The U.S. won silver medals in the lightweight women’s double sculls, women’s four, and women’s eight on Tuesday at the 2023 Pan American Games in San Pedro de la Paz, Chile. In addition, the men’s and women’s single sculls, as well as the men’s double sculls, advanced from this morning’s semifinals to tomorrow’s medal races.
In the women’s lightweight double sculls, Elizabeth Martin (Lexington, Mass./ Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Riverside Boat Club) and Mary Wilson (Dover, Del./Duke University/Vesper Boat Club/Penn AC) placed second in the final to bring home the silver medal. After getting off the line in fifth position, Martin and Wilson held the lead through the middle of the race before Chile took the top spot with just under 500 meters to go. The U.S. reached the finish line in a 7:14.54, three seconds behind Chile. Argentina won bronze in a 7:15.27.
“We had a courageous race today; it was fun to take the lead in the middle,” Martin said. “Chile had a strong move in the end, but we are proud of what we accomplished.”
In the women’s four, Cristina Pretto (Prospect, Conn./Trinity College/Penn AC), Isa Darvin (Madison, Wis./University of Wisconsin/Penn AC), Lauren Miller (Saint Cloud, Minn./University of Minnesota/ARION), and Hannah Paynter (Lyme, Conn./Princeton University/ARION) crossed the finish line in a 6:44.41 to win the silver medal. Chile took command early in the race with the U.S. sitting in fourth through the 1,500-meter mark. The U.S. boat made a big push over the final 500 meters to overtake Canada and Mexico at the line. Chile took home gold in a 6:40.83. With less than a half-second separating second through fourth, Mexico won bronze in a 6:44.59 with Canada sliding to fourth.
In the first women’s eight race in Pan American Games history, the U.S. crew of Pretto, Grace Joyce (Northfield, Ill./University of Wisconsin/Craftsbury Green Racing Project), Veronica Nicacio (Vancouver, Wash./University of Portland/ARION), Madeleine Focht (Long Beach, Calif./California State University, Long Beach/ARION), Katherine Horvat (Philadelphia, Pa./Yale University/ARION), Darvin, Miller, Paynter, and coxswain Colette Lucas-Conwell (Paris, France/University of Virginia/California Rowing Club/New York Athletic Club) overtook Chile in the last 500 meters to bring home the silver medal. The U.S. sat in third for the majority of the race, with Canada pulling away during the middle 1,000 meters. The U.S. chased down Chile in the final 500 meters. Canada won gold in a 6:10.70, with the U.S. taking silver in a 6:14.17 and Chile bronze in a 6:14.78.
“I am incredibly proud of our boat’s second-place finish and am honored to have led this crew of women. They dug deep under challenging conditions and never gave up, taking the silver medal from Chile in the last 500 (meters) of the race,” Lucas-Conwell said. “It’s a testament to the unwavering determination and resilience of these rowers. I’m excited for my final race in the mixed eight tomorrow, where I’ll have one more chance to win a medal for the U.S.”
In the final of the men’s four, Nick Ruggiero (Haddonfield, N.J./University of Delaware/Penn AC), Luke Rein (Barrington, R.I./College of Charleston/Penn AC), Casey Fuller (Newtown, Conn./Fairfield University/Saugatuck Rowing Club), and Cooper Hurley (Andover, Mass./University of Delaware/Penn AC) finished fifth, crossing the line in a 6:12.36. With less than one second separating the top two finishers, Chile brought home the gold medal in a 5:58.18, with Cuba taking silver in a 5:58.68. Uruguay won bronze with a 6:01.91.
In the final of the lightweight men’s double sculls, Alex Twist (Boston, Mass./ University of Puget Sound/Riverside Boat Club) and Sean Richardson (Beverly, Mass./University of Massachusetts/Riverside Boat Club) finished sixth. Mexico won gold in a 6:22.94. Chile and Argentina took silver and bronze in 6:25.85 and 6:27.26, respectively. The U.S. crossed the finish line in a 6:34.06.
The U.S. also had three crews racing in semifinals on Tuesday.
In the men’s double sculls, Mark Couwenhoven (Parkton, Md./University of Maryland-Baltimore County/Penn AC) and Fuller won their semifinal to advance to Wednesday’s final. The duo reached the finish line in a 6:32.77, a full eight seconds ahead of second-place Cuba. Argentina took third in a 6:41.81.
Men’s single sculler Jacob Plihal (Vashon Island, Wash./Northeastern University/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) also won his semifinal to advance to Wednesday’s final. Plihal got off the line in third before methodically reeling in Mexico with a little less than 500 meters to go. Plihal clocked a 7:07.41. Mexico took second, crossing the finish line in a 7:08.24. Canada finished third with a time of 7:19.98.
In the women’s single sculls, Joyce finished third in her semifinal to advance to Wednesday’s final. Joyce, who recently raced at the 2023 World Rowing Championships in the women’s quadruple sculls, finished in a 7:48.65. Brazil finished first in a 7:46.88. Paraguay took second with a time of 7:48.34.
Five U.S. crews will race for medals on Wednesday in the men’s and women’s single sculls, men’s and women’s double sculls, and mixed eight. Racing begins at 8 a.m. local time.
The Pan American and Parapan American Games is the largest multi-sport event in the Americas, where the best athletes from all over the continent compete. It is held every four years, with Chile hosting for the first time in its history in 2023.
Click here for schedules, start lists, results, and event updates and here for the official USRowing coverage page. Live streaming for the five-day regatta will be available via the PanAm Sports Channel.
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