PHOTO AND STORY COURTESY USROWING
The U.S. is off to a strong start at World Rowing Cup II in Varese, Italy, with 15 boats advancing to either finals or semifinals on Friday.
The U.S started hot this morning with Sophia Luwis (McLean, Va./The College of William & Mary/Whitemarsh Boat Club) winning her heat in the lightweight women’s single sculls. Racing in the second of two heats, Luwis finished with a time of 7:34:38, with the French sculler Aurelie Morizot following in a 7:43:14. Luwis held the lead throughout the race, taking nearly a three-second advantage at the 500-meter mark. Luwis will race the final tomorrow. Great Britain’s Olivia Bates won the first heat, clocking a 7:39.99 to finish ahead of Germany’s Julia Tertuente.
U.S. crews finished one-two in the first heat of the men’s pair with both boats moving on to the semifinals. Justin Best (Kennett Square, Pa./Drexel University/California Rowing Club) and Pieter Quinton (Portland, Ore./Harvard University/California Rowing Club) won the race with a time of 6:27.65. Andrew Gaard (Madison, Wis/University of Washington/California Rowing Club) and Oliver Bub (Westport, Conn./Dartmouth College/California Rowing Club) took second in a 6:30.28 to send both crews to the semifinals. Best and Quinton took the early lead in the first 500 meters and continued to build on their advantage through the 1,500-meter mark. Meanwhile, Gaard and Bub got off the line in fifth position before chasing down China and Italy in the final 500 meters to earn the second qualification spot in the semifinals.
The U.S. finished first and third in the third heat of the women’s double sculls, with both boats moving on to the semifinals. Kristina Wagner (Weston, Mass/Yale University/ARION) and Sophia Vitas (Franklin, Wisc./University of Wisconsin/Texas Rowing Center), who finished fifth in the event at last year’s world championships, won the race in a 6:44.57. Wagner and Vitas sat in second place behind China for much of the race. The duo cut the lead to just a bow ball with 500 meters to go before edging out the Chinese crew by 0.29 seconds at the line. The crew of Emily Kallfelz (Jamestown, R.I./Princeton University/Cambridge Boat Club) and Lauren O’Connor (Belleville, Wis./University of Wisconsin/ARION) finished third in a 6:54.21.
The four U.S. scullers came back a couple of hours later to race in the women’s quadruple sculls, finishing second to move on to tomorrow’s repechage. O’Connor, Wagner, Vitas, and Kallfelz got off the line in third position before moving into second place during the second quarter of the race. However, they were never able to challenge Great Britain for the lone qualification spot in Sunday’s final. Great Britain won the race in a 6:12.19, with the U.S. finishing in a 6:17.09.
The U.S. men’s double sculls combination of Sorin Koszyk (Grosse Pointe Park, Mich./Cornell University/California Rowing Club) and Ben Davison (Inverness, Fla./University of Washington/California Rowing Club) also won its heat to advance to the semifinals. Racing in the third and final heat, Koszyk and Davison took the lead in the first 500 meters and then pulled away from the field to win the race in a 6:08.83. Koszyk and Davison posted the best time from the three heats by more than seven seconds.
The U.S. women’s four of Molly Bruggeman (Dayton, Ohio/University of Notre Dame/USRowing Training Center Princeton), Kelsey Reelick (Brookfield, Conn./Princeton University/USRowing Training Center Princeton), Madeleine Wanamaker (Neenah, Wis./University of Wisconsin at Madison/USRowing Training Center Princeton), and Claire Collins (McLean, Va./Princeton University/USRowing Training Center Princeton) also posted the fastest time of the day in winning the third of three heats. The U.S boat was basically even with Great Britain as the crews hit the 500-meter mark and the two crews were still within about a half-second of each other as they reached the midway point of the race. But the U.S. pulled away over the back half of the race to win with a time of 6:22.55. Great Britain finished second in a 6:28.20, with Italy taking third.
Defending world rowing championships’ silver medalists Michelle Sechser (Folsom, Calif./University of Tulsa/ USRowing Training Center – Princeton) and Molly Reckford (Short Hills, N.J./Dartmouth College/USRowing Training Center – Princeton) won their heat of the lightweight women’s double sculls by more than five seconds. China’s Jiaqi Zou and Xiuping Qiu kept the race close for the first 500 meters before the U.S. boat was able to get some separation. Sechser and Reckford moved on to the semifinals with the victory. The second lightweight women’s double sculls crew of Audrey Boersen (West Olive, Mich./Grand Valley State University/Whitemarsh Boat Club) and Mary Jones Nabel (Huntsville, Ala./University of Tennessee/Cambridge Boat Club) finished second in its repechage to move on to the semifinals. After finishing third in their morning heat, Boersen and Jones Nabel came back to take second behind Italy in the rep. The U.S. boat finished with a time of 7:01.90, finishing 3.49 seconds in back of Italy.
