Women’s Double Wins Heat, Five Advance on Second Day at the 2019 World Rowing Championships

Gevvie Stone (Newton, Mass.) and Cicely Madden (Weston, Mass.) put down the fastest time of the morning in the women’s double sculls heats, en route to winning their race and advancing directly to the semifinals. Stone and Madden’s performance highlighted the second day of competition for the United States at the 2019 World Rowing Championships in Linz, Austria, which saw five American crews advance.

Stone, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist in the single sculls, and Madden dominated their heat, establishing nearly two lengths of open water in the middle 1,000 meters and cruising to a boat-length victory over Canada.

“We had a fast start at the world cup, and we wanted to use that to our advantage and get out, do what we could to extend that lead and then stay ahead and get the bow across first,” Stone said.

With only one to advance, Stone and Madden used a strong start to establish an early lead over the defending world champions from Lithuania. The Americans then made a huge push in the second 500 to build an open-water advantage on the field. Stone and Madden continued to build their lead into the final sprint before securing the victory. Canada used a strong second half of the race to move into second position but was never able to regain contact with the Americans. At the line, the U.S. crew crossed in a 6:56.36. Canada finished in a 6:58.63.

“The goal was to win the heat, so we’d advance directly to the semi, and we managed to do that,” Stone said. “We feel good about that. It’s nice to see all of the competition peaking at the world championships. It’s both challenging and fun to see everyone on their A game.”

Stone and Madden will now switch their focus to the semifinals.

“I think it’s just racing smart, tuning up what we learned from our last race” said Madden about their focus going into Friday’s race.

Kevin Meador (Berkeley, Calif.) made up a six-second differential in the back half of the race to win the first repechage of the men’s single sculls and advance to the quarterfinals. The American was trailing Finland’s Robert Ven by about two boat lengths of open water as the scullers crossed the halfway point of the race before he began to cut into Ven’s lead. With 500 meters to go, Meador was still behind by open water, but the American was making a furious charge to try to claim the lone qualifying spot in the quarterfinals.

“I spent a lot of time ahead of the race preparing myself,” Meador said. “I knew I was going to be down at the 1k. I knew it was going to be a third and fourth 500 race, so I basically just prepared myself to do whatever it was that I could, whatever was necessary — race to win.”

Meador kept the pressure on and closed the gap to a half-boat length with about 200 meters to go as Ven continued to falter. As the two scullers reached the final 150 meters, Meador broke through, with Ven no longer able to stave off the American’s sprint. Meador won the race in a 7:21.53, with Ven ultimately crossing in a 7:26.64. Meador will race in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

“I knew it would be a tough race,” Meador said. “He was very fast in his heat, but he had to race it all the way to the line. It was a headwind, so it was a long race and a hot day, and I just put pressure on him until the end. I figured one of the two of us would eventually have to call it. It took until the red buoys, but I managed to get it in the end.”

In the lightweight men’s double sculls, Andrew Campbell (New Canaan, Conn.) and Nick Trojan (Los Alamitos, Calif.) came back to win their repechage to advance to the quarterfinals. After narrowly missing a spot in the quarterfinals yesterday, the Americans took the lead off the line and controlled the race the rest of the way down the course. With Japan rowing in second, Campbell and Trojan built an open-water advantage moving into the final 500 meters, cruising to a 2.86-second victory. The U.S. finished with a time of 6:38.17. Japan finished second and also advanced to the quarterfinals.

“We thought we rowed a very good piece yesterday, but we weren’t able to hang on to it in the last quarter,” Campbell said. “The game plan today was to just go out and practice controlling ourselves a little bit in the first half of the race, and since we got to row from ahead, that was pretty easy to do.”

The men’s double sculls duo of Justin Keen (Hatfield, Pa.) and Erik Frid (Madbury, N.H.) also advanced to the quarterfinals on the backs of a victory in their repechage. With two to advance, Keen and Frid got off the line in second position behind Estonia and ahead of Bulgaria. Estonia kept the lead through the 1,500-meter mark before the U.S. took over the lead just after the crews entered the final quarter of the race. At the line, the Americans finished with a time of 6:44.56, with Estonia crossing in a 6:46.40.

“Just try to freshen our legs up in the next 48 hours,” Keen said of looking towards the quarterfinals. “We know what we have to do is get off the line a lot faster. We had a good rhythm today. We just have to get off the line a little faster, find the same rhythm, maybe squeeze another split or two out of it and then pull off another big sprint. It’s going to be close. There’s a group of about 10 boats that are going to be on the bubble, and it’s going to go either way by a couple of seconds. We’re excited to go out there and throw down.”

Hallie Smith (Washington, D.C.), who won bronze in the PR1 women’s single sculls event last year, advanced to the semifinals thanks to a second-place finish behind defending world champion Birgit Skarstein of Norway. Skarstein, the world record holder, took the lead in the first few strokes, while Smith established herself in second place ahead of the Belarussia sculler. Skarstein and Smith continued to build on their leads the rest of the way down the course. At the line, Skarstein finished in a 10:55.58, with Smith crossing in an 11:33.30. Belarus’ Liudmila Vauchok finished third.

“Today, for me, was really working hard to come back from not doing very well at World Cup II, and I did it,” Smith said. “It felt really good. I’ve been focusing on my middle thousand in the past couple of months, and it really paid off.”

