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Finals Set for 2016 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team Trials

by Sarah Marshall, smarshall@usrowing.org | Apr 23, 2016
Excitement sparked early on the beach of Nathan Benderson Park on Saturday morning, as the much anticipated men’s single sculls semifinal saw two fierce competitors finally go head-to-head. Athletes from six different events raced this morning for the last chance to make it into the Sunday morning finals at the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team Trials.

Saturday Results | Sunday Heat Sheets | Flickr Gallery

release1SARASOTA, Fla. - Excitement sparked early on the beach of Nathan Benderson Park on Saturday morning, as the much anticipated men’s single sculls semifinal saw two fierce competitors finally go head-to-head.

Athletes from six different events raced this morning for the last chance to make it into the Sunday morning finals at the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team Trials. 

Men’s Single Sculls Semifinals

Top two in each semifinal advanced to final, rest eliminated
 

Potomac Boat Club’s Greg Ansolabehere (Bakersfield, Calif.) came into Saturday morning's semifinals cool, calm, collected and ready to lay down the hammer.

Posting similar times to Ansolabehere's throughout the week, his biggest competition would come from the two-time Olympian, Ken Jurkowski (New Fairfield, Conn.)

Ansolabehere and Jurkowski stayed within less than a second of one another throughout the race until Jurkowski sprinted the last 500 meters to finish in a time of 7:13.64, ahead of Ansolabehere’s 7:17.32. Both advanced.

“My strategy in the semi was to hang out with Ken and do what I needed to do to go on,” said Ansolabehere. "I was focused on Hugh (McAdam). He’s a talented sculler, and he definitely pushed me.

"In the final, my plan is to do whatever it takes. I want to go out strong, stay consistent and make moves where they need to be. I suppose I'd be considered an underdog; nobody really knows me. I’m just here to put on the best piece I can.”

keenIn the second heat of the men’s single, Penn A.C. Rowing Association’s Justin Keen (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Craftsbury Sculling Center’s Tom Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio) had an exciting race for first. Keen was able to hold off Graves' strong push at the end to clock a time of 7:13.88, while Graves finished in 7:15.00.

The four athletes will line up tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. to compete for the opportunity to represent the United States at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta.

pierceWomen’s Single Sculls Semifinals
Top two in each seminal advanced to final, rest eliminated 

Southern California Scullers Club’s Kelly Pierce (Oakland, Va.) didn’t have the start she had hoped for in the second semifinal of the women's single.

“In between ‘attention’ and ‘go’ the wind blew me over, so I spent the start trying to recover and regain my point,” said Pierce. “I knew Michelle (Lazorchak) would jump out at the start, so I just stayed in my own race, kept chipping away and kept in mind that in the head wind, I needed to focus on doing something sustainable.”

USR_2715USR_2715While Cambridge Boat Club’s Gevvie Stone (Newton, Mass.) pulled away from the field within the first 500 meters, Pierce and Lazorchak continued to battle for the second qualifying spot in Sunday’s final.

Pierce would clock in second with a time of 8:05.88 behind Stone’s 7:53.86.

In the first semifinal, Pierce’s teammate from SoCal Scullers, Stesha Carle (Long Beach, Calif.), posted a time of 7:50.66. Vesper Boat Club’s Lindsay Meyer (Seattle, Wash.) finished second with a time of 7:58.08.

In a field with so much experience, Pierce is looking forward to racing in the final. 

“I am honestly just excited to get out there and see what I can do," she said. "It was about 12 months ago now that I had my first race in the single. The experience has been nonlinear and frustrating as I figured it all out. My goal was to make it in the grand final, so tomorrow I will just race the best race I can.”

Men’s Double Sculls Repechage
Top two in the repechage advanced to final, rest eliminated

topostcriWhile Community Rowing, Inc.’s crew of Thaddeus Babiec (Brighton, Mass.) and Theo Pritz (Ithaca, N.Y.) may have lost its initial lead, the athletes from Boston were excited following the repechage event in the men’s double sculls this morning. 

After racing in the men’s quadruple sculls earlier in the week, getting the chance to compete in another final was a welcome opportunity.

“I prefer having had the chance to race before this,” said Pritz. “I like racing with un-fresh legs. We were a little jumpy during our earlier races because it felt too fresh; we were too excited.”

The CRI boat clocked a time of 6:58.39 behind Los Angeles Rowing Club’s Nick Babikian (Brighton, Mass.) and Matt Schaeffer, who posted a 6:56.89. 

Women’s Double Sculls Repechage
Winner of each repechage advanced to final, rest eliminated

craftCraftsbury Sculling Center’s Jamie Chapman (Travers City, Mich.) and Elizabeth Anne Vogt (Trout Lake, Wash.) posted the fastest time of the first race in 7:26.29. Tampa-native Molly Hamrick and her teammate Keziah Beall (Bainbridge Island, Wash.) from Riverside Boat Club qualified from the second repechage with a time of 7:30.80.

Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls Repechage
Winner of each repechage advanced to final, rest eliminated

USR_2944USR_2944Malta Boat Club’s Colin Ethridge (Laytonsville, Md.) and Matt O’Leary (Westwood, Mass.) won the first rep of the lightweight men’s double sculls in 6:58.82. Riverside Boat Club’s Peter Schmidt (Providence, R.I.) and Jacob Georgeson (North Olmsted, Ohio) posted a 7:04.65 to win the second rep.

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls Repechage
Winner of each repechage advanced to final, rest eliminated

togaLocal favorites from Sarasota Crew, Monica Whitehouse (Big Bend, Wis.) and Rosa Kemp (Putnam Valley, N.Y.), advanced to Sunday's finals with a time of 7:30.53. California Rowing Club’s Victoria Burke (Redding, Conn.) and Nancy Miles (Bainbridge Island, Wash) advanced through the second rep with a time of 7:59.53.

"The support from the athletes and their families during the races and leading up to this has been amazing," said Whitehouse. "It is a great experience getting to do this at Nathan Benderson Park."

Finals of the 2016 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team Trials are set to begin Sunday at 9:00 a.m. with the men's arms and shoulders single sculls. Highlights of the event will be broadcast on NBCSN on May 8.

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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