Credit: US Rowing
World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals
USRowing will be sending its first-ever Beach Sprint National Team to compete at the 2021 World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals September 24-26 in Oeiras, Portugal.
The squad, which was selected at the Beach Sprint National Team Trials in June, includes one rower with international race experience, albeit in flat-water rowing, Christine Cavallo (Windermere, Fla./Stanford University). Cavallo will be racing on her seventh national team, having competed previously on the junior, under 23 and senior national team levels. The remainder of the squad will be making their national team debuts.
In total, nine boat classes are being contested in Portugal, and the U.S. will have entries in eight of the events. Men's events include the open men's single sculls, junior men's single sculls and junior men's double sculls. Women's events include the open women's single sculls, junior women's single sculls and junior women's double sculls. Mixed events include the open mixed double sculls, open mixed quadruple sculls with coxswain and the junior mixed double sculls.
The U.S. has entries in every category with the exception of the junior women's double sculls. In total, just under 200 athletes from 25 countries are scheduled to race in the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals.
Beach Sprint racing is contested in a run, row, run combination over a 250-meter, out-and-back buoyed course and uses a time trial and knock-out progression system. The format debuted in 2015 at the Mediterranean Beach Games, and the first global event was the 2019 World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals in Shenzhen, China. The 2026 Youth Olympic Games in Senegal will have the beach sprint format.
Click here for USRowing's 2021 World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals coverage page for articles, photos, athlete bios, schedule, results and much more.
Open Women's Single Sculls (CW1x)
In the women's single sculls, Cassidy Norton (Hamilton, Ohio/Ross High School) just finished her senior year in high school in June. She raced in the women's four at the 2021 USRowing Youth National Championships, finishing 14th overall. Representing Great Miami Rowing Center, Norton won the open women's single event, finished second in the open mixed quadruple sculls and made the semifinals in the open mixed double sculls at USRowing's Beach Sprint National Team Trials. Norton is one of 15 competitors scheduled to race in Portugal.
Open Men's Single Sculls (CM1x)
Also rowing out of Great Miami Rowing Center, Christopher Bak (Cincinnati, Ohio/University of Cincinnati) won the open men's single event at the Beach Sprint National Team Trials and raced with Norton in the mixed double and mixed quad events as well. A 2019 graduate of the University of Cincinnati, Bak raced in the lightweight men's double sculls at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Rowing earlier this year. Bak is one of 23 scullers entered in the event. The field includes Norway's Kjetil Borch, the Olympic silver medalist in the men's single sculls, as well as Portugal Olympian Pedro Fraga.
Junior Women's Single Sculls (CJW1x)
The Stewards Foundation's Britt Wotovich (Redington Beach, Fla./Berkeley Preparatory School) will be racing in two events in Portugal after winning both the junior women's single sculls and junior mixed double sculls at the Beach Sprint National Team Trials. The 15-year old won the U17 single sculls event at this year's USRowing Southeast Youth Championships and finished second in the lightweight single at the 2021 Florida Scholastic Rowing Association Sculling Championships. Wotovich is one of seven women entered in the event.
Junior Men's Single Sculls (CJM1x)
Like his Stewards Foundation teammate, Brian O'Leary (Port Charlotte, Fla./Jesuit High School) will race in two events in Portugal after winning the junior men's single sculls and the junior mixed double sculls with Wotovich at the Beach Sprint National Team Trials. A first-year rower, O'Leary finished 12th in the U17 single sculls at the 2021 USRowing Youth National Regatta. O'Leary is one of nine men scheduled to race.
Open Mixed Double Sculls (CMix2x)
Racing as an Oklahoma City High Performance Center/Parati Competitive Rowing composite boat, Elizabeth Hinley (McHenry County, Ill./University of North Texas) and Kory Rogers (The Woodlands, Texas/Temple University) won the open mixed double sculls' final over Brooke Downes and Michael Trebilcock at the Beach Sprint National Team Trials. Rogers began rowing in high school and currently rows at Temple University. He raced in the lightweight men's double sculls at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Rowing earlier this year. Previously a triathlete, Hinley picked up the sport through the USOPC's Next Olympic Hopeful program in 2018 and has rowed out of the Oklahoma City High Performance Center since January of 2019. Hinley and Rogers will take on 13 other crews in Portugal.
Junior Men's Double Sculls (CJM2x)
Rose City Rowing Club teammates Aidan Ehrismann (Portland, Ore./Leodis V. McDanial High School) and Joshua Li (Lake Oswego, Ore./Lakeridge High School) decided to enter the Beach Sprint National Team Trials as a way to spend their time in mid-June between the end of the USRowing Youth National Regatta and the start of USRowing's Olympic Development Program. The duo defeated The Stewards Foundation's Gabriel Schleifer and Michael Garcia in the final at trials. Ehrismann and Li were both part of Rose City's youth eight that raced in the 2021 USRowing Youth National Regatta. The U.S. is one of nine crews entered in the event.
Junior Mixed Double Sculls (CJMix2x)
After winning their singles events at the Beach Sprint National Team Trials, Wotovich and O'Leary won the junior mixed double sculls event over Great Miami Rowing Center's Annalie Duncomb and Evan Mead. Duncomb and Mead won the time trial race, but in the final, Wotovich and O'Leary turned the tables and rowed to the victory thanks to a strong return trip around the buoy. Wotovich and O'Leary will take on six other crews in Portugal.
Open Mixed Quadruple Sculls with Coxswain (CMix4x)
The open mixed quadruple sculls crew of coxswain Bennett Rossell (Sarasota, Fla./Stetson University), John Olbrys (Arlington, Va./United States Coast Guard Academy), Christine Cavallo (Windermere, Fla./Stanford University), Hannah Huppi (Bellingham, Wash./Tulane University) and John Huppi (Reston, Va./Tulane University) came back to defeat the Great Miami Composite Crew in the final of the event at the Beach Sprint National Team Trials. After finishing behind Great Miami in the time trial, the crew won the sprint home in the final to secure a spot on the team.
Cavallo, a seven-time flat-water national team member, most recently raced at the world level in the lightweight women's double sculls at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. Earlier this year, she finished second in the lightweight women's double sculls at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Rowing. Olbrys raced in the men's single sculls at the Olympic Trials, while the Huppis rowed collegiately at Tulane University and currently row out of New Orleans Rowing Club. Rossell currently coxes at Stetson University and represented the U.S. as a junior at the 2019 CanAmMex Regatta.
The U.S. crew is one of 11 boats entered in the event.