U.S. Wins Three Medals, Advances to Three Finals on Friday at the 2019 World Rowing Championships

The U.S. lightweight women’s pair and PR3 women’s pair won gold medals, while the PR3 mixed double sculls won a bronze medal on Friday at the 2019 World Rowing Championships in Linz, Austria.

In addition, three U.S. crews advanced out of the semifinals and qualified boats for either the 2020 Olympic or Paralympic Games. Kara Kohler (Clayton, Calif.) won her semifinal of the women’s single sculls, while both the women’s double sculls and PR1 women’s single sculler Hallie Smith (Washington, D.C.) finished third.

The lightweight women’s pair of Cara Stawicki (Wall, N.J.) and Margaret Bertasi (London, England) won gold, grabbing the lead over Italy just past the midway point of the race and then holding off a late move from the Italians. Italy took a half-length advantage over the U.S. in the first 500 meters before the Americans began to slowly close the margin. Stawicki and Bertasi used a strong move in the third 500 to establish about a length lead on Italy going into the final quarter of the race. The Italians tried to close the gap, but the U.S. crew won by a half-length. Stawicki and Bertasi finished in a 7:32.64, with Italy winning silver in a 7:34.20. Germany won the bronze medal.

“The race was great,” Stawicki said. “We were behind off the line … I felt us taking inches the whole way down. We just rowed with confidence and tried to lock into our rhythm. My job was to stay off the buoy line, and we did that for the most part.”

“I think it was a great way to end our season,” Bertasi said. “Results aside, we wanted to come off the water having had a good regatta, and we really, really did that. It’s been an adventure getting into a sweep boat for the summer, and I think we’re proud of the way we finished.”

In the PR3 women’s pair, Jaclyn Smith (Williston Park, N.Y.) and Molly Moore (Indianapolis, Ind.) easily won the gold medal over Italy, finishing more than a minute in front of the Italian crew. Smith and Moore grabbed a huge lead in the first 500 meters and then continued to pull away over the rest of the race. The U.S. finished with a time of 8:06.51, with Italy crossing in a 9:20.71.

“Since the boat became a world-championship boat class last year, it’s been a real goal of ours to race the pair and be able to go out there and (showcase) the para side where it’s one gender instead of both together,” Smith said. “It’s been really great for us. Last year with Dani Hansen and this year with Molly, it’s been a lot of fun. I just hope more nations get behind it, and we start to get more and more competition because it is a great boat class.”

Pearl Outlaw (Charlottesville, Va.) and Joshua Boissoneau (Bedford, N.H.) won the bronze medal in the PR3 mixed double sculls despite some adversity along the way.

“I fell off my seat in the starting 20, and I had to literally jump back on,” Boissoneau said. “She set the boat for me on those three strokes to get back, and I lost my oar here in the last 250, so she was able to keep the boat upright and power through to the finish. We’re happy. It’s not the time we wanted, but we’re on the podium and that was one of our goals coming into this year.”

Russia blew out to the early lead with Austria in second and Israel in third. Russia continued to increase its advantage down the course, with Austria settling into second position. The U.S. and China passed Israel in the second 500 meters and were within a deck of each other moving into the back half of the race. That’s when Outlaw and Boissoneau began to pull away from China. At the line, Russia won the gold medal in a 7:48.32. Austria won silver in an 8:01.12, with the U.S. taking bronze in an 8:17.51.

“I had no idea what was going on,” said Outlaw of Boissoneau coming off his seat. “I was just trying to focus on keeping the rate nice and steady, because that’s kind of my job. I knew something was up, but we just had to power through it. It was hard because I can’t see what’s going on or where we are, so the whole time I just had to keep the faith that we were doing what we were supposed to do. It was great. We pulled it together and did a good job.”

In the first semifinal of the women’s single sculls, Kara Kohler (Clayton, Calif.) overtook Denmark’s Fie Udby Erichsen in the second half of the race to row to a one-length victory. The victory earned Kohler a spot in Sunday’s final and qualified the boat for the Olympic Games in the process. Erichsen used a strong start to take the early lead, with Kohler and Great Britain’s Victoria Thornley sitting just off the pace. Erichsen continued to lead as the boats crossed the midway point, holding a half-length advantage on Kohler. That’s when the American began to close the gap on the Danish sculler. Kohler edged her bowball ahead as the two scullers reached the 1,500-meter mark and began to power away, with Thornley pushing the pace as well. At the line, Kohler crossed in a 7:33.60, a length a head of Thornley. Switzerland’s Jeannine Gmelin also chased down Erichsen in the final 300 meters to finish third and earn the last spot in the final.

“I’m proud that I can represent the team I train with,” Kohler said. “It’s a really hard-working group of athletes that inspire me, so I’m happy that I can participate in the success of the team. I’ve been working really hard, and I’m glad that it’s been paying off so far. The work is far from over. The focus is on Sunday now.”

