World Rowing Cup II: U.S. women’s eight continues gold streak, four other crews earn medals
A total of 17 U.S. crews competed at the World Rowing Cup II, a three-day event (May 27-29) held at the Rotsee – the same location of the 2016 European Continental and Final Olympic Qualification Regatta from just days earlier – on the northern edge of Lucerne, Switzerland.
The main purpose for Olympic-qualified boats to race at the World Cup II is to test their international speed among other nations.
The women’s single sculls (W1x) boat of Gevvie Stone did just that. She won silver with a time of 7 minutes, 30.98 seconds. Less than three seconds from the favorite – Australia’s Kim Brennan, who finished in 7:28.38.
Two U.S. crews who both competed in the women’s pair (W2-) left Lucerne with medals: Grace Luczak and Felice Mueller won gold in a time of 7:06.36; two-time Olympic gold medalist Eleanor Logan, along with teammate and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Meghan Musnicki, won bronze in 7:11.31. New Zealand took silver in 7:07.84.
The men’s eight (M8+) boat which qualified for Olympic selection just five days earlier at the Final Qualification Regatta proved its worth by defeating the reigning world champions of Great Britain and bumping them from the podium. The U.S. team of coxswain Sam Ojserkis, Austin Hack, Rob Munn, Mike DiSanto, Steve Kasprzyk, Glenn Ochal, Alex Karwoski, Hans Struzyna and Sam Dommer took home bronze, finishing in 5:30.54. The Netherlands won gold in 5:28.56 and Germany won silver in 5:30.30.
"We’ll enjoy this tonight," DiSanto told U.S. Rowing. "Then after this weekend, no one is going to care about these medals any more. It’s two months, a little bit more, until Rio and we have a lot of work to do."
"We had a goal this weekend," Munn told U.S. Rowing. "We had the qualifier Tuesday, and because of the relief from that, we were playing with house money today [May 29]. We had nothing to lose. All we could do is go out and prove that we belong on the scene.
"But it is not by any means the end goal. Everyone is focused and we know what is coming at the beginning of August. It’s going to be a really tough couple of months of training."
To no surprise, the women’s eight (W8+) boat consisting of coxswain Katelin Snyder, Amanda Elmore, Luczak, Musnicki, Logan, Lauren Schmetterling, Tessa Gobbo, Mueller and Emily Regan defended their undefeated streak and won gold, finishing in 6:01.12. Not too far behind was Great Britain, which finished second in 6:01.95, and New Zealand was third in 6:04.01.
Notable racing from the men’s four (M4-) boat of Seth Weil, Henrik Rummel, Matt Miller and Charlie Cole almost landed them on the podium. They finished fourth in 6:00.42 while the Netherlands won bronze in 5:58.29. Great Britain slipped past Australia in the final seconds and took first place for the gold medal in 5:55.48. Australia earned silver with 5:55.75.
Lastly, the lightweight men’s double sculls (LM2x) boat of Andrew Campbell Jr. and Joshua Konieczny and the women’s quadruple sculls (W4x) boat of Emily Huelskamp, Olivia Coffey, Amanda Polk and Grace Latz finished sixth.
The World Cup II may be the last international rowing event for many before the Rio Games, and the conclusion of the selection camp process.
U.S. Rowing will name every camp boat (W8+, W4x, M4-, LM4-) but the men’s pair (M2-) on June 20 at their U.S. Rowing Training Facility in Princeton, New Jersey. This is also where the U.S. Olympic Rowing Trials II will take place on June 19-22 and ultimately decide the final pairing of the M2- team.