The men and women at USRowing Training Centers in Princeton, N.J.; Chula Vista, Calif.; and Oklahoma City, Okla., are preparing for what has the potential to be a historical performance for the United States in 2012.
One year from now, USRowing will send 48 athletes to Eton Dorney to compete in 14 events (eight for men and six for women). Selection is currently taking place for the upcoming 2011 World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia.
The U.S. women continue to dominate the world stage, showing no sign of letting up. Under the direction of Head Coach Tom Terhaar, the five-time defending world champion women’s eight capped off its 2010 season with a gold medal at the World Rowing Championships at Lake Karapiro, New Zealand.
The crew kicked off international competition this season with a Remenham Cup win at the 2011 Henley Royal Regatta and a gold medal at the 2011 Samsung World Cup 3 in Lucerne, Switzerland.
On the men’s side, the eight and the four also had exciting performances at Henley and World Cup 3. With Head Coach Tim McLaren at the helm, crews are already posting impressive results in the 2011 racing season. The crew capped off its world-cup series in Lucerne, Switzerland, with a bronze-medal performance on July 10. The men’s eight, having missed the podium by 0.2 seconds at its world-cup debut, is fueled up for a world-championship rematch.
The success of the U.S. senior national team is just the tip of the iceberg. The under 23 team and junior teams are making waves of their own and bringing home the hardware – evidence of the talent that will, without a doubt, rise through the ranks in the training cycle leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games, and beyond.
- Unstoppable Women’s Eight: No country has been capable of matching the speed of the U.S. women’s eight in the last five years. With the return of several seasoned veterans and the addition of decorated young talent on deck, there is sure to be good racing in London.
- Deep End: Coach Tom Terhaar has more than one crew with Olympic gold-medal potential. Just how deep is the women’s team that will make the journey across the pond a year from now? If the 2011 racing season is any indication, the U.S. team is stacked several boats deep with speed and raw strength. At the 2011 World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland, U.S. women won medals in the eight and pair, as well as the lightweight double sculls.
- Sculling Shift: The United States is known as a nation of eights – historically accepted for its focus on sweep and team events. The sport is shifting, however, to build sculling events and improve the potential to win medals in small boats. Coming off convincing performances so far this season, the lightweight women’s double sculls, women’s double sculls and women’s quadruple sculls crews are solid bets for the medal stand at the 2011 World Championships.
- Seeing Double: Julie Nichols and Kristin Hedstrom began training together this spring and have set precedence for success. After dominating the field on the domestic front, the lightweight double sculls team medaled at each of the three world cup regattas in 2011 – bronze in Munich, gold in Hamburg and bronze in Lucerne. For its sustained top performance leading up to this year’s world championships, Nichols and Hedstrom became the first U.S. crew to ever win the points trophy, which was awarded to them at the third world cup in Lucerne for the most points in that particular boat class.
- Wild, Wild West: In March of this year, Coach Tim McLaren and the U.S. men’s team relocated to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. Since then, the men have established a new norm. The results have shown improved performance at the world level, including the four’s medal in Lucerne, Switzerland, in early July 2011.
- Two-time Olympic medalist and seven-time U.S. national team member Caryn Davies took time off following Beijing to focus on her law degree, but is making a comeback in the final year of the quadrennial. At 6’4” and 170 lbs., she is ranked No. 1 among female U.S. Olympic and world championships multimedalists with five gold medals under her belt.
- Mary Whipple also took time off after coxing the women’s eight to victory in Beijing, but has returned to the USRowing Training Center in Princeton, N.J., to train for the 2011 team. In her absence, Whipple developed the9thseat.com, her website that provides coaching and training tips for coxswains and rowers.
- After six years of retirement following her Athens silver medal, Ali Cox rejoined her training center teammates just in time to help them win gold at the world championships last year. Cox, Caryn Davies and Mary Whipple – all Olympic medalists – were pillars of the women’s eight that won gold in Lucerne, Switzerland, in July 2011.
- Jamie Koven, father of three and New York investment banker, is aiming for a third Olympic appearance at the 2012 Games, making his one of the longest-spanning careers of the current athlete pool. Even after two cycles off, Koven is likely to be in the mix leading up to the Olympic Games.
- Beijing Olympian Giuseppe Lanzone was born on a small peninsula in La Punta, the capital city of Peru. He moved to the U.S. at 15, and was persuaded to give the sport of rowing a try. Giuseppe’s natural athleticism and success in high school led him to a collegiate career at the University of Washington and later, an invitation to train with the U.S. National Team. Lanzone was able to secure U.S. citizenship less than 24 hours before leaving to compete in the 2006 World Rowing Championships, where he won bronze in the men’s eight. He has added several international medals to his résumé since then, including bronze earlier this month at the 2011 Samsung World Cup 3.
More Athletes to Watch
- Erin Cafaro (Modesto, Calif.)
- Charlie Cole (New Canaan, Conn.)
- Steve Coppola (Buffalo, N.Y.)
- Will Daly (Vail, Colo.)
- Natalie Dell (Clearville, Pa.)
- Susan Francia (Abington, Pa.)
- Scott Gault (Piedmont, Calif.)
- Kara Kohler (Clayton, Calif.)
- Caