Three Crews Win Heats, Nine Advance on Day One at the 2019 World Rowing Championships

The United States’ PR3 mixed four with coxswain, women’s pair, and women’s single sculls won their heats on Sunday at the 2019 World Rowing Championships, highlighting the first day of competition in Linz, Austria. In addition, six other crews advanced out of their heats.

The PR3 mixed four with coxswain crew of coxswain Karen Petrik (Glastonbury, Conn.), Dani Hansen (Patterson, Calif.), John Tanguay (Pennington, N.J.), Charley Nordin (Alameda, Calif.) and Allie Reilly (North Kingstown, R.I.) took control of its heat in the second 500 meters and held a comfortable margin the rest of the way down the course. The U.S. got off the line in first position with Israel trailing close behind. But, the Americans used a strong middle of the race to pull away from the field. The U.S. crossed in a 7:10.09, with Israel taking second in a 7:14.31. Both the U.S. and Israel advanced to the semifinals.

“We went out there and just stuck with our race plan, got a good one in,” Hansen said. “It was good to be on the line. We’re happy about it, and we’re moving on to semifinals. We’re just going to stick with what we know, what we’re capable of, and move on the the A final, hopefully. That’s our goal.”

Hansen, who has been part of five consecutive world or Olympic silver medals in the PR3 four, said she was excited to be part of the event as it continues to grow. Eighteen countries entered crews in Linz.

“It’s really, really, really cool to be a part of this and to see the (growth) from being like five of us a couple of years ago to … 18 (crews this year),” Hansen said. “I feel like the sport and the classification and the whole section of rowing is growing and becoming more popular. More countries are becoming interested, and it’s really an honor to be a part of that section of the rowing world.”

The women’s pair of Tracy Eisser (Fair Lawn, N.J.) and Megan Kalmoe (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) won its heat to advance to the quarterfinals. Ireland took the early lead with the U.S. sitting in fourth 500 meters into the race. At the halfway point, Eisser and Kalmoe had moved into third, with the top four boats all within one second of each other. The American boat continued its push in the third quarter of the race, overtaking Chile and then Ireland to take the lead. Eisser and Kalmoe held off a late move by the Irish boat to win the race in a 7:12.76. Ireland finished second in a 7:13.30. Chile and South Africa also advanced to the quarterfinals out of the fourth heat.

In the women’s single sculls, Kara Kohler (Clayton, Calif.) had no trouble winning her heat, crossing the line a couple of boat lengths of open water ahead of her nearest competitor. Kohler established her lead off the start and continued to build her advantage to nearly eight seconds at the 1,500-meter mark. With two to advance to the quarterfinals, Ukraine’s Diana Dymchenko kept a comfortable margin ahead of Trinidad and Tobago’s Felice Chow. Kohler finished with a time of 8:03.13, with Dymchenko finishing in an 8:10.28.

Tyler Nase (Phoenixville, Pa.), a 2016 Olympian, advanced to the quarterfinals of the lightweight men’s single sculls thanks to a second-place finish in his heat. With three to advance, Nase used a strong middle 1,000 meters to move from fourth to second position. Slovakia’s Richard Vanco took the early lead before the Swiss sculler, Jan Schaeuble, moved into the top spot and Vanco dropped to fourth. Nase passed Serbia’s Milos Stanojevic in the third quarter of the race to move into second position. Schaeuble won the race in a 7:19.19, with Nase finishing in a 7:24.45.

“I really just wanted to try and be in the pack up until the 1k, and then try and make my move and see what happened,” Nase said. “It seemed like the Swiss put down a pretty good shot, and I just went with him to try to pull away from those guys.”

The U.S. women’s four of Caryn Davies (Ithaca, N.Y.), Madeleine Wanamaker (Neenah, Wis.), Vicky Opitz (Middleton, Wis.) and Molly Bruggeman (Dayton, Ohio) advanced to the semifinals thanks to a second-place finish in its heat. After a bobble at the start, the crew settled into second position behind Australia and ahead of Croatia at the 500-meter mark. The Australian’s continued to build their advantage over the second quarter of the race, with the U.S. taking control of the second qualifying position ahead of Ireland. Australia and the U.S. continued to push away over the third 500. At the line, Australia finished with a time of 6:38.44, with the American boat crossing in a 6:42.83.

In the lightweight women’s single sculls, Emily Schmieg (Philadelphia, Pa.) advanced to the semifinals off of a second-place finish in her heat. South Africa’s Nicole van Wyk took the lead off the start and held that position the entire way down the course. With two to advance, Schmieg got off the line in fourth but moved into second position just before the midway point. The American continued to build her advantage on the rest of the field through the 1,500-meter mark before Norway’s Maia Lund began closing the gap. But the Norwegian’s sprint came too late, as Schmieg narrowly held on to the last qualification spot. Van Wyk won the race in an 8:02.14, with Schmieg finishing in an 8:05.39, just 0.16 seconds ahead of Lund.

