STORY AND PHOTO COURTESY USROWING
Racing at the 2023 Pan American Games Qualification Regatta gets underway Saturday in Concepcion, Chile, with heats in eight events.
In total, the U.S. will have 12 boats competing in the five-day regatta including the men’s and women’s single sculls, double sculls, lightweight double sculls, quadruple sculls, pair, and four. Twenty athletes make up this year’s roster including six who were part of the U.S. squad at the 2022 World Rowing Championships.
Saturday’s racing opens with heats in the women’s pair. Isabela Darvin (Madison, Wis./University of Wisconsin/Penn AC) and Cristina Pretto (Prospect, Conn./Trinity College/Penn AC) are representing the U.S. for the first time internationally. Darvin finished seventh in the pair at last month’s 2023 Winter Speed Order in Sarasota, while Pretto reached the B final of the women’s single sculls in Florida. The U.S. is one of 10 boats entered in the event.
In the men’s pair, Ezra Carlson (Eureka, Calif./University of Washington/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) and Alexander Hedge (Morristown, N.J./Columbia University/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) won USRowing’s Pan American Games Trials last fall to earn a spot in the qualification regatta. Carlson, a four-time national team member across all levels, served as an alternate at last year’s world championships and won the championship single at the Head of the Charles in October. Hedge is representing the U.S. for the first time. The duo finished sixth in the pair at last month’s speed order. Carlson and Hedge are one of nine crews entered in the event.
In the women’s double sculls, Madeleine Focht (Long Beach, Calif./California State University, Long Beach/Long Beach Rowing Association) and Veronica Nicacio (Battle Ground, Wash./University of Portland/ARION) also are representing the U.S. for the first time internationally. Focht and Nicacio both raced in the single sculls at last month’s speed order. Focht and Nicacio are one of 12 doubles entered in the event.
Like many of their teammates in Chile, the men’s double sculls tandem of Casey Fuller (Newtown, Conn./Fairfield University/Saugatuck Rowing Club) and Luke Rein (Barrington, R.I./College of Charleston/Penn AC) will be racing for the U.S. for the first time this week. Fuller finished fourth in the single sculls at the Pan American Games Trials last year and reached the B final in the single at the Winter Speed Order. Rein also raced the single in Sarasota last month. The U.S. will face off against 10 other crews in the event.
Grace Joyce (Northfield, Ill./University of Wisconsin/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) won the women’s single sculls at last fall’s Pan American Games Trials to earn her spot in the qualification regatta. A three-time national team member across the under 23 and senior levels, Joyce was part of the women’s quadruple sculls at the 2022 World Rowing Championships. She made the finals in the single sculls at the 2023 Winter Speed Order. Joyce is one of 16 scullers entered in the event.
Like Joyce, Jacob Plihal (Vashon Island, Wash./Northeastern University/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) earned his spot in Chile by winning the men’s single sculls at last year’s Pan American Games Trials. Plihal is a three-time national team member at the under 23 and senior levels, racing in the men’s quadruple sculls at last year’s world championships in the Czech Republic. Plihal finished third in the single sculls at last month’s speed order. The men’s single features the most entries at the qualifier with 19 scullers scheduled to compete.
Darvin and Pretto will join Hannah Paynter (Lyme, Conn./Princeton University/ARION) and Lauren Miller (St Cloud, Minn./University of Minnesota/ARION) in the women’s four. Paynter served as an alternate at last year’s world championships, while Miller is representing the U.S. for the first time internationally. Paynter and Miller raced the pair at the 2023 Winter Speed Order, finishing ninth overall.
In the men’s four, Carlson and Hedge will race with Cooper Hurley (Andover, Mass./University of Delaware/Penn AC) and Nicholas Ruggiero (Haddonfield, N.J./University of Delaware/Penn AC). Hurley and Ruggiero, who won the pair at the 2022 USRowing Summer National Championships, finished second behind Carlson and Hedge at last year’s Pan American Games Trials to earn their spots in the qualification regatta. Hurley raced in the lightweight men’s double sculls at the 2019 Pan American Games, while Ruggiero will be racing for the U.S. for the first time. Eight crews are entered in the event.
Racing continues on Sunday with heats in the remaining four events, as well as repechages from Saturday’s racing. Monday’s racing includes repechages from Sunday’s events and medal races in the men’s and women’s pairs and quadruple sculls. Tuesday’s racing features semifinals, as well as finals in the men’s and women’s fours and lightweight double sculls. Racing concludes on Wednesday with finals in the men’s and women’s single sculls and double sculls. Click here for the preliminary race schedule.
Click here for a complete look at rowing’s qualification procedures for the 2023 Pan American Games. The 2023 Pan American Games are scheduled to take place October 20-November 5, with the rowing events being contested October 21-25 in Concepcion, Chile.
USRowing would like to thank Filippi Lido, the Official Boat Supplier for the U.S. Senior, Under 23, and Para Rowing National Teams. Under the agreement, Filippi is providing USRowing a fleet of boats for international competitions including the World Rowing Cup regattas, World Rowing Under 23 Championships, World Rowing Championships, Olympic Games, and Paralympic Games, as well as a domestic training fleet for the USRowing Training Center.
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