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    U.S. Wins Two Golds, Four Medals on Wednesday at 2023 Pan American Games

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    The U.S. won gold in the women’s double sculls and mixed eight, silver in the men’s single sculls, and bronze in the men’s double sculls on Wednesday at the 2023 Pan American Games in San Pedro de la Paz, Chile.

    In total, Team USA won 10 medals over the five-day regatta, the best performance at a Pan American Games since 1999. The U.S. and Chile tied for total medals, with the U.S. topping the overall medal standings thanks to its five gold medals. In addition to today’s haul, the U.S. won gold in the men’s pair, women’s pair, and women’s quadruple sculls, as well as silver in the lightweight women’s double sculls, women’s four, and women’s eight.

    In the women’s double sculls, Madeleine Focht (Long Beach, Calif./California State University, Long Beach/ARION) and Veronica Nicacio (Vancouver, Wash./University of Portland/ARION) won their final to bring home the gold medal. Focht and Nicacio overtook the early leaders from Chile in the second quarter of the race before holding off a late push by the hometown crew to win, crossing the finish line in a 7:02.11. Chile finished 1.63 seconds back in a 7:03.74. Canada won bronze in a 7:13.14.

    In the first mixed eight final in Pan American Games history, the U.S. crew of Cristina Pretto (Prospect, Conn./Trinity College/Penn AC), Hannah Paynter (Lyme, Conn./Princeton University/ARION), Lauren Miller (Saint Cloud, Minn./University of Minnesota/ARION), Mark Couwenhoven (Parkton, Md./University of Maryland-Baltimore County/Penn AC), Jacob Plihal (Vashon Island, Wash./Northeastern University/Craftsbury Green Racing Project), Alexander Hedge (Morristown, N.J./Columbia University/ Craftsbury Green Racing Project), Ezra Carlson (Eureka, Calif./University of Washington/ Craftsbury Green Racing Project), Isa Darvin (Madison, Wis./University of Wisconsin/Penn AC), and coxswain Colette Lucas-Conwell (Paris, France/University of Virginia/California Rowing Club/New York Athletic Club) crossed the finish line in a 5:54.26 to secure the gold medal. With just one second separating the top two finishers, Chile took silver in a 5:55.17. Cuba won bronze in a 5:58.50.

    “Today’s race was a significant milestone for Team USA as we secured gold in the mixed eight event, marking the first time this event has been contested at the international level. I had the privilege of leading this crew and concluding my coxing career with a victory,” Lucas-Conwell said. “With each stroke, we solidified our rhythm and gradually pulled ahead. It was a remarkable display of teamwork and determination, and I’m proud of the work we did this week.”

    In the men’s single sculls, Plihal crossed the finish line in a 6:59.93 to win the silver medal. Brazil won gold in a 6:58.76, while Mexico clocked a 7:01.27 to win bronze. Plihal moved into second position during the second quarter of the race and sat just off of the Brazilian’s lead going into the final sprint. However, Brazil was able to hold off Plihal for the victory.

    In the men’s double sculls, Couwenhoven and Casey Fuller (Newtown, Conn./Fairfield University/Saugatuck Rowing Club) placed third in the final to bring home the bronze medal. The duo reached the finish line in a 6:26.70. Uruguay overtook Cuba with about 500 meters to go to win gold in a 6:22.07, with Cuba taking  silver in a 6:23.69.

    In the finals of the women’s single sculls, Grace Joyce (Northfield, Ill./University of Wisconsin/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) finished fourth, crossing the finish line in a 7:51.69. Mexico won gold in a 7:44.63. Brazil and Paraguay won silver and bronze in a 7:46.73 and 7:47.29, respectively.

    In total, the U.S. had 15 boats competing this week in San Pedro de la Paz. Click here for complete results, and here for the official USRowing coverage page.

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