The women’s double sculls crew of Gevvie Stone (Newton, Mass.) and Cicely Madden (Weston, Mass.) advanced to the final thanks to a third-place finish in the second semifinal. France led the pack at the 500-meter mark with the top five crews rowing within less than a half-second of each other. The U.S. moved into the top position during the second 500 meters and held the top spot going into the last quarter of the race. Romania began its charge just after the 1,000-meter mark and continued to close the gap on the U.S. and France. At the line, Romania finished with a time of 6:56.60, with France crossing in a 6:57.92. The U.S. held off Australia, finishing with a time of 6:58.53.

“I think we did what we needed to do to get into the final and now it’s about tuning up for the race on Sunday,” Madden said. “It’s exciting.”

“We qualified for the final, and we’re in the hunt for the medals, which is the ultimate goal,” Stone said. “It’s a little bit of weight off the shoulders, for sure (qualifying the boat for Tokyo) … That being said, we have high expectations of ourselves.

Hallie Smith (Washington, D.C.) finished third in her semifinal of the PR1 women’s single sculls to advance to the final and qualify the boat for the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. Israel’s Moran Samuel took the early lead before France’s Nathalie Benoit moved into the top position in the second quarter of the race. Benoit continued to pull away from Samuel in the second 1,000 meters. Meanwhile, Smith established her hold on third place and the last qualifying spot in the first 500 meters. Benoit finished with a time of 10:35.65, with Samuel crossing the line in a 10:51.81. Smith finished in an 11:14.59.

“I was really excited because, in this race, I just rowed my own race,” Smith said. “I didn’t have to think a lot about what other people were doing. It was my race plan, and I stuck to it and it worked. And that feels really good. It means a lot to qualify the boat for the Paralympics. I became paralyzed in 2014, and I started following para sports once I became disabled. It became a dream to go to the Paralympics, so I’ve qualified my boat and now I’m going to just keep working and working so that I’m the one representing in Tokyo because that’s a dream come true.”

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.) finished fourth in its final, coming up just short of the medal stand. Italy established the early lead, with China rowing in second position. At the midway point, Germany and the U.S. sat within a few feet of each other, just off the top two crews’ pace. Germany edged slightly ahead of the U.S. as the boats hit the final 500 meters. The U.S. closed the gap twice to within a foot, but the Germans were able to withstand the challenge and take the bronze medal. Italy won gold in a 6:34.00, with China taking silver. Germany won bronze in a 6:37.72, with the U.S. finishing in a 6:38.36.

In the final of the PR2 women’s single sculls, Madison Eberhard (Getzville, N.Y.) finished fourth. Australia’s Kathryn Ross, who set a world’s best time in the preliminary race, easily won the gold medal, while The Netherlands’ Annika van der Meer and Ireland’s Katie O’Brien battled it out for silver. Ross won the race in a 9:37.30, with van der Meer claiming silver in a 9:56.84. O’Brien won the bronze medal. Eberhard finished with a time of 10:39.10.

In the final of the PR2 men’s single sculls, Isaac French (Glenville, N.Y.) finished fifth. French dropped into fifth off the line and could never challenge for a medal. The Netherlands’ Corne de Koning repeated as world champion, defeating Canada’s Jeremy Hall by 4.66 seconds. De Koning finished with a time of 8:42.78 to win the gold. Hall crossed in an 8:47.44 for silver, while Italy’s Daniele Stefanoni won the bronze medal in a 9:11.55. French finished in a 9:29.96.

In the final of the PR3 men’s pair, Todd Vogt (Rochester, N.Y.) and Andrew Wigren (Wellesley, Mass.) finished sixth. Canada passed Australia in the final 500 meters to win the gold medal. Australia finished second, followed by France in bronze-medal position. Canada won with a time of 7:16.42, with Australia finishing 1.41 seconds behind. The U.S. boat crossed the line in an 8:06.96.

Blake Haxton (Columbus, Ohio) finished fifth in his semifinal of the PR1 men’s single sculls and now will race in the B final with Paralympic qualification on the line. Australia’s Erik Horrie took the early lead with Russia’s Alexey Chuvashev in second and Ukraine’s Roman Polianskyi in third. Haxton got off the line in fourth, just ahead of China. Horrie continued to lead through the 1,500-meter mark, with Polianskyi moving into second position. In the final 250 meters, the Ukranian was able to overtake Horrie for the victory. Polianskyi finished in a 9:26.94, with Horrie finishing second and Chuvashev taking third. Haxton crossed in a 10:02.82, finishing fifth.

The lightweight men’s pair of Alex Twist (Seattle, Wash.) and James Nelson (Austin, Texas) defeated Armenia to win the B final to finish seventh overall. Twist and Nelson took the lead in the first 500 meters and rowed away from the Armenians in the second quarter of the race. The U.S. finished with a time of 7:00.45, more than 30 seconds ahead of Armenia.

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.) won the B final to finish seventh overall. In the two-boat race, the U.S. took the early lead on Ireland and was able to slowly move away from the Irish crew over the last half of the race. The U.S. finished with a time of 6:03.94, with Ireland finishing in a 6:06.62.

