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U.S. Crews Win Five Medals at 2016 World Rowing Cup II

by Ed Moran, ed@usrowing.org | May 29, 2016
Standing on the finish line dock on the Rotsee race course in Lucerne, Switzerland, the U.S. men’s eight huddled together and listened to Alex Karwoski speak. The message was a simple one, Karwoski said. They had just wrapped up a five-medal day for the United States at the 2016 World Rowing Cup II with a bronze medal in their event. The goal for Rio qualification was met in the men's eight, and medals had been won as a team - enjoy it tonight, then go back home and get to work.
men's eight huddleLUCERNE, Switzerland – Standing on the finish line dock on the Rotsee race course in Lucerne, Switzerland, the U.S. men’s eight huddled together and listened to Alex Karwoski speak.

The message was a simple one, Karwoski said. They had just wrapped up a five-medal day for the United States at the 2016 World Rowing Cup II with a bronze medal in their event. The goal for Rio qualification was met in the men's eight, and medals had been won as a team - enjoy it tonight, then go back home and get to work.

The 2016 Olympic Games is on the horizon.

“This weekend was surreal,” said Karwoski. “We came here and accomplished what we came here to do and proved we belong. Now we need to get back home and put this behind us because we have work to do.”

That may be, but for this one afternoon, the U.S. had reason to celebrate the moment.

w8podiumThe U.S. women’s eight continued its streak of excellence, winning another international gold medal. Four of that same crew had a double-medal day after taking gold and bronze in the pair.

And in the women’s single sculls, Gevvie Stone (Newton, Mass.) ended her European racing career with a silver medal.

The U.S. had 17 total crews in competition over three days, and for many of them, it was their last international competition before Rio and before the USRowing Training Centers conclude the selection process and name the camp boats on June 20.
    
“We had a lot of crews here, all of them on slightly different missions,” said Curtis Jordan, USRowing Director of High Performance. “Some of them are still in selection, some of them are testing speed and some of them are training through it. I know that everybody that was on the medal podium is happy, and as long as we learned something, it was really successful.

“For the ones that didn’t make the medal podium, it was a little disappointing. But, again, if they learned a little something, it will help them in Rio. So this regatta, not only within our squad, but for every country here, everyone is at a little different stage. So you kind of have to know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and be checking to see if you’re on track,” he said.

“I think we came away with a lot of positive racing.”

Women's Pair (W2-): Gold and Bronze

graceandfeliceraceingTwo U.S. women’s pairs led the way to the medals dock, winning gold and bronze. Going into the regatta, the favorites in the event were British champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, but Stanning fell ill and they withdrew Sunday morning.

USA1’s Grace Luczak (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Felice Mueller (Cleveland, Ohio) jumped into the lead from the start and were never out of contention for gold. USA2, with two-time Olympic champion Eleanor Logan (Boothbay Harbor, Maine) and 2012 Olympic champion Meghan Musnicki (Naples, N.Y.), rowed in fourth place through the first 1,000 meters before taking bronze position in the second half.

Luczak and Mueller won gold in 7:06.36. New Zealand took silver in 7:07.84 and USA2 finished third in 7:11.31.

“I am thrilled to see two U.S. boats on the podium,” said Luczak. “I love rowing with Felice. I just feel like we get in a rhythm. When it came to the final, we both knew what we wanted to do. It was really fun today to go out there and do that.

pairpodium“Things weren’t as smooth in the earlier races,” she said. “We did a good job of building throughout the regatta and staying relaxed, while still getting some good speed on it. I thought about erging during the race, which I never thought I would do. I looked at the splits and I thought, 'I’m not going to go above this split.'

“I was surprised that GB wasn’t at the line, but we were very focused on our race plan and in our boat. We know we qualified; winning was the goal.”

As National Selection Regatta 1 winners, Luczak and Mueller had more than a world cup gold medal on the line. The NSR victory gave them the opportunity to represent the U.S. as the women’s pair at the 2016 Olympic Games with a top-four finish here.

With the women’s national selection team camp still in session, that is a decision for another day. But it was a goal recognized by all four athletes.

“It was a great race for both our boats,” said Logan. “Felice and Grace qualified and that was pretty much a priority of the regatta, getting top-four so they have the choice to be the Olympic pair if they want to.”

Women's Single Sculls (W1x): Silver

gevvieraceAustralia's Kim (Crow) Brennan was the favorite to win and led in all the preceding races. On Sunday, she took the lead from the start and did not relent. Gevvie Stone (Newton, Mass.) was back in fifth place, ahead of only Canada’s Carling Zeeman.

As the race progressed, Stone pushed into third place, but was challenged by Miroslava Knapkova of the Czech Republic. Approaching the final 500 meters, Stone was in third, but even she did not know where she was for sure.

“I honestly had no idea where I was in the last 500 meters,” she said.

With medal placement only about 250 meters away, Stone opened up a blazing sprint, rowed through the pack and pushed herself into second place. Her split through the final quarter was the fastest of all six competitors.

Brennan won gold in 7:28.38. Stone was second for silver in 7:30.98 and Knapkova was third in 7:32.27.

“I went out there today knowing this was my last race in Europe, and I just wanted to go out strong and have fun on the course. 'Last one, fast one,' is what you always say in college. We got to 500 meters to go, Carling took it up and she is so tough and so gutsy, I just used that as motivation and used her rate in a way to help me power through,” she said.

