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Morning Finals Set at NSR II

PHOTOS AND STORY BY ED MORAN

WEST WINDSOR, N.J. —With the first three days of National Selection Regatta II completed and finals set for tomorrow morning on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J., the process of bringing together the 2022 Senior National Team will soon be moving to the second phase of the new USRowing selection process.

When finals are done in the morning, the winning crews will choose whether they want to race at World Cup II for a secure placement on the 2022 National Team that will race this September at the World Rowing Championships in Racice, Czech Republic, or join one of two selection camps that will convene next week in Sacramento, California, and Mercer, New Jersey.

But before any of that happens, there will have to be winners in the Friday morning finals.

After, three days of racing who will have the opportunity to make those decisions was sorted out in the four events that saw semifinals Thursday morning. Racing was contested between 12 crews in two heats each of the men’s and women’s pairs and the men’s and women’s double.

In the women’s pair, all six of the crews now training at the U.S. Princeton training center have earned places in the final. In the first heat, Claire Collins and Madeleine Wanamaker won in 7:15.58. Following in the second heat in first place were Charlotte Buck and Jessica Thoennes in 7:20.23.

In the men’s pair, the first heat was won by California Rowing Club’s Andrew LeRoux and Michael Knippen in 6:42.05. The second heat was also won by a CRC crew with Tokyo Olympians Justin Best and Michael Grady crossing in 6:43.52.

“I think we worked on some stuff today, and we felt much more confident coming off the water having done that,” said Best. 

“Grady and I had a few technical points that we wanted to refine, and we had two practices yesterday, and with the really good conditions, we took advantage of that, and we honed them in so that we could execute in the race and it was just as simple as staying horizontal through the stroke, if that makes sense.

“But, we’re excited to get into the final. All the other CRC guys qualified for the final so it’s really exciting to see that and hopefully, we can put some fast boats out there in the final.”

In the women’s double, the unaffiliated and Whitemarsh Boat Club composite crew of Sophia Luwis and Audrianna Boersen won their heat in 7:06.13. They were followed in first in the second heat by Texas Rowing Center’s Kara Kohler and Sophia Vitas, who finished in 7:05.25.

Kohler, who won NSR I in the single, and represented the U.S. in the event at the Tokyo Games, will have two clear chances to compete for a place on the 2022 national team if her boat can win. 

“This is Sophia and my first-time racing in a double together, doing side by side. We’ve put in a lot of training the past month in Austin with our training partners, the heavy men, and the lightweight men,” Kohler said.

“Getting out there managing the nerves, being side-by-side, is all something we’re learning right now and learning how to stay relaxed and get into a rhythm, and we’re making little steps over the past couple of races, so we are looking forward to tomorrow.”

“Getting out there managing the nerves, being side-by-side, is all something we’re learning right now and learning how to stay relaxed and get into a rhythm, and we’re making little steps over the past couple of races, so we are looking forward to tomorrow.”

-Kara Kohler

Speaking of Kohler’s Texas training partners, both advanced to the morning. The heavy double of Kevin Cardno and Jonathan Kirkegaard won their heat in 6:31.87 and were followed in second by light men Zach Heese and Jasper Liu.

The first heat was won by California rowing club’s double of Andrew Gaard and Sorin Koszyk in 6:24.59.

In the final event of the day, the women’s double C final, the OKC High Performance Center composite entry of Brooke Ruszkiewicz and Ruthie Lacy defeated Riverside’s X entry of Chloe Lewis and Keara Twist.

For a complete list of results click here.

* Coverage brought to you by Gemini.

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