PHOTO AND STORY COURTESY USROWING
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Semifinals are now set after Thursday’s racing at the 2023 USRowing Senior National Team Trials on Mercer Lake at the Caspersen Rowing Center in West Windsor, N.J. Athletes are racing for spots on the team that will represent the U.S. at the 2023 World Rowing Championships scheduled for September 3-10 in Belgrade, Serbia.
In the men’s single sculls, California Rowing Club’s Andrew LeRoux won the morning time trial in a 6:42.63 before coming back in the afternoon to win the first of four quarterfinals. LeRoux clocked a 7:08.42 to defeat Penn AC’s Michael Clougher by less than a second in winning his quarterfinal. CRC’s Michael Knippen, who finished third in the time trial, posted the fastest time in the quarterfinals, winning the second race in a 7:06.20, 1.62 seconds ahead of Penn AC’s Mark Couwenhoven. New York Athletic Club’s Eliot Putnam, who finished second in the time trial, won the third quarterfinal in a 7:07.86, finishing less than two seconds ahead of Penn AC’s Cedar Cunningham. Craftsbury Green Racing Project’s Jacob Plihal won the fourth quarterfinal in a 7:10.83, with CRC’s Andrew Gaard taking second. LeRoux, Clougher, Knippen, Plihal, and Gaard were all part of last year’s world championships’ squad.
The Texas Rowing Center/ARION composite crew of Sophia Vitas and Kristi Wagner easily won the time trial in the women’s double sculls, finishing more than nine seconds ahead of the Cambridge Boat Club duo of Michelle Sechser and Mary Jones Nabel. Vitas and Wagner, who finished fifth in the event at last year’s world championships and won a silver medal at this season’s second World Rowing Cup regatta, crossed the finish line with a time of 6:33.50. Sechser and Jones Nabel, who were recently selected to represent the U.S. in the lightweight women’s double sculls in Belgrade, finished second with a time of 6:42.55. The Long Beach Rowing Association/ARION composite crew of Maddy Focht and Veronica Nicacio, who will represent the U.S. in the double sculls and quadruple sculls at the 2023 Pan American Games, finished third in a 6:49.08.
In the men’s pair, California Rowing Club’s Evan Olson and William Bender won the time trial by less than one second over CRC teammates Nick Rusher and Gus Rodriguez. Olson and Bender clocked a 6:23.43, with Rusher and Rodriguez finishing in a 6:24.12. Andrew Tokarski and William Stavropoulos finished third, 20 seconds behind. Bender was part of the 2021 Under 23 National Team, while Olson has been part of two under 23 teams. Rusher and Rodriguez were both on last year’s senior team, racing in the eight and four, respectively, at the world championships.
In the lightweight men’s single sculls, New York Athletic Club’s Sam Melvin posted the fastest time in the time trial by more than nine seconds to earn the top seed in the semifinals. Melvin, who won the event at the 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, is seeking his first senior national team roster spot. The Columbia University graduate clocked a 6:45.47 to win the time trial ahead of Craftsbury Green Racing Project’s Cooper Tuckerman, who finished in a 6:54.96. Tuckerman is a four-time national team member at the junior and under 23 levels. Riverside Boat Club’s Alex Twist finished third in a 6:57.00. Twist has raced on three senior national teams.
Whitemarsh Boat Club’s Sophia Luwis recorded the fastest time in the time trial of the lightweight women’s single sculls, finishing nearly six seconds ahead of King’s Crow Rowing Association’s Liza Ray. Luwis, who won a silver medal in the event earlier this year at World Rowing Cup II and followed that up with a gold medal at World Rowing Cup III, crossed the finish line with a time of 7:18.69. Luwis made her first national team last year but was unable to compete due to injury. Ray, who is a two-time under 23 team member, clocked a 7:24.49. Riverside Boat Club’s Elizabeth Martin, who raced in the lightweight quadruple sculls at last year’s world championships, finished third in a 7:27.92.
With only two entries in the lightweight men’s pair, the time trial was optional, with the Riverside Boat Club crew of John Mannion and Christopher Crawley choosing to race. Mannion and Crawley finished with a time of 6:43.25 in the exhibition race.
Likewise, Undine Barge Club’s lightweight men’s quadruple sculls boat chose to race in the optional time trial. The crew of Dylan Hartwick, Matthew Grieshaber, Pascal Evans, and Rodrigo Silva Urbaneja finished with a time of 6:08.03.
National team berths are being contested in the men’s single sculls, women’s double sculls, men’s pair, lightweight men’s and women’s single sculls, lightweight men’s and women’s pair, lightweight men’s and women’s quadruple sculls, and PR3 women’s pair this week. Racing continues on Friday with semifinals. Finals take place Saturday.
Click here for complete results.
USRowing already has named 15 boats for the world championships. Click here to see the complete 2023 Senior National Team Selection Procedures.
The 2023 World Rowing Championships are the first opportunity for countries to qualify boats for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
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.