Finals Set at 2019 Senior National Team Trials/SSO I

The nation’s best men’s and women’s single scullers moved one step closer to making the 2019 U.S. National Team during Saturday’s semifinals at the 2019 Senior National Team Trials I/Spring Speed Order I at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Fla. On Sunday, two athletes will earn their spots on the squad that will race at the 2019 World Rowing Championships in August.

In the men’s single sculls, Penn Athletic Club’s Gregory Ansolabehere (Bakersfield, Calif.) clocked the fastest time of the semifinals, winning the second semi by one second over Craftsbury Sculling Center’s Kevin Meador (Berkeley, Calif.) in a 7:07.10. Ansolabehere, who raced in the men’s quadruple sculls at last year’s world championships, was able to hold off a tight, four-boat field that included three other national team veterans. Meador, who represented the U.S. in the event at the 2018 World Rowing Championships, edged out USRowing Training Center – Oakland’s Tom Peszek (Farmington Hills, Mich.) by 0.65 seconds to take the other spot in the final. Craftsbury’s John Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio) finished fourth.

Seattle Rowing Center’s Michael Knippen (Germantown, Wis.) won the first semifinal, crossing the line in a 7:10.85. Keble College Boat Club’s Matthew O’Leary (Westwood, Mass.) finished 5.25 seconds back in second place, earning a spot in the final. Penn AC’s Justin Keen (Hatfield, Pa.) finished well off the pace in third, followed by teammate Thomas Phifer (New York, N.Y.) in fourth.

In the women’s single sculls, USRowing Training Center-Princeton’s Kara Kohler (Clayton, Calif.) continued her strong showing in Sarasota, clocking a 7:43.23 to win the first semifinal by more than nine seconds over Michalina Fili (Sparks, Md.). Kohler, who clocked the fastest time in both the time trial and heats, finished fourth in the event at the 2018 World Rowing Championships. Fili crossed the line with a time of 7:52.51 to earn the other spot in the final, finishing more than nine seconds ahead of ARION’s Kara Soucek (McCall, Idaho). ARION’s Lily Keane (Buffalo, N.Y.) finished fourth.

In the second semifinal, Cambridge Boat Club’s Genevra Stone (Newton, Mass.), the 2016 Olympic silver medalist in the event, clocked a 7:54.55 to defeat teammate Cicely Madden (Weston, Mass.) by just over four seconds. Madden finished eight seconds ahead of ARION’s Maureen McAuliffe (Herndon, Va.) and Kristina Wagner (Weston, Mass.). Stone and Madden both advanced to tomorrow’s final.

While national team spots are on the line in the men’s and women’s single sculls, this week’s speed order races in the lightweight men’s and women’s single sculls are a chance for athletes to test their speed in preparation for future national team trials events.

In the lightweight women’s single sculls, Hydrow’s Christine Cavallo (Windermere, Fla.) posted the fastest time of the semifinals, winning the second race in a 7:58.07. Cavallo finished just under two seconds ahead of Sarasota Rowing Club’s Rosa Kemp (Putnam Valley, N.Y.), who clocked a 7:59.98. With three to advance to the final, Sarasota’s Jessica Hyne-Dolan earned the other qualification spot.Vesper Boat Club’s Michelle Sechser (Folsom, Calif.), who finished fourth in the event at the 2018 World Rowing Championships, won the first semifinal in a 7:59.22. Sechser finished more than four seconds ahead of Hillary Seager (Dedham, Mass.). Emily Schmieg (Philadelphia, Pa.), who won silver in the lightweight double sculls at last year’s world championships, took third.

In the lightweight men’s single sculls, Vesper Boat Club’s Zachary Heese (Pelham, N.Y.), who raced the event at the 2018 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, finished with the fastest time in the semifinals. Racing in the second semi, Heese finished with a time of 7:24.42, ahead of Hugh McAdam (Hollis, N.H.) in a 7:27.95. Seattle Rowing Center’s Alex Twist (Seattle, Wash.) finished third. Vesper Boat Club’s Jasper Liu (Phoenix, Ariz.) won the first semifinal over Potomac Boat Club’s Peter Schmidt (Providence, R.I.). Liu clocked a 7:26.51 to finish 2.58 seconds ahead of Schmidt. New York Athletic Club’s Daniel Madden (New Rochelle, N.Y.) finished third.

Finals will be held Sunday starting at 8 a.m. For a complete schedule, click here.

This week’s trials racing also marks the start of the third edition of the U.S. Lotman Challenge®. Covering three different race distances over the course of 2019, the challenge will identify America’s premier scullers and award champions in the culminating race at the U.S. Lotman Challenge Final on October 26 at Cooper River Park in Camden, N.J.

Leg one of the challenge will be comprised of three separate USRowing regattas to select the top seven male and female open weight single scullers to move on to leg two at the Head of the Charles. The top four finishers in the open single sculls in Sarasota will advance to the next leg of the challenge. For more information on the U.S. Lotman Challenge, click here.

The 2019 World Rowing Championships will be held August 25-September 1 in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria. This year’s world championships serve as the initial country qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games.

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