BY LUKE REYNOLDS
PHOTOS BY LISA WORTHY
After a windy and busy week of rowing, bids have been awarded to Ben Davison and Kara Kohler to represent the United States at World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, Poland in the men’s and women’s single.
Davison and Kolher held top positions throughout the week with the exception of the time trial where Kohlers’ Texas Rowing Center High Performance teammate Sophia Vitas posted a faster time than her.
Vitas finished second 4.2 seconds behind Kolher in Friday’s A final.
“It was a good race,” Kohler said. “I had a lot of nerves headed into today. It is very nerve-wracking going out there but once the gun goes off you snap right into race mode and the goal was to win today.”
If Davison and Kolher finish in the top-six (or in the top 50 percent if there are fewer than 12 entries) at World Rowing Cup II they will earn the option to advance to the World Rowing Championships in Racice, Czech Republic.
Kohler says that her next focus will be NSR II.
“I am planning to race doubles trials at NSR with Sophia,” Kohler said. “We’ve gotten in the double a couple of times in Austin so we want to see what kind of speed that combination has to offer. So if we do well we may end up testing both boats internationally.”
In addition to the men’s and women’s open weight singles, the final day of racing also included the A and B finals for the lightweight men and women.
In the lightweight women’s event, Molly Reckford finished first.
“It was super fun,” Reckford said. “The park really turned up and gave us some beautiful, flat water. It was freedom to dogfight. Getting side-by-side with a field of six boats—that is what I live for.”
Reckford carried an aura of positivity about the venue all week. Her attitude is a reflection of loving what she does, she said.
“A lot of it is simply because I love rowing so much. It sounds a little crazy but this is the thing I’ve always wanted to do and I get to do it. Even when the training is hard, when you’re not doing as well as you want to I remind myself that I chose this, I wanted this. I am living out my dreams.”
“A lot of it is simply because I love rowing so much. It sounds a little crazy but this is the thing I’ve always wanted to do and I get to do it. Even when the training is hard, when you’re not doing as well as you want to I remind myself that I choose this, I wanted this. I am living out my dreams.”
Reckford will compete with her doubles partner, Michelle Sechser, in the women’s lightweight double at the 2022 USRowing National Selection Regatta II May 3-6 in West Windsor, New Jersey. Sechser and Reckford competed together at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“I’m so excited,” Reckford said. “I love the single, I really do, it shows you all your shortcomings but being out in the double is just a different challenge. I’m really excited to get my buddy back in the stroke seat and just follow and steer.”
On the men’s side, Zach Heese bested teammate and doubles partner Jasper Liu by a six-second margin. The two also represent Texas Rowing Center High Performance which had an impressive showing altogether this week.
“Very happy with the outcome,” Heese said. “It was really nice to have my two teammates in the two lanes next to me and all of us pushing it together. It was a nice way to end a really good regatta for all of us.”
Heese and Liu were joined in the lightweight single A final by teammate James McCullogh who finished fourth.
The rest of the Lone Star uni-bearing crew included: Jonathan Kirkegaard, who finished sixth in the men’s open weight single A final; Kevin Cardno who finished first in the men’s open weight single B final; and Mark Couwenhoven who finished fifth in the D final Thursday.
Kohler says the TRC group has been an enjoyable squad to train with.
“This time around was quite a bit different than my last couple of years racing the single,” Kohler said. “Trials ’18, ’19, ’20 I traveled here by myself, I was living by myself, so when you’re living with yourself you’re trapped with your thoughts which can kind of spiral so it can be hard to stay focused, stay present.
“Now I’m with a small training group, TRC, and we’re all staying in the same Airbnb. It’s nice to have teammates around in the downtime to hang out with and play games with and engage and keep your mind away from obsessing about the race. It’s a big, chaotic family.”
World Rowing Cup II will take place June 17-19. The next trials event for USRowing national team aspirants will take place May 3-6 in West Windsor, New Jersey. Events include the lightweight men’s and women’s double, the men’s and women’s open weight double, and the men’s and women’s pairs.
A full list of results from this week’s racing can be found here.
* Rowing News Trials coverage brought to you by Gemini.
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