The two U.S. women’s pairs finished second and third in the second of three heats, with both advancing to the semifinals. Alie Rusher (West Bend, Wis./Stanford University/California Rowing Club) and Meghan Musnicki (Naples, N.Y./Ithaca College/California Rowing Club) took second behind Australia’s Jessica Morrison and Annabelle McIntyre. The Australian crew shot off of the starting line to take a commanding lead in the first 500 meters and were never challenged for the top position. Rusher and Musnicki sat in second the entire way down the course, with Jessica Thoennes (Highlands Ranch, Colo./University of Washington/USRowing Training Center- Princeton) and Charlotte Buck (Nyack, N.Y./Columbia University/USRowing Training Center- Princeton) staking claim to the third qualifying spot during the first 1,000 meters. Morrison and McIntyre won the race in a 6:59.29, with Rusher and Musnicki crossing the line in a 7:03.77. Thoennes and Buck clocked a 7:08.26.
The U.S. men’s four of Michael Grady (Pittsburgh, Pa./Cornell University/California Rowing Club), Nick Mead (Strafford, Pa./Princeton University/New York Athletic Club), Chris Carlson (Bedford, N.H./University of Washington/California Rowing Club), and Liam Corrigan (Old Lyme, Conn./Harvard University/California Rowing Club) advanced to the semifinals thanks to a second-pace finish in the first of three heats. The U.S. battled Australia the entire way down the course, finishing less than one second behind the Aussie boat. Australia won the race in a 5:46.50, with the U.S. finishing in a 5:47.38.
Kara Kohler (Clayton, Calif./University of California, Berkeley/Texas Rowing Center) advanced to the semifinals of the women’s single sculls thanks to a second-place finish in the first of four heats. Kohler, the 2019 World Rowing Championships bronze medalist in the event, finished less than one second behind Germany’s Alexandra Foester. Kohler held more than a two-second advantage through the middle 1,000 meters before Foester was able to catch her during the sprint.
Both U.S. lightweight men’s double sculls crews advanced from the heats to the semifinals on Friday. The crew of Jasper Liu (Phoenix, Ariz./University of Pennsylvania/Texas Rowing Center) and Zachary Heese (Pelham, N.Y./University of Virginia/Texas Rowing Center) finished third in the second of three heats. Italy took the early lead and then held on as Belgium and the U.S. tried to chase them down over the final 500 meters. The Italian crew won the race in a 6:15.80, with Belgium finishing second in a 6:16.77. The U.S. finished with a time of 6:17.05. In the third heat, James McCullough (Philadelphia, Pa./University of Delaware/Texas Rowing Center) and Sam Melvin (Huntington Beach, Calif./Columbia University/New York Athletic Club) finished second behind Switzerland. The Swiss crew moved into the top spot ahead of Australia in the second 500 meters. With three to advance, McCullough and Melvin sat in fourth position through the midway point before overtaking China and then Australia for second place. Switzerland finished with a time of 6:10.86, with the U.S. clocking a 6:16.31.
Both U.S. men’s single scullers, Jacob Plihal (Vashon Island, Wash./Northeastern University/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) and Andrew LeRoux (Venice, Fla./Princeton University/California Rowing Club), will be racing in the C finals after racing in the quarterfinals Friday afternoon. Both men finished second in their respective heats on Friday morning to earn spots in the quarterfinals. In afternoon racing, Plihal finished fourth in the third quarterfinal, clocking a 6:59.86. Denmark’s Sverri Nielsen won the race in a 6:49.80. LeRoux finished fifth in the fourth quarterfinal, finishing with a time of 7:02.72. Japan’s Ryuta Arakawa won the race in a 6:52.68.
Andrew Mangan (Buffalo, N.Y./Stanford University/West Side Rowing Club/Bair Island Aquatic Center) came in fifth in the second heat of the PR1 men’s single sculls. Mangan now will race in tomorrow’s repechages. With just one to advance to the final, Mangan dropped off the pace early, settling into fifth position. Mangan finished with a time of 10:22.11. Italy’s Giacomo Perini won the race in a 9:09.35.
More than 650 athletes from 42 nations are competing in Varese. The remaining repechages, semifinals, some placement finals, and finals in non-Olympic and non-Paralympic events will be featured on Saturday, with finals in Olympic and Paralympic boat classes taking place on Sunday.
The live race tracker and live audio will be available for all races on www.worldrowing.com. Live video streaming will be available on the World Rowing website on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. CET until 1:35 p.m. CET and from 3:20-4:50 p.m. CET. On Sunday, live video streaming will be available from 10 a.m. – 2:50 p.m. CET. The video streaming will start five minutes before the first race.
Full event coverage will be available on USRowing.org and WorldRowing.com.
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.