In the PR2 mixed double sculls, Laura Goodkind (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Russell Gernaat (Redwood City, Calif.) advanced to the semifinals after finishing third in their heat. Great Britain took the early lead, with Poland and the U.S. crossing the 500-meter mark within a second of each other. The British boat continued to pull away from the field, as Poland established a firm hold on second place and the U.S. took command of third ahead of Germany. At the line, Great Britain won in a time of 8:13.86. Poland followed in an 8:31.55, with the U.S. crossing third in an 8:50.32, 21 seconds ahead of Germany.

“My mindset was really the first 500 and go from there,” Gernaat said. “So with that in mind, it was about what I expected. But, I think we have some room for growth. We have some things to work on, but that’s par for the course.”

Christine Cavallo (Windermere, Fla.) and Michelle Sechser (Folsom, Calif.) advanced to the quarterfinals thanks to a third-place finish in their heat of the lightweight women’s double sculls. With four crews to advance, Italy, Canada, the U.S. and Australia broke free from the rest of the field in the first 500 meters, establishing the qualifying spots. Italy took the slight advantage over Canada in the first 500 meters before the U.S. moved up to second at the midway point. The American and Canadian crews continued to battle for second and third through the middle 1,000 meters before Canada edged ahead going into the last stretch of the race. Italy won with a time of 7:07.06, followed closely by a sprinting Canada in a 7:07.75. The U.S. finished third in a 7:09.89, with Australia taking the fourth qualifying spot.

“It was really exciting to get out there and finally get one trip down the course and kind of shake the nerves out a little bit,” Sechser said. “It’s a long week with quarterfinals at this world championship this year, so the goal is definitely making sure we can learn from each race, build throughout the regatta, and keep improving each step along the way.”

Anders Weiss (Barrington, R.I.) and Ezra Carlson (Eureka, Calif.) advanced to the quarterfinals thanks to a fourth-place finish in their heat. With four to advance, Weiss and Carlson sat in fifth position heading into the final 500 meters before passing a faltering Brazil in the sprint. Croatia led from start to finish, winning the race in a 6:26.71. Australia finished second with Denmark taking third.

“The middle 1,000 is where we sort of lost a little bit of speed, lost a little bit of placement on the Danish boat,” Weiss said. “We know we’re going to need to beat them if we want to qualify this boat for the Olympics, so for our next race, it’s going to be the same start, just a little more aggressive in the middle 1,000, while not giving anything up in the last 500. It’s going to be tough to do, but I think we can.”

With only one to advance, the U.S. men’s four of Clark Dean (Sarasota, Fla.), Andrew Reed (Wayland, Mass.), Tom Dethlefs (Lawrenceville, N.J.), and Tom Peszek (Farmington Hills, Mich.) finished second behind the reigning world championships’ silver medalists from Italy and now will race in the repechage on Tuesday. Italy led off the start with the U.S. in fourth, just 0.55 seconds off the pace. Italy pulled ahead of the rest of the field in the second 500 meters, with the U.S. moving into second position in front of Austria and Russia. The Americans continued to pursue the Italians the rest of the way down the course. Italy crossed the finish line with a time of 6:00.84, with the U.S. crossing in a 6:03.42. The U.S. will take on the Czech Republic, India, Belarus and Switzerland in the second of four repechages.

Blake Haxton (Columbus, Ohio) finished second in his heat of the PR1 men’s single sculls on Sunday and will now race in the repechages. With only one to advance to the semifinals, Brazil’s Rene Pereira was able to take the lead off the line and methodically pull away from Haxton over the rest of the course. The Brazilian won the race in a 10:20.19, with Haxton finishing in a 10:41.70.

In the lightweight men’s double sculls, Andrew Campbell (New Canaan, Conn.) and Nick Trojan (Los Alamitos, Calif.) finished fourth in their heat and now will have to race in the repechage on Monday. With three to advance, Campbell and Trojan were part of a tight, three-way battle for second place going into the final sprint. Germany took about a two-second lead on the field in the first 500 meters, with the U.S. holding a slight advantage on Poland and Portugal. The three crews continued to battle through the middle 1,000 meters. However, Portugal had more left for the sprint, moving through Poland and the American boat. Germany won the race in a 6:24.25, with Portugal crossing in a 6:24.90. The U.S. dropped off the pace in the final few meters, finishing in a 6:32.84. Campbell and Trojan will face the Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, and North Macedonia in the third of three repechages on Monday for their second chance to move on to the quarterfinals.

The men’s quadruple sculls crew of Gregory Ansolabehere (Bakersfield, Calif.), Tristan Amberger (Towson, Md.), Michael Knippen (Germantown, Wis.) and John Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio) finished fourth in their heat and now will race in the repechages. With two to advance, the U.S. sat in third position behind Poland and China at the midway point. That’s when Russia began to make its move on the top half of the field. With 500 meters to go, Poland continued to lead as Russia moved into third position and began tracking down China. At the line, Poland won in a time of 5:51.16. Russia overtook China for second by 0.21 seconds, finishing in a 5:52.46. The U.S. finished fourth with a time of 5:56.95 and will race against France, New Zealand, Great Britain, Ukraine and Moldova in the second of two repechages on Tuesday.

