championships

PLOVDIV, Bulgaria – Lightweight men’s single sculler Andrew Campbell (New Canaan, Conn.) led a three-medal day for the U.S., while four other crews advanced to the finals on Friday, highlighting the sixth day of racing at the 2018 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

In addition to Campbell, the lightweight men’s and lightweight women’s pairs reached the medal stand, while the women’s double sculls, women’s single sculls and PR1 men’s single sculls all advanced out of their semifinals. The U.S. also saw the PR1 women’s single sculls advance to the final out of the repechage.

In the lightweight men’s single, Germany’s Jason Osborne took the lead off the line with Canada’s Aaron Lattimer and Campbell holding the other medal positions at the first split. Campbell began to move through Lattimer into second place about 750 meters into the race and continued to hold that spot for the next 500 meters. That’s when Switzerland’s Michael Schmid passed Campbell to move into silver-medal position. At the head of the field, Osborne continued to maintain his length lead throughout the race. At the finish line, Osborne crossed with a time of 6:56.36. Schmid finished 1.98 seconds back for silver, followed by Campbell in a 7:00.04.

“I tried to get right into my efficient rhythm,” Campbell said. “I watched the tape of the race yesterday and figured I was rowing more efficiently than anyone out there, so I was trying to use that to my advantage. But, the pace kicked up with about 750 (meters) to go, and I just couldn’t go with Michael.”

In the return of the lightweight women’s pair to the international race program, the U.S. boat of Jennifer Sager (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Jillian Zieff (Wayland, Mass.) finished second behind Italy in the two-boat final. The Italians built more than a three-second lead in the first 500 meters and continued to put distance between themselves and the Americans throughout the race. Italy won the race in a 7:30.84, with the U.S. crossing in a 7:45.50 for the silver medal.

“We just treated this race as if it was a fully packed field,” Sager said. “Coming into this race, we knew that Italy was a strong crew.”

The lightweight men’s pair of David O. Smith (Seattle Wash.) and Tom Foster (New York, N.Y.) finished third in a three-boat final to win the bronze medal. Greece blasted off the start and continued to build an open-water lead through the halfway point. But, the Italian crew quickly cut the gap in the third 500 meters. Italy trailed by less than a half-second as the boats entered the last quarter of the race and then rowed through Greece to win the gold medal in a 6:38.55. Greece finished second, with the U.S. coming home in third in a 6:56.99.

We haven’t been together for too long, so we’re happy with this,” Foster said. “The level is really world-class, and this is where we are at right now.”

In other final’s action, the lightweight women’s quadruple sculls crew of Hillary Saeger (Dedham, Mass.), Margaret Bertasi (London, England), Christine Cavallo (Windermere, Fla.) and Michaela Copenhaver (Berkeley, Calif.) finished fourth in the final, less than two seconds short of the medal stand. China took the early lead and held nearly a four-second advantage at the halfway point with Germany in second. The Germans continued to hold the silver-medal position into the final 500 meters before Denmark caught them at the line. The U.S. tried to chase down the Germans in the final quarter of the race but was unable to make up the deficit. China won the race in a 6:38.32, with Denmark crossing in a 6:33.33. The U.S. finished with a time of 6:36.02.

In the lightweight women’s single sculls, Michelle Sechser (Folsom, Calif.) also finished fourth, missing the medal stand by just more than a second. Great Britain’s Imogen Grant and France’s Laura Tarantola battled for the top spot through the halfway point, with Tarantola taking the lead just before the 1,000-meter mark. The French woman continued to increase her margin during the third quarter of the race as Grant began to fall back. Italy’s Clara Guerra, who rowed in third, started to chase down Grant with Sechser picking up her stroke rate as well. At the line, Tarantola had held on – just barely – to win the gold medal in a 7:51.19, just 0.17 seconds in front of Guerra. Grant held on for bronze, besting the American by 1.09 seconds. Sechser finished with a time of 7:53.70.

In the final of the PR3 mixed double sculls, national team newcomers Joshua Boissoneau (Bedford, N.H.) and Pearl Outlaw (Charlottesville, Va.) finished fifth. Brazil took the lead off the start and then pulled away from the field in the second quarter of the race, clocking a 7:30.82 to win the gold medal. Austria overtook Russia during the final 1,000 meters to win silver, while the Russians held off Germany by less than a second to win the bronze medal. The U.S. finished in an 8:29.62.

In the PR2 women’s single sculls, Laura Goodkind (Los Angeles, Calif.), who is also racing in the PR2 mixed double sculls, finished sixth in the final. France’s Perle Bouge led from start to finish, winning with a time of 9:39.73. The Netherlands’ Annika Van Der Meer stayed close to Bouge until the final 500 meters, claiming the silver medal. Poland’s Jolanta Majka won bronze. Goodkind clocked a 10:46.38.

