BY ED MORAN
PHOTO BY LISA WORTHY
The week-long process of narrowing down the field of athletes racing at Olympic Trials I has come down to semifinals day. That’s not as big a deal as finals Friday, but it is one of the two best days of racing scheduled for the week.
And, finally, for those trying to follow at home watching numbers on a laptop, Thursday and Friday’s racing will be streamed live on NBCSports.Com and on the NBC Sports App. Click here for the link.
Racing starts at 8:00 AM.
For the complete schedule go here.
Here are a few notes about who is left in the mix, and a few other things.
If you live, or have been in Boston lately and looked out at the Charles River through the fall and into the winter, you might have seen four of the women racing in the single and the two women racing in the women’s lightweight double.
Margaret Fellows, Cicely Madden, Ali Rusher and Gevvie Stone (the four singles), and Mary Nabel and Emily Schmieg are all part of the Boston Rowing Federation training group that mostly row out of the Cambridge Boat Club and are being coached by Gregg Stone, Gevvie’s father, aka “Coach Dad.” Schmieg is also a member of the Potomac Boat Club in Washington but has been training with the group since last year.
Rusher, Stone and Fellows are all racing in the second semifinal. Madden is racing in the first.
Three other clubs that will have a strong presence on the water Thursday are Craftsbury’s Green Racing Project, out of Craftsbury, Vt., and Philadelphia-based Penn A.C. Rowing Association and Vesper Boat Club.
The Green Racing Project has three men’s singles racing, including John Graves (who, by the way, trained mostly with the Boston women throughout the past two seasons), Lucas Bellows, and William Legenzowski.
Craftsbury is also being represented in the men’s double by Jacob Plihal and Mark Couwenhoven, and Webster Thompson and Andrew Raitto, and in the lightweight women’s double by Grace Joyce and Christine Cavallo. Leading that group is former national teamer Stephen Whelpley.
Philadelphia’s Schuylkill Navy has an armada in the semis including three doubles from the Penn A.C. – Charles Anderson and Eliot Putnam, Justin Keen and Sorin Koszyk, and Thaddeus Babiec and David Judah. The club is also represented in the men’s single semi by Thomas Phifer. They are coached by former U.S. Olympian Sean Hall. Also representing Penn A.C. is Cara Stawicki who is rowing a composite entry in the women’s lightweight double with Olivia Farrar.
Also in the men’s single is another Schuylkill rower, Lerry Futterman from Malta Boat Club. On the men’s lightweight side, three of the four boats that will race in the Friday final all wear Vesper Boat Club unis. They are Zachary Heese and Jasper Liu, James McCullough and Joshua Remland, and Cooper Tuckerman and Charles Bickhart. They are coached by Peter Mansfeld.
There were other clubs that came to Sarasota with strong groups and raced hard this week: Oklahoma High-Performance Center sent eight crews and have Michael Trebilcock and Zachary Petronic representing in the men’s double.
And not to leave out the Boston stripe brigade; Riverside Boat Club sent seven crews and two will be racing Thursday including, Kevin Meador in the men’s single and Elizabeth Martin and Makayla Karr-Warner racing in the lightweight women’s single.
In total, there were 29 U.S. clubs represented on the water at Nathan Benderson Park, joined by five athletes from the USRowing women’s Princeton Training Center. And two of them — Kara Kohler and Sophia Vitas — will be on the blocks in the women’s single.
Given the Covid restrictions, disruptions and anxiety of the past year, the inability to access club space and water time and boats, athletes training on their own, but staying committed to their dreams and goals, that is a notable effort by the U.S. club system and the athletes who showed up.
And since it is apparently shout-out Thursday here at Rowing News, for a regatta that is being run as the first real race and important race since the pandemic struck and wiped out nearly everything in 2020, congratulations to everyone involved in getting this done in a safe and efficient way.
As Cicely Madden said there were “masks everywhere.” There were also daily health scans, pre-event testing, and volunteers, staff, and members of the USRowing referee corps who came down put on masks, and did the job.
There are a lot of fans and athletes of rowing hoping for a season, something to look forward to, that can take some hope from the job being done this week in Sarasota by everyone involved. Referee Rachel Le Mieux took this photo of the group Wednesday. She is not in the photo, (but she is wearing a mask we are told.)