In the lightweight men’s single sculls, Tyler Nase (Phoenixville, Pa.) used a powerful second half of the race to move from sixth to third, coming up just short in the sprint. Nase still sat in fifth position as the scullers crossed into the final 500 meters, but he was beginning to track down the four leading scullers. At the line, Austria’s Rainer Kepplinger won the race in a 7:00.16, while Poland’s Milosz Jankowski held off Nase for second by 0.11 seconds, finishing in a 7:01.24. Nase clocked a 7:01.35.

In the lightweight women’s single sculls, Emily Schmieg (Philadelphia, Pa.) also finished third in her B final for ninth overall. Schmieg sat in fourth off the line before taking the lead in the middle 1,000 meters. Schmieg was still rowing at the front of the pack going into the final 500 meters, but Australia’s Alice Arch and Denmark’s Mathilde Persson were able to pass the American. Arch won the race in a 7:52.59, just ahead of Persson’s 7:52.98. Schmieg finished with a time of 7:54.55.

The men’s pair of Anders Weiss (Barrington, R.I.) and Ezra Carlson (Eureka, Calif.) won the second C/D semifinal by a half-length to advance to tomorrow’s C final, which will determine places 13-18 overall. The U.S. took the lead in the first 500 meters ahead of China and Denmark and continued to race at the head of the field the rest of the way down the course. The U.S. finished with a time of 6:38.47, with Denmark taking second in a 6:39.95. Weiss and Carlson will face Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Argentina and Poland in the C final.

The U.S. will have four boats racing for medals on Saturday, with three other crews looking for Olympic or Paralympic qualification spots in the B finals.

Tracy Eisser (Fair Lawn, N.J.) and Megan Kalmoe (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) edged out Italy by a bowball to finish second in their semifinal of the women’s pair, advancing to the final and qualifying the boat for the 2020 Olympic Games in the process. The 2017 world silver medalists now will turn their attention to getting back on the medal stand. Eisser and Kalmoe will take on crews from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Spain and Italy on Saturday.

The 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.) advanced to the finals of the PR3 mixed four with coxswain with a victory in the second semifinal, qualifying the boat for next year’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo. The U.S., which has won five consecutive silver medals in the event, will try to upend Great Britain’s gold-medal streak on Saturday. Australia, Italy, Israel and Russia round out the field.

The men’s four of Clark Dean (Sarasota, Fla.), Andrew Reed (Wayland, Mass.), Tom Dethlefs (Lawrenceville, N.J.), and Tom Peszek (Farmington Hills, Mich.) pulled away from Germany in the final 500 meters to finish third and earn a spot in Saturday’s final, securing an Olympic berth for Tokyo. The U.S. will face crews from Romania, Australia, Great Britain, Poland and Italy in the race for the medals.

The women’s four of Caryn Davies (Ithaca, N.Y.), Madeleine Wanamaker (Neenah, Wis.), Vicky Opitz (Middleton, Wis.) and Molly Bruggeman (Dayton, Ohio) also advanced to the finals thanks to a third-place finish in its semifinal, qualifying the boat for Tokyo. The U.S. will take on The Netherlands, Australia, Denmark, Poland and Romania on Saturday.

In the lightweight women’s double sculls, Christine Cavallo (Windermere, Fla.) and Michelle Sechser (Folsom, Calif.) were unable to hold off a late-charging Romanian crew and ended up dropping to fifth in their semifinal. Cavallo and Sechser will race in the B final on Saturday with Olympic qualification on the line. The U.S. will take on Italy, Switzerland, Canada, Australia and South Africa, with the winner earning a qualifying spot for the Olympics.

The women’s quadruple sculls crew of Kate Roach (North Oaks, Minn.), Emily Huelskamp (Sainte Genevieve, Mo.), Sophia Vitas (Franklin, Wis.) and Lauren Schmetterling (Moorestown, N.J.) missed the final by only a couple of feet, finishing third in its repechage. The U.S. will face Italy, Romania, Russia, France and Australia in tomorrow’s B final, with the top two crews earning Olympic qualification spots.

In the PR2 mixed double sculls, Laura Goodkind (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Russell Gernaat (Redwood City, Calif.) will race in the B final after finishing fifth in the second semifinal. The duo will take on crews from Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Germany and Canada, with the top two crews earning qualification spots for the 2020 Paralympic Games.

Finally, three additional U.S. crews will be racing in placement finals.

In the lightweight men’s double sculls, Andrew Campbell (New Canaan, Conn.) and Nick Trojan (Los Alamitos, Calif.) won their C/D semifinal and now will race in the C finals on Saturday for places 13-18. Campbell and Trojan will face off against crews from Austria, Portugal, Denmark, France and Great Britain.

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 its repechage, narrowly missing a spot in the A/B semifinals. The crew now will race in the C final against Austria, Lithuania, France and Moldova for places 13-17.

The men’s double sculls duo of Justin Keen (Hatfield, Pa.) and Erik Frid (Madbury, N.H.) finished fourth in its C/D semifinals and will race in a D final for places 19-24. Keen and Frid will take on crews from Slovenia, Japan, Cuba, Chile and Estonia on Saturday.

The 2019 World Rowing Championships run August 25-September 1 and feature nearly 1,200 athletes from 80 nations including the largest number of para-rowers ever. Racing concludes on Sunday with the remaining finals.

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.

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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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