All three U.S. boats racing in semifinals advanced to Sunday’s finals. Defending world silver medalists Meghan O’Leary (Baton Rouge, La.) and Ellen Tomek (Flushing, Mich.) won their semifinal of the women’s double sculls, holding off the sprint of the reigning world champions from New Zealand to advance to Sunday’s final. China briefly took the lead off the start, but the U.S. boat had moved into the top position by about a length at the 500-meter mark. O’Leary and Tomek continued to control the field through the middle of the race, holding a length lead at the halfway point and a little more than a half-length advantage with 500 meters to go. New Zealand continued to press the U.S. over the final 500 meters, but at the line, the Americans won by about one seat. The U.S. finished in a 6:51.28, with New Zealand coming home in a 6:51.60. The Netherlands took third ahead of China to earn the other qualifying spot.

“It’s pretty exciting to qualify for the final, but to win the semifinal into qualifying is a bonus,” O’Leary said. “It’s such a fast field. When we came into the first 500 – we’re generally not a fast-starting crew. But when I realized we were leading the pack, it was a little bit of a surprise. It was a wild ride down the course, but we’re proud of it.”

In the first semifinal, Canada’s Gabrielle Smith and Andrea Proske held off Lithuania to win by 0.21 seconds in a 6:50.80. Great Britain earned the last qualifying spot for the final.

“It’s a big boost in confidence,” Tomek said. “We’ve been racing New Zealand for a couple of seasons now, and I think going into the regatta, we felt that at least they were the favorite. They’ve been moving the boat really well. They’ve been really consistent winning every race internationally that they’ve entered. I think we’re happy with today, but we know that it was just one step. It was really just about getting to the final. Now, we have to do it all over again on Sunday.”

Women’s single sculler Kara Kohler (Clayton, Calif.) finished second in her semifinal behind Switzerland’s Jeannine Gmelin, the defending world champion, to advance to Sunday’s final. Australia’s Madeleine Edmunds took the early lead and continued to hold the top spot through the halfway point. Gmelin grabbed first just after the 1,000-meter mark as Ukraine’s Diana Dymchenko challenged Edmunds for second. Kohler, who sat in fourth just off the pace, made her move as the scullers entered the third quarter of the race, passing Dymechenko and then pulling up even on the Australian with about 750 meters to go. Kohler continued to track Gmelin into the final quarter of the race, pulling away from Edmunds. Austria’s Magdalena Lobnig put on a strong charge in the final 500 meters to grab the third qualifying spot. At the line, Gmelin won in a 7:23.93, with Kohler finishing in a 7:25.47. Ireland, Denmark and Germany qualified from the other semifinal.

“I was trying to stay as calm and relaxed as possible,” Kohler said. “The semifinal is a pretty terrifying experience to know the final is on the line. (You) need to be able to trust the physical and mental training you’ve put in; just stay calm throughout the race. Moving forward to the final on Sunday, same thing – some rest, fueling, training for the big show. I feel like my learning curve has been pretty steep this summer, and there’s a lot to learn with each race – how to pace and build.”

In the first semifinal of the PR1 men’s single sculls, Blake Haxton (Columbus, Ohio) used a strong sprint over the final 500 meters to move from fourth to second place, advancing to Sunday’s final. Ukraine’s Roman Polianskyi led the race from start to finish, but the real battle came for the second and third qualifying spots between Haxton and the scullers from Great Britain and Poland.

Haxton held second at the 500-meter mark, but Great Britain’s Andrew Houghton and Poland’s Jaroslaw Kailing made a push in the second quarter of the race to grab hold of the qualifying spots. Going into the final 500 meters, Houghton and Kailing were holding their positions, but Haxton had shaved down most of the lead. In the sprint, Haxton rowed through his two challengers, while Houghton held on for third. Polianskyi won the race in a 9:36.45, with Haxton finishing in a 9:51.46. The three will join scullers from Australia, Russia and Brazil in the final.

“It’s about the highest rating I’ve ever kept for a full (2,000 meters),” Haxton said. “I wasn’t sure if I’d get through at the end there – wasn’t bad, kind of worked out. I missed my first stroke and came off the line about a half-a-boat behind, so there are things to work on for Sunday for sure. (I’m) just really glad to be in the hunt.”

PR1 women’s single sculler Hallie Smith (Washington, D.C.) earned her place in Sunday’s final off of a second-place finish in the repechage. Smith led through 1,000-meters before Germany’s Sylvia Pille-Steppat moved into the top spot during the third quarter of the race. Pille-Steppat won with a time of 12:11.99, with Smith finishing in a 12:17.50. Italy and Canada also qualified for the final.

In the lightweight men’s quadruple sculls, the crew of Alexander Loy (Ballston Lake, N.Y.), Sam Hausmann (Buffalo, N.Y.), Michael Landuyt (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) and James Nelson (Austin, Texas) finished fourth in the B final for a 10th-place finish overall. The crew rowed in fourth the entire way down the course. Spain won the race in a 6:05.13. The U.S. finished with a time of 6:10.88.

