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Paralympic Hopefuls Kick-Off Thursday Time Trials

by Sarah Marshall, smarshall@usrowing.org | Apr 21, 2016
With anticipation hanging in the air, time trials for the 2016 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team Trials began this morning at Nathan Benderson Park, as athletes from across the country made their way down the course in their first step toward making the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic teams here at trials.

Results | Friday Heat Sheet | Flickr Gallery

SARASOTA, Fla. - With anticipation hanging in the air, time trials for the 2016 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team Trials began this morning at Nathan Benderson Park, as athletes from across the country made their way down the course in their first step toward making the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic teams here at trials.

Men’s Arms and Shoulders Single Sculls
All advance to Sunday final

Blake Haxton (Columbus, Ohio) started off the morning posting a time of 4:38.67 over Robbie Blevins (Oklahoma City, Okla.), who crossed the finish line in a time of 5:09.73. 

Haxton and Blevins will go head-to-head one more time this weekend, competing in the 1,000-meter final on Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. for a spot on the 2016 Paralympic Team.

Women’s Arms and Shoulders Single Sculls
All advance to Sunday final 

After qualifying the boat at the 2015 World Rowing Championships, Treasure Boatusr_1067usr_1067_720 Rowing Club, Inc.’s Jacqui Kapinowski (Tequesta, Fla.) moved one step closer to achieving her dream to compete at her final Paralympic Games, as she finished the time trial more than 15 seconds ahead of her competitor with a time of 5:17.34.

“We train so hard for this moment,” said Kapinowski before her time trial. “If I make it, this would be my last Paralympics. It's a dream come true for anyone to be an Olympian or Paralympian."

Community Rowing, Inc.’s Katelynne Steinke (East Falmouth, Mass.) posted a time of 5:33.50. Both women advance to the final on Sunday at 9:15 a.m., for the chance to represent the U.S. in Rio de Janeiro.

Men’s Single Sculls
14 move on the Friday heats, rest eliminated

In the most registered event of the trials, 21 athletes from around the country lined up to put their Olympic dreams on the line. First to take his chance was Potomac Boat Club’s Greg Ansolabehere (Bakersfield, Calif.) who knew just how high the stakes were.

“Everybody knew what was on the line for this race,” said Ansolabehere. “You have to lay down the most firm and competitive piece that you possibly can out there. That is what I knew I wanted to do and was thinking right before the start.”

usr_1226usr_1226_720First down the course and first on the results list, Ansolabehere finished with a time of 6:40.00, two full seconds in front of Penn A.C. Rowing Association’s Justin Keen (Philadelphia, Pa.).

Craftsbury Sculling Center’s Thomas Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio) and two-time Olympian Ken Jurkowski (New Fairfield, Conn.) came in third and fourth, respectively.

Women’s Single Sculls
All advance to heats

In one of the closest margins of the morning, Southern California Scullers Club’s Stesha Carle (Longbeach, Calif.) narrowly beat Cambridge Boat Club’s Gevvie Stone (Newton, Mass.) for the top nod with a time of  7:14.60 to 7:15.73.

Following close behind was Vesper Boat Club’s Lindsay Meyer (Seattle, Wash.), a Beijing Olympian in the women's quad, who rounded out the top-three with a time of 7:23.01.

Men’s Double Sculls
All advance to heats

With six crews racing in the men’s double sculls event, Craftsbury Sculling Center’s Willy Cowles (Farmington, Conn.) and Stephen Whelpley (Mequon, Wis.) finished in 6:08.31. A little more than two seconds behind the Craftsbury crew, Vesper Boat Club’s Leonard Futterman (New York, N.Y.) and Jonathan Kirkegaard (Philadelphia, Pa.) finished second with 6:10.66. 

Women’s Double Sculls
All advance to heats

The lineup that qualified the women’s double sculls event at the 2015 World Rowingusr_1492usr_1492_720 Championship, composite crew of USRowing Training Center – Princeton and New York Athletic Club’s Meghan O’Leary (Baton Rouge, La.) and Ellen Tomek (Flushing, Mich.), topped the field of seven with a time of 6:39.39.

Vesper Boat Club came in a close second place as Nicole Ritchie (Dummerston, Vt.) and Mary Jones (Huntsville, Ala.) finished with the second fastest trial time of 6:41.89. 

Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls
All advance to heats

Similar to the women’s double sculls trial, the lineup that qualified the boat also took the top time in the trial as Cambridge Boat Club's Andrew Campbell, Jr. (New Canaan, Conn.) and Joshua Konieczny (Millbury, Ohio) finished almost 10 seconds ahead of the next crew with a time of 5:57.95.

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls
All advance to heats

Vesper Boat Club’s Kate Bertko (Oakland, Calif.) and Devery Karz (Park City, Utah) posted a commanding lead over the field of eight. They finished more than 10 seconds up the next crew with a time of 6:38.30. The duo are both veteran national team members that competed at the 2015 World Rowing Championships last year. Bertko won bronze in the lightweight single sculls; Karz finished 11th in the lightweight double.

Heats for the men’s and women’s single sculls, men’s and women’s double sculls and lightweight men's and women’s double sculls begin on Friday morning at 8:00 a.m.

All media covering the 2016 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team Trials must apply for a media credential here and comply with the Trials News Access Guidelines 2016 - Rowing and USRowing Code of Conduct for Representatives of Media. For more information or specific questions, please contact USRowing Director of Communications Allison Müller.

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.

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