“The big thing is going to be the sprint because I didn’t have to sprint today,” Smith said about preparing for the semifinals. “I want to make sure that my sprint is in tip-top shape, so that I can hit that A final and qualify (the boat) for next year’s Paralympics.”

In the PR2 men’s single sculls, Isaac French (Glenville, N.Y.) will race in a repechage after finishing second in his heat. The Netherlands’ Corne de Koning, the reigning world champion, led the race from start to finish, with French taking control of second position in the first 500 meters. French continued to distance himself from the New Zealand sculler over the middle 1,000 meters, finishing with a time of 9:46.84, more than nine seconds ahead of the Kiwi. De Koning finished with a time of 8:59.82 to earn the automatic qualifying spot for the final.

The lightweight men’s pair of Alex Twist (Seattle, Wash.) and James Nelson (Austin, Texas) finished third in its heat and now will race in a repechage. Twist and Nelson sat in fourth position through the midway point before moving past Austria in the third 500 meters. The Czech Republic overtook Russia during the second half of the race to win with a time of 6:52.80. The U.S. finished in a 7:00.69.

In the PR3 men’s pair, Todd Vogt (Rochester, N.Y.) and Andrew Wigren (Wellesley, Mass.) finished fourth in their heat and will race in a repechage. Canada took the lead off the start and walked away from the rest of the field. The Canadians crossed in a 7:43.70 to earn the lone qualifying spot for the final, with Ukraine finishing second more than 11 seconds back. Vogt and Wigren finished with a time of 8:15.86.

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 finished fourth in its heat and will race in the repechages. China led from start to finish, clocking a 5:56.89 to win by more than five seconds. The U.S. crossed the line in a 6:20.63. Tomorrow, the crew will take on Ireland, Austria, The Netherlands, Denmark and France in the repechage, with the top four moving on to the final.

In addition to the lightweight men’s quad, two U.S. crews will race in repechages on Tuesday, while five crews will hit the water for the first time.

The 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 in Sunday’s heat, forcing them to race in the repechages. The U.S. will take on the Czech Republic, India, Belarus and Switzerland in the second of four repechages, with the top two finishers advancing to the semifinals.

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, sending them to the repechages. The U.S. will race against France, New Zealand, Great Britain, Ukraine and Moldova in the second of two repechages, with the top three finishers moving on to the semifinals.

In the women’s quadruple sculls, the U.S. crew of Kate Roach (North Oaks, Minn.), Emily Huelskamp (Sainte Genevieve, Mo.), Sophia Vitas (Franklin, Wis.) and Lauren Schmetterling (Moorestown, N.J.) will be looking to improve on last year’s sixth-place finish. Only Huelskamp returns from the 2018 boat. The U.S. drew a tough heat that includes all three medalists from last year. The Americans will face off against Poland, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands and Romania in the first of two heats, with the winner advancing directly to the final.

After a one-year hiatus from the top of the medal stand, the U.S. women’s eight once again won gold at the 2018 World Rowing Championships ahead of Canada and Australia. This year’s lineup includes Katelin Guregian (Detroit, Mich.), Erin Reelick (Brookfield, Conn.), Gia Doonan (Rochester, Mass.), Emily Regan (Buffalo, N.Y.), Olivia Coffey (Watkins Glen, N.Y.), Dana Moffat (Manlius, N.Y./), Meghan Musnicki (Naples, N.Y.), Kristine O’Brien (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) and Felice Mueller (Cleveland, Ohio). Racing in the first of two heats, the U.S. will open defense of the world title against Russia, Australia, Romania, The Netherlands and Denmark. The heat winners will advance directly to the final, with the remaining crews moving on to the repechages.

This year’s men’s eight lineup will be looking to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish at the world championships. The crew of coxswain Julian Venonsky (Malvern, Pa.), Austin Hack (Old Lyme, Conn.), Ben Davison (Inverness, Fla.), Mike DiSanto (Boston, Mass.), Alexander Richards (Watertown, Mass.), Nick Mead (Strafford, Pa.), Conor Harrity (Weston, Mass.), Patrick Eble (Fort Washington, Pa.) and Alex Karwoski (Moultonborough, N.H.) will take on Romania, Great Britain, The Netherlands and New Zealand in the second of two heats. The top two crews in each heat will advance directly to the final.

In the lightweight women’s pair, the U.S. crew of Cara Stawicki (Wall, N.J.) and Margaret Bertasi (London, England) will hit the water for the first time in a race for lanes. With only four entries, Stawicki and Bertasi will race Italy, Latvia and Germany in a preliminary race before their final later in the week.

The lightweight women’s quadruple sculls crew of Mary Reckford (Short Hills, N.J.), Rosa Kemp (Putnam Valley, N.Y.), Michaela Copenhaver (Berkeley, Calif.) and Jessica Hyne-Dolan (Verdi, Nev.) also will row in a race for lanes on Tuesday against China, Italy, Vietnam and Germany. The five crews will be racing for seeding in the final.

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 Wednesday with quarterfinals, the remaining repechages and races for lanes, as well as placement semifinals and finals. Semifinals begin Thursday, while 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 hashtags #WRChamps and #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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