emifinals set for 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Credit: US Rowing

emifinals set for 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials

While five boat classes will be contested during the five-day event, only the winner of the women's single will earn her ticket to Tokyo, pending USOPC approval. The other four event winners in the men's single sculls, men's double sculls, lightweight women's double sculls, and lightweight men's double sculls will need to race at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta May 15-17 to claim spots on the Olympic roster.

In today's first repechage of the women's single, ARION's Kristina Wagner (Weston, Mass./Yale University) established her lead off the start and continued to build her advantage down the course, crossing the finish line in a 7:49.85. Wagner finished 11 seconds ahead of USRowing Training Center-Princeton's Elizabeth Sonshine (Short Hills, N.J./Bates College), recording the fastest time across the four repechages and advancing to tomorrow's semifinals.

"It was good – definitely the best conditions that there have been this week, so I was just excited to get it done and move on to tomorrow," Wagner said. "I'm fortunate where I row with Saratoga Rowing, with ARION. (We've had) a lot of new people coming in from all around the country, a lot of young people, that maybe if we hadn't had this (extra) year wouldn't have started in the elite circuit, so definitely a lot of youthful energy that's been a nice change of pace."

In the second repechage, Boston Rowing Federation's Alison Rusher (West Bend, Wis./Stanford University) clocked a 7:51.15 to advance over Craftsbury Green Racing Project's Emily Delleman (Davenport, Iowa/Stanford University) by five seconds. Boston Rowing Federation's Maggie Fellows (Warwick, Mass./St. Lawrence University) won the third repechage in a 7:55.04, with Craftsbury's Jenifer Forbes (Baltimore, Md./Northeastern University) taking the fourth repechage.

Wagner and Forbes will face off against Cambridge Boat Club's Cicely Madden (Weston, Mass./Brown University) and USTC-Princeton's Kara Kohler (Clayton, Calif./University of California, Berkeley), the reigning world championships' bronze medalist, in Thursday's first semifinal. Fellows and Rusher will race against Cambridge's Gevvie Stone (Newton, Mass./Princeton University), the 2016 Olympic silver medalist in the event, and USTC-Princeton's Sophia Vitas (Franklin, Wis./University of Wisconsin) in the second semifinal.

In the lone repechage of the men's double sculls, Craftsbury's Webster Thompson (New York, N.Y./University of Virginia) and Andrew Raitto (Hollis, N.H./University of Massachusetts - Lowell) slowly edged away from the New York Athletic Club duo of Connor Corwen (New Rochelle, N.Y./Bucknell University) and Paul Verni (New Rochelle, N.Y./Syracuse University) to claim the victory in a 6:49.31. Sarasota Crew's Marlon Bayer (Sarasota, Fla.) and Malakai Leon (Sarasota, Fla.) finished third.

"Today was kind of an opportunity for us to try to execute something we had been working towards for a while," Thompson said. "In our last month of training camp, we've been spending a lot of time in the double together. The focus has been to just string together some new technical adjustments in the racing environment. We've had some stumbles along the way, but today was a chance for us to demonstrate that a little better."

The Craftsbury and NYAC boats advanced to tomorrow's semifinals. Thompson and Raitto will race in the second semifinal, which includes one of the heat winners, Kevin Cardno (Huntsville, Ala./ University of Alabama, Huntsville) and Jonathan Kirkegaard (Philadelphia, Pa./Purdue University). Corwen and Verni will be in the first semifinal, which includes two heat winners – Craftsbury's Jacob Plihal (Vashon Island, Wash./Northeastern University) and Mark Couwenhoven (Parkton, Md./ University of Maryland - Baltimore County), as well as Penn AC's Charles Anderson (Upper Darby, Pa./Temple University) and Eliot Putnam (Littleton, Mass./Cornell University).

"Tomorrow is just going to be a real test for us, and I think we are just going to try to give it all we've got," Thompson said. "We're a constantly developing crew, so we're hoping that we can go surprise some people tomorrow."

In the men's single, Mike Clougher (Canton, Mass./Connecticut College), a two-time senior national team member, recorded the fastest time of the repechages, winning the third race in a 7.12.11. Riverside Boat Club's Kevin Meador (Berkeley, Calif./Northeastern University), who has represented the U.S. in the event at the past two world championships, won the first repechage in a 7:14.94, with Maritime Rowing Club's Casey Fuller (Newtown, Conn./Fairfield University) and Craftsbury's William Legenzowski (Vista, N.Y./Brown University) taking the other two races.

Clougher and Meador will take on Malta Boat Club's Leonard Futterman (New York, N.Y./Boston University) and Penn AC's Thomas Phifer (New York, N.Y./Middlebury College) in the first semifinal, while Fuller and Legenzowski will race Craftsbury's John Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio/Trinity College) and Lucas Bellows (Forest Lake, Minn./University of Minnesota) in the second semifinal.

Erin Roberts (Fogelsville, Pa./Cornell University) and Hillary Saeger (Dedham, Mass./Marist College) won the repechage of the lightweight women's double sculls by more than five seconds. The crew finished with a time of 7:28.53, ahead of the Vesper Boat Club/GMS Rowing composite boat of Solveig Imsdahl (Philadelphia, Pa./Cornell University) and Margaret Bertasi (London, England/Princeton, N.J.). Both crews advanced to the semifinals.

Roberts and Saeger will race in the second semifinal, which includes one heat winner – the Cambridge/Potomac Boat Club duo of Mary Jones (Huntsville, Ala./University of Tennessee) and Emily Schmieg (Philadelphia, Pa./University of Pittsburgh), the 2018 World Rowing Championships' silver medalists in the event. Imsdahl and Bertasi will race in the first semifinal, which features two heat-winning crews – the Cambridge/Sarasota Crew composite of Michelle Sechser (Folsom, Calif./University of Tulsa) and Molly Reckford (Short Hills, N.J./Dartmouth College) and Craftsbury's Grace Joyce (Northfield, Ill./University of Wisconsin) and Christine Cavallo (Windermere, Fla./Stanford University).

The Riverside Boat Club composite crew of Alex Twist (Boston, Mass./University of Puget Sound) and Hugh McAdam (Hollis, N.H./Washington College) won the first repechage of the lightweight men's double sculls, clocking a 6:44.71 to finish nearly six seconds ahead of the Oklahoma High Performance Center crew of Christopher Bak (Cincinnati, Ohio/University of Cincinnati) and Hilton Park (Edmond, Ola./University of Oklahoma). Vesper Boat Club's Cooper Tuckerman (Bozeman, Mont./Dartmouth College) and Charles Bickhart (Villanova, Pa./Lehigh University) won the second repechage in a 6:50.08.

The two repechage winners advanced to Friday's final, where they will take on the two heat winners from Vesper Boat Club – Zachary Heese (Pelham, N.Y./University of Virginia) and Jasper Liu (Phoenix, Ariz./University of Pennsylvania), and Jimmy McCullough (Philadelphia, Pa./ University of Delaware) and Josh Remland (Temecula, Calif./Brown University).