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Racing at USRowing’s 2023 Winter Speed Order got underway Friday morning with time trials in six boat categories before high winds caused the postponement of Friday afternoon’s scheduled head-to-head racing at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Fla.
The closest race of the morning came in the women’s pair, where USRowing Training Center – Princeton’s Kelsey Reelick (Brookfield, Conn./Princeton University) and Molly Bruggeman (Dayton, Ohio/University of Notre Dame) edged out USTC-Princeton teammates Claire Collins (McLean, Va./Princeton University) and Teal Cohen (Dallas, Texas/University of Washington) by just 0.21 seconds to take the top seed in the semifinals. Reelick and Bruggeman, who rowed in the women’s eight at the 2022 World Rowing Championships in Racice, Czech Republic, finished with a time of 6:42.33. Collins and Cohen crossed the finish line in a 6:42.54. Collins won a bronze medal in the pair and finished fourth in the eight at the 2022 World Championships, while Cohen raced in the women’s four. Three-time Olympian Meghan Musnicki (Naples, N.Y./Ithaca College), who is making her return to competition after taking a year off following the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, teamed up with fellow Tokyo Olympian Alie Rusher (West Bend, Wis./Stanford University) to finish third in the time trial in a 6:43.21, crossing less than one second behind Reelick and Bruggeman.
Less than one second also separated the top two finishers in the lightweight men’s single sculls as Penn AC’s Jamie Copus (Oxford, England/Oxford Brookes University), a multiple time British National Team member who is hoping to make the U.S. team in 2023, edged out Texas Rowing Center’s Jasper Liu (Phoenix, Ariz./University of Pennsylvania) to earn the top seed in tomorrow’s head-to-head racing. Copus covered the 1,900-meter time trial course in a 6:36.58, with Liu crossing in a 6:37.12. Liu raced in the lightweight double sculls at last year’s world championships with TRC teammate Zachary Heese (Pelham, N.Y./University of Virginia), who finished fourth in today’s time trial in a time of 6:41.72. TRC’s Jimmy McCullough (Philadelphia, Pa./University of Delaware), who raced the lightweight single in Racice, finished third in a 6:40.31.
The morning kicked off with the women’s single sculls, where three-time national team member Sophia Vitas (Franklin, Wis./University of Wisconsin) of Texas Rowing Center clocked the fastest time to earn the top seed. Vitas crossed the line in a 7:05.92 to finish just over two seconds ahead of ARION’s Lauren O’Connor (Belleville, Wis./University of Wisconsin). TRC’s Kara Kohler (Clayton, Calif./University of California, Berkeley), a nine-time national team member and two-time Olympian, finished less than a second behind O’Connor in third, edging out ARION’s Kristi Wagner (Weston, Mass./Yale University) by less than 0.01 seconds. Kohler raced the single at last year’s world championships, while Vitas and Wagner teamed up to finish fifth in the women’s double sculls in Racice. O’Connor finished second behind Kohler in the single at the 2022 Senior National Team Trials 2.
In the men’s single sculls, California Rowing Club’s Sorin Koszyk (Grosse Pointe Park, Mich./Cornell University) posted the fastest time in the time trial by nearly nine seconds over CRC teammate Ben Davison (Inverness, Fla./University of Washington). Koszyk, who finished seventh in the double sculls at the 2022 World Championships, finished with a time of 6:21.48 to take the top seed. Davison, who finished eighth in the single in Racice, crossed the line in a 6:30.45. New York Athletic Club’s Eliot Putnam (Littleton, Mass./Cornell University) finished third in a 6:33.31.
In the men’s pair, CRC’s Michael Grady (Pittsburgh, Pa./Cornell University) and Liam Corrigan (Old Lyme, Conn./Harvard University) defeated teammates Justin Best (Kennett Square, Pa./Drexel University) and Nick Mead (Strafford, Pa./Princeton University) to earn the top seed in the semifinals. Grady and Corrigan posted a time of 6:00.21 to finish 2.44 seconds ahead of Mead and Best. CRC’s Oliver Bub (Westport, Conn./Dartmouth College) and William Bender (Norwich, Vt./Dartmouth College) finished third in a 6:07.11. Grady and Best raced together in the pair at last year’s world championships, while Corrigan was part of the men’s eight and Mead was part of the men’s four.
Cambridge Boat Club’s Michelle Sechser (Folsom, Calif./University of Tulsa), who won the silver medal in the lightweight women’s double sculls at the 2022 World Championships, won the time trial of the lightweight women’s single sculls on Friday by more than four seconds to earn the top seed in the semifinals. Sechser clocked a 7:01.79 to finish 4.54 seconds ahead of Cambridge’s Mary Jones Nabel (Huntsville, Ala./University of Tennessee). Sarasota Crew’s Molly Reckford (Short Hills, N.J./Dartmouth College), who won the silver medal with Sechser at last year’s world championships, finished third, just 0.28 seconds behind Jones Nabel. The Tennessee grad represented the U.S. in the lightweight single last year in Racice.
This week’s speed order not only serves as an opportunity for rowers to test their speed ahead of next month’s National Selection Regatta but also gives them a chance to earn automatic invitations to the first Olympic Events Selection Camp scheduled for April 30-May 21 in Chula Vista, Calif. The top three finishers in the men’s and women’s single sculls and pairs will receive invitations to the first selection camp, while the top two finishers in the men’s and women’s lightweight single sculls will earn automatic invites.
The first selection camp, in addition to the National Selection Regatta, will determine the athletes who will make up the boats that will race at the 2023 World Cup II this June in Varese, Italy. Select athletes also will be provisionally named to the 2023 Senior National Team, although boats will not be finalized until the conclusion of the second selection camp.
The 2023 World Rowing Championships will take place September 3-10 in Belgrade, Serbia.