The duo of Justin Keen (Hatfield, Pa.) and Erik Frid (Madbury, N.H.) were edged out at the line, just missing a spot in the quarterfinals of the men’s double sculls. Instead, the U.S. boat will race in a repechage on Monday for a second chance at the quarterfinal. Ireland and Australia traded the top two positions throughout the race, while the U.S. and Belarus battled it out for the other qualification spot. Ireland took the early lead before Australia grabbed the top spot through the middle 1,000 meters. However, the Irish crew was able to come back to claim the victory in the final 500 meters. Likewise, Belarus sat in third at the 500-meter mark before the U.S. gained the advantage through the middle portion of the race. The U.S. still sat in third coming into the final 200 meters but the Belarussian boat was able to chase down the U.S. to claim third by a little more than a bowball. Ireland won the race in a 6:28.93, with Australia finishing second. Belarus crossed in a 6:35.36, with the U.S. finishing in a 6:35.45. The U.S. will take on Estonia, Bulgaria and Kazakhstan in the second of two repechages.

Kevin Meador (Berkeley, Calif.) finished fifth in his heat of the men’s single sculls and now will race in tomorrow’s repechages for the chance to go on to the quarterfinals. Meador sat in fifth at each of the 500-meter splits. The Netherlands’ Stef Broenink took the lead in the second quarter of the race and cruised to more than a four-second victory. Italy’s Simone Martini finished second to claim the other automatic qualifying spot for the quarterfinals. Meador will take on scullers from Finland, Kazakhstan and Paraguay in the first of eight repechages.

In addition to the crews racing in repechages on Monday, six U.S. crews will race in heats.

Hallie Smith (Washington, D.C.) won bronze in the PR1 women’s single sculls last year and will be looking to get back on the medal stand in 2019. Racing in the third of three heats, Smith will take on reigning world champion and world-record holder Birgit Skarstein from Norway, as well as Belarus and Italy. The top three finishers advance directly to the semifinals.

In the PR2 men’s single sculls, Isaac French (Glenville, N.Y.) returns to the national team after taking last year off. French will race against reigning world champion Corne de Koning of The Netherlands, as well as scullers from China and New Zealand, in the second of two heats. The winner advances directly to the final, with the remaining boats going to the repechage.

In the PR3 men’s pair, Todd Vogt (Rochester, N.Y.) and Andrew Wigren (Wellesley, Mass.) will race against crews from the Ukraine, Canada and Germany in the first of two heats. Vogt and Wigren are both making their national team debuts. The winner of each heat will move on to the final, with the remaining crews going to the repechage.

In the women’s double sculls, the U.S. tandem of Gevvie Stone (Newton, Mass.), 2016 Olympic silver medalist in the single sculls, and Cicely Madden (Weston, Mass.) won a silver medal behind New Zealand’s Brooke Donoghue and Olivia Loe earlier this summer at World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, Poland. With one to advance to the semifinals, Stone and Madden will face Italy, Canada, Ukraine and the defending world champions from Lithuania in the fourth of four heats.

The lightweight men’s pair of Alex Twist (Seattle, Wash.) and James Nelson (Austin, Texas) will race the Czech Republic, Russia and Austria in the second of two heats, with the winner moving on to the final.

The lightweight men’s quadruple sculls crew of Jasper Liu (Phoenix, Ariz.), Daniel Madden (New Rochelle, N.Y.), Peter Schmidt (Providence, R.I.) and Zachary Heese (Pelham, N.Y.) also will race in the second of two heats. The U.S. boat will take on The Netherlands, China and France, with the winner advancing directly to the final and the rest of the crews heading to the repechage.

The 2019 World Rowing Championships run from August 25-September 1 and will feature nearly 1,200 athletes from 80 nations including the largest number of para-rowers ever. Racing continues on Tuesday with heats in four additional events, two races for lanes and repechages in seven categories. Quarterfinals start on Wednesday, with semifinals beginning Thursday. Finals are set to start on Friday and run over the final three days.

The championships also are the initial step in the selection process for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as they serve as the first opportunity for countries to qualify their boats (not individual athletes) for 2020. Click here for more information on FISA’s Olympic qualification process. Click here for more information on FISA’s Paralympic qualification process.

Follow USRowing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for full coverage of the U.S. team competing at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. Use the hashtag #WRChamps, #WRC2019. Photos are available daily by clicking here.

World Rowing has partnered with NBC Sports Group for coverage of the World Rowing Cups, European Championships and World Championships in the U.S. The Olympic Channel television network will broadcast all eight days of racing and will stream all eight days on either the Olympic Channel or NBCSN via authentication. Click here for complete broadcast and live streaming information.

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