“I didn’t have any idea what was going on in the last part of the course, no idea. I didn’t look out of the boat from 500 to go, on. I said to Kim at the end, ‘Where was I?’ It’s maybe the best sprint I’ve had, and it’s a really great race to leave Europe on and to head into the last training for Rio.”

Women’s Eight (W8+): Gold

weightraceA lineup deep with Olympic and world champions, coxswain Katelin Snyder (Detroit, Mich.), Amanda Elmore (West Lafayette, Ind.), Luczak, Musnicki, Logan, Lauren Schmetterling (Moorestown, N.J.), Tessa Gobbo (Chesterfield, N.H), Mueller and Emily Regan (Buffalo, N.Y.) went to the line with a streak to defend.

The U.S., which has not lost a championship or Olympic race in the event since 2006, won its race for lanes on Friday, and kept the momentum alive with another gold medal performance. Leading from start to finish, the only difference in the race was the placements between the trailing crews of Great Britain, New Zealand, Canada and Russia.

Great Britain and New Zealand traded places through the final 500 meters, but in the end, the U.S. won gold in 6:01.12, Great Britain finished second in 6:01.95 and New Zealand was third in 6:04.01.

As is often the case from season to season, the U.S. lineup changes, new athletes get a chance to shine and the results remain the same. This regatta had a new face in the crew and in the stroke seat. Elmore is a rookie to the boat, but had already notched a world championship on the senior team in the quad at the 2015 World Rowing Championships.

“Ever since before I came to the training center, these women have been my idols,” Elmore said. “It’s just amazing to get to row with them. There is just so much power, they make it easy for me.”

Men's Eight (M8+): Bronze

meightpodiumThe Rio crew of coxswain Sam Ojserkis (Linwood, N.J.), Austin Hack (Old Lyme, Conn.), Rob Munn (Redmond, Wash.), Mike DiSanto (Boston, Mass.), Steve Kasprzyk (Cinnaminson, N.J.), Glenn Ochal (Philadelphia, Pa.), Alex Karwoski (Hollis, N.H.), Hans Struzyna (Kirkland, Wash.) and Sam Dommer (Folsom, Calif.) finished sixth in the race for lane placement on Friday.

Great Britain is the reigning world champion; Germany is the defending Olympic champion and won silver at the 2015 World Rowing Championships, while The Netherlands won bronze.

Sunday, Great Britain finished out of the medals, beaten to the bronze medal by the U.S., which trailed them at the 500-meter buoy. The Netherlands won gold in 5:28.56. Germany was second in 5:30.30 and the U.S. was third in 5:30.54.

For the U.S. men who came to Lucerne not yet qualified to race at Rio, the bronze medal capped a successful week of racing. The crew won the 2016 Final Olympic Qualification Regatta on Tuesday, secured their place in the Olympics Games, then let the world know they belong in the field.

“We’ll enjoy this tonight,” said DiSanto. “Then after this weekend, no one is going to care about these medals any more. It’s two months, a little bit more, until Rio and we have a lot of work to do,” he said.

“We had a goal this weekend,” said Munn. “We had the qualifier Tuesday, and because of the relief from that, we were playing with house money today. We had nothing to lose. All we could do is go out and prove that we belong on the scene.

“But it is not by any means the end goal. Everyone is focused and we know what is coming at the beginning of August. It’s going to be a really tough couple of of months of training.”

Men's Four (M4-): Fourth

m4-raceThe U.S. men’s four of Seth Weil (Menlo Park, Calif.), Henrik Rummel (Pittsford, N.Y.), Matt Miller (Fairfax, Va.) and Charlie Cole (New Canaan, Conn.), racing with the yellow jerseys from its win at the 2016 World Rowing Cup I, finished just out of the medals in fourth place with 6:00.42.

A dramatic finish in the event saw two-seat in the Australian crew catch a crab with two strokes to go, allowing Great Britain to slip past in first place for the gold medal in 5:55.48. Australia took silver with 5:55.75 and The Netherlands won bronze in 5:58.29.

Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls (LM2x): Sixth

lightmens2xThe U.S. lightweight men’s double sculls crew of Andrew Campbell, Jr. (New Canaan, Conn.) and Joshua Konieczny (Millbury, Ohio) fell back to sixth place in the second 500 meters of the final, where they stayed. France’s Jeremie Azou and Pierre Houin dominated the race, posting a 6:19.26 at the finish line for gold. Norway took silver in 6:21.81, with South Africa bronze in 6:22.42.

Campbell and Konieczny, who won the lightweight double at trials to qualify for Rio, crossed with a time of 6:28.08. An 11-time national team member, Campbell won consecutive under-23 gold medals and a senior worlds bronze in 2012 in the lightweight single. Konieczny, a four-time national team member, qualified the boat class for Rio with Campbell at the world championships last summer.

Women's Quadruple Sculls (W4x): Sixth


w4XIn the women’s quadruple sculls final, the U.S. crew of Emily Huelskamp (Sainte Genevieve), Olivia Coffey (Watkins Glen, N.Y.), Amanda Polk (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Grace Latz (Jackson, Mich.) advanced through the reps en route to the final and raced the length of the course in sixth position.

Poland led the race from the start, with Germany second going through the halfway point. The Netherlands surged from fourth at the red buoys, taking podium position and nearly catching second-place Germany at the line. Poland won gold in 6:32.67, with Germany silver in 6:34.32 and The Netherlands bronze in 6:34.70. The U.S. finished sixth with a time of 6:42.57.

Event Links

USRowing photo gallery
Final Placing By Country
Sunday Results Summary
Saturday Results Summary
Friday Results Summary

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, media@usrowing.org.
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