Six U.S. crews will be racing for medals on Saturday.

The women’s four of Madeline Wanamaker (Neenah, Wis.), Erin Boxberger (Overland Park, Kan.), Molly Bruggeman (Dayton, Ohio) and Erin Reelick (Brookfield, Conn.) held off a late challenge by Australia, the defending world champions, to win the first of two semifinals, advancing to Saturday’s final. The U.S. crew will take on Australia, Russia, Denmark, Poland and China in the race for the medal stand. Denmark enters the final as the other semifinal winner.

Coming off of four consecutive silver medals in the PR3 mixed four with coxswain, the U.S. crew of coxswain Jenny Sichel (Clifton, N.J.), Danielle Hansen (Patterson, Calif.), Charley Nordin (Alameda, Calif.), Mike Varro (Spooner, Wisc.) and Allie Reilly (North Kingstown, R.I.) began its quest for the top of the medal stand in strong fashion, dominating its heat to advance to Saturday’s final. The U.S. will take on crews from Great Britain, France, Ukraine, Australia and Canada in the final. Great Britain, the defending world and Paralympic champions, won the other heat.

The lightweight women’s double sculls of Emily Schmieg (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Mary Jones (Huntsville, Ala.) led for much of their semifinal before being edged out at the line by Romania. Schmieg and Jones will be looking to turn the tables on the defending world champions in Saturday’s final. In addition to Romania, the U.S. will take on The Netherlands, New Zealand, Switzerland and Great Britain in the medal race. The Dutch boat won the other semifinal.

The women’s quadruple sculls crew of Elizabeth Sonshine (Short Hills, N.J.), Emily Huelskamp (Sainte Genevieve, Mo.), Maureen McAuliffe (Herndon, Va.) and Kara Soucek (McCall, Idaho) advanced to Saturday’s final thanks to a third-place finish in the second of two semifinals. The U.S. boat will race against heat winners China and Poland, as well as Great Britain, Germany and The Netherlands, in hopes of earning a medal.

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, finishing sixth. Harvey and Goodkind will race against The Netherlands, Poland, Ukraine, Brazil and Latvia for a second time in the final – this time with medals of the line.

The PR3 women’s pair of Jaclyn Smith (Williston Park, N.Y.) and Danielle Hansen (Patterson, Calif.) will race their medal race as part of the C final of the women’s pair. The duo was scheduled to take on Italy in a two-boat preliminary race on Tuesday. However, the Americans rowed down the course solo after the Italian crew withdrew from the competition. Hansen, who is doubling up in the PR3 mixed four with coxswain, and Smith have been given the opportunity to race their medal race as part of the C final of the women’s pair and will take on The Netherlands, Poland and France.

Six additional American crews will race in placement finals on Saturday afternoon.

The women’s pair of Vicky Opitz (Middleton, Wis.) and Gia Doonan (Rochester, Mass.), who are doubling up in the eight, will race in the B final for overall places 7-12 after just missing a spot in the final. The U.S. will race against Great Britain, Russia, Australia, Ukraine and Hungary on Saturday.

Erik Frid (Madbury, N.H.), Michael Knippen (Germantown, Wis.), Gregory Ansolabehere (Bakersfield, Calif.) and Justin Keen (Hatfield, Pa.) finished fifth in the second repechage of the men’s quadruple sculls and will now race in the B final for overall places 7-12 against Great Britain, Germany, Russia, Lithuania and France.

The men’s pair of Michael Colella (Kensington, Md.) and Anders Weiss (Barrington, R.I.) came back to win its C/D semifinal on Thursday afternoon to advance to the C final. Colella and Weiss will race against Australia, Ireland, Italy, Poland and Brazil for places 13-18.

The men’s four of Alexander Richards (Watertown, Mass.), Michael Clougher (Canton, Mass.), Nick Mead (Strafford, Pa.) and Dariush Aghai (Skokie, Ill.) won its C/D semifinal to advance to Saturday’s C final for overall places 13-17. The U.S. will take on Austria, France, New Zealand and Russia.

Men’s single sculler Kevin Meador (Berkeley, Calif.) finished fifth in his C/D semifinal to claim a spot in Saturday’s D final. Meador will race against Australia, South Africa, Sweden, Montenegro and Azerbaijan for overall places 19-24.

In the lightweight men’s double sculls, Hugh McAdam (Hollis, N.H.) and Peter Schmidt (Providence, R.I.) finished sixth in their repechage and now will race in Saturday’s E final against Russia for overall places 25 and 26.

Close to 950 athletes from 62 countries are racing in Plovdiv. The U.S. has the largest team, with entries in 27 of the 29 events across. 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.

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 Olympic Channel television network will broadcast the final four days of the event live, while NBCSN will broadcast a highlight show on Friday and Sunday night. Racing also will be streamed live via authentication through NBC Sports online, or through the NBC Sports app, which is available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.

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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