First Olympic Spots to Be Decided Next Week at 2016 Trials

by Ed Moran, | Apr 12, 2016
PRINCETON, N.J. – Up until now, filling in the rowers' names that will make up the 2016 U.S. Olympic Games roster has been mostly speculation.
uso-amp-usptrials_rio_rowingtrials_datecity59246e0cf6146bee88a6ff00003df8e0PRINCETON, N.J. – Up until now, filling in the rowers' names that will make up the 2016 U.S. Olympic Games roster has been speculation.

Many athletes who have positioned themselves to make the squad are known and have been contending for a place in Rio throughout the four-year Olympic cycle. But being positioned and being selected are vastly different. Performance is always the ultimate determining factor.

At the end of next week when the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team Trials – Rowing, scheduled for April 17-24 at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Fla., conclude, the first of those roster slots will be officially filled, pending final approval from the United States Olympic Committee. Of the nine events contested, six will determine 2016 Olympians or Paralympians.

benderson park“It's not easy to start the season off with such an important race, especially as trials is a winner-takes-all regatta,” said Gevvie Stone (Newton, Mass.), who will be racing in the women’s single sculls, a boat class Stone qualified for Rio at the 2015 World Rowing Championships.

 “As elite rowers, we train for months without competing and then – it feels like all of a sudden – racing is next week," Stone said. "That being said, it's exciting to think about being on the line again and testing my limits. Racing is the reason we train for months and a major reason why we love the sport.

“But, trials is not about what I say. It's about what I do.”

In addition to the women’s single, racing in boats already qualified to compete in Rio will include the women’s double sculls, lightweight men’s and women’s double sculls, and men’s and women’s arms and shoulders single sculls.

The winner in each of those events will earn a place on the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic teams and will receive cash awards of $3,500, which are being provided in partnerships between private donors and USRowing.

(Read about the cash awards in the Olympic and Paralympic events.)

Racing also will take place in three other boat classes that are not yet qualified for Rio, including the men’s single sculls, men’s double sculls and men’s quadruple sculls. The winners of those events also will receive cash awards of $3,500 and will earn the right to compete at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in May in Lucerne, Switzerland.

In all nine events, cash awards will be distributed for second, third and fourth-place finishers, depending on the number of entries in each event.

In total, 73 crews from 30 clubs are registered to compete in the week-long regatta, which is being staged at the site of the 2017 World Rowing Championships.

"Rowing is one of the fastest growing youth sports in the state of Florida," said Curtis Jordan, USRowing Director of High Performance. "How exciting is it to have the second leg of the 2016 Olympic rowing team selection in Sarasota? The Sarasota-Bradenton communities and SANCA, the local organizing committee, are building a world-class rowing facility. We are looking forward to taking advantage of this facility and the community energy to highlight our sport and our top elite athletes."

"A lot of hard work by the athletes, the community and the USOC has gone into this week. It should be an exciting event with some great races," Jordan said.

Qualified Olympic and Paralympic Class Boats:

Women’s Single Sculls (W1x)

gevvieThirteen women are scheduled to compete in the event. Among them are Cambridge Boat Club’s Stone, Vesper Boat Club’s 2008 Olympian Lindsay Meyer (Seattle, Wash.), Southern California Scullers Club’s seven-time national team member Stesha Carle (Long Beach, Calif.), Craftsbury Rowing Center’s junior and under 23 athlete Madison Lips (Parker, Colo.) and Ann Holmes (San Francisco, Calif.) of California Rowing Club.

Stone finished seventh in the single at the Olympic Games in London and has been the U.S. women’s single sculler at the world championships the past two years. Meyer finished fifth in the women’s quad in Beijing and won silver in the double and quad at the 2015 Pan American Games. Both Meyer and Carle competed for the U.S. at the 2010 World Rowing Championships, where Meyer finished 10th in the single and Carle finished fifth in the double.

This is the second time Stone and Meyer have gone head-to-head for a spot on the Olympic team. At the 2012 Non-Qualified Small Boat Trials in Chula Vista, Calif., the two raced twice. Meyer won the semifinal. Both advanced before Stone won the final. Holmes also rowed in the event but was eliminated in the semifinal.

Women’s Double Sculls (W2x)

w2xSeven crews are entered in the women's double sculls. Among them are the United States Training Center – Oklahoma City/New York Athletic Club composite entry of 2008 Olympian Ellen Tomek (Flushing, Mich.) and Meghan O’Leary (Baton Rouge, La.), the USTC – Princeton entry of Natalie King (Weston, Conn.) and Corinne “Coco” Schoeller (Miami, Fla.) and Vesper Boat Club's Mary Jones (Huntsville, Ala.) and Nicole Ritchie (Dummerston, Vt.).

Tomek and O’Leary have represented the U.S. in the event at the world championships for the past three years. They finished 11th in 2015 and qualified the boat for Rio. Tomek finished fifth in the double in Beijing.

Jones won gold in the lightweight single sculls at the 2015 Pan American Games and finished seventh in the lightweight quad at the 2014 World Championships. Ritchie won silver medals in the double and quad at the 2015 Pan American Games.

Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x)

cambpell:KosEight crews are entered in this event, including Cambridge Boat Club's Andrew Campbell, Jr. (New Canaan, Conn.) and Joshua Konieczny (Millbury, Ohio), Malta Boat Club’s Colin Ethridge (Laytonsville, Md.) and Matt O'Leary (Westwood, Mass.), and Riverside Boat Club’s Peter Schmidt (Providence, R.I.) and Jacob Georgeson (North Olmsted, Ohio). Also entered is the unaffiliated crew of Austin Meyer (Cohoes, N.Y.) and Nick Trojan (Los Alamitos, Calif.).

Campbell has rowed on 10 national teams, starting in 2009. He won a bronze medal in the single sculls at the 2010 World Rowing Junior Championships and has rowed on five senior teams, winning a bronze in the lightweight single in 2012. He won consecutive gold medals in the event at the 2013 and 2014 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.

This is his second time rowing at Olympic Trials. He won the lightweight double event in 2012 when the boat class was unqualified but  failed to earn a spot in London at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta. Campbell and Konisczny rowed the lightweight double at the 2015 World Rowing Championships, finishing eighth and qualifying the boat for Rio.

“Our preparation for Olympic Trials has been going very well,” Campbell said. “Having another boat to work with, Peter Schmidt and Jake Georgeson of Riverside, has made training more competitive and fun. We've all come to really like the course at Benderson.

“It's nice to spend so much time training on the exact water we'll be competing on. Seeing those 500 meter signs helps remind us why we are doing all this hard work. We're not holding anything back for this one."

Schmidt and Georgeson are both senior team veterans. Schmidt won bronze in the lightweight eight at the 2015 worlds and both he and Georgeson were in the lightweight quad that finished seventh in 2014. Ethridge and O'Leary finished fifth in the lightweight quad in 2015.

Trojan finished fifth at worlds in the lightweight single in 2015. Meyer was in the fifth-place lightweight quad in 2015.

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x)

bertkoThere are eight crews entered in this event. Among them are Vesper Boat Club's national team veterans Kate Bertko (Oakland, Calif.) and Devery Karz (Park City, Utah) and California Rowing Club’s Victoria Burke (Redding, Conn.) and Nancy Miles (Bainbridge Island, Wash.).

Bertko has rowed on six national teams. She won bronze medals in the lightweight single at the 2014 and 2015 World Rowing Championships, silver in the lightweight double in 2013, and silver in the quad in 2009. Karz finished 11th to qualify the boat class at the 2015 World Rowing Championships and finished 10th in the event in 2014.

Burke won silver in the quad and bronze in the lightweight double at the 2015 Pan American Games. She won silver in the lightweight quad at the 2010 World Rowing Championships and silver in the quad at the 2009 World Rowing Under 23 Championships. Miles won silver in the lightweight quad at the 2013 World Rowing Championships and finished fourth in the quad at the 2011 World Rowing Junior Championships.

Men’s Arms and Shoulders Single Sculls (ASM1x)

blakeThree men are entered in this Paralympic trials event, including two-time national team veteran Blake Haxton (Columbus, Ohio), and Long Beach Rowing Association’s nine-time U.S. athlete and two-time Paralympian Ron Harvey (Downingtown, Pa.).

Haxton, rowing unaffiliated, finished fifth in the event and qualified the boat class in 2015 and finished fourth at the 2014 World Rowing Championships. Harvey last competed at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, where he finished eighth. He finished fifth in the event at the 2008 Paralympic Games.

Women’s Arms and Shoulders Single Sculls (ASW1x)

jackieRowing in this Paralympic event is Community Rowing, Inc.'s KateLynne Steinke (Yarmouth Port, Mass.) and Treasure Coast Rowing Club's Jacqui Kapinowski (Tequesta, Fla.). Kapinowski finished eighth in 2015 and qualified the boat. She finished ninth in the trunk and arms mixed double sculls at the 2011 World Rowing Championships.

She also has competed in multiple Paralympic and adaptive events. In 2013, she won bronze at the Paratriathlon World Championships. She finished fourth in the 2010 Paralympic Games in wheelchair curling. She took bronze at the 2007 and 2008 Marathon World Championships and won bronze at the 2008 World Championships for wheelchair curling.

Steinke represented the U.S. in the event at the 2014 World Rowing Championships, where she finished eighth.

Non-Qualified Olympic Events
The winners of the non-qualified Olympic events will earn the opportunity to represent the U.S. at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta May 22-25 in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Men’s Single Sculls (M1x)

jurkThe field in the men’s single is the largest of the regatta, with 20 competitors entered. Ken Jurkowski (New Fairfield, Conn.) represented the U.S. in the single at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. He finished 11th in Beijing and 24th in London. Among the competition is Craftsbury Sculling Center’s Thomas Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio), Craftsbury's John Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio) and USTC – Princeton’s Ryan Shelton (Wrightwood, Calif.).

Thomas Graves is a three-time senior athlete and is entered to row the single in the 2016 World Rowing Cup I April 15-17 in Varese, Italy. He finished 16th in the double at both the 2011 and 2009 World Rowing Championships. His younger brother, John Graves, has rowed on three-senior national teams, finishing 16th in the double in 2015, eighth in the quad in 2014, and 10th in the double in 2013. Shelton rowed in the quad that finished 13th at the 2013 World Rowing Championships.

Men’s Double Sculls (M2x)

willie-cowlesNine crews are entered to row in the event. Among them are Craftsbury’s Willy Cowles (Farmington, Conn.) and Stephen Whelpley (Mequon, Wis.) and Vesper’s Leonard Futterman (New York, N.Y.) and Jonathan Kirkegaard (Philadelphia, Pa.).

Cowles finished eighth in the quad at the 2013 World Rowing Cup III. Whelpley finished eighth in the quad at the 2014 World Rowing Championships and 13th in the single in 2013. Futterman finished 21st in the men's single at the 2013 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.

Men’s Quadruple Sculls (M4x)

The smallest field of the non-qualified events has three entries. This is the first time the quad has been a trials event since 2000.

Among the crews are California Rowing Club’s Ian Silveira (West Bloomfield, Mich.), Paul Marcy (Guilford, Vt.), Derek Johnson (Hillsborough, Calif.) and John Madura (West Milford, N.J.) and Craftsburys’ Ben Davison (Inverness, Fla.), Ben Dann (Pound Ridge, N.Y.), John Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio) and 2012 Olympian Peter Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio.).

Silveira finished 12th in the quad at the 2015 World Rowing Championships and 20th in the double in 2014. Johnson finished 12th in the quad in 2015 and 13th in 2013.

Peter Graves was in the quad that finished 13th at the 2012 Olympic Games. Dann rowed with John Graves in the double in 2015 and finished 10th. He was in the quad that finished 8th in 2014. Davison has rowed the single at two junior world championships and two under 23 world championships.

Racing will begin Sunday, April 17, with a time trial in the men’s quadruple sculls. Click here for complete event information and race schedule.

About USRowing

USRowing is a nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. USRowing has 85,000 individual members and 1,300 member organizations, offering rowing programs for all. USRowing receives generous support from the National Rowing Foundation and its corporate sponsors and partners.

For more information, contact: USRowing Communications, (609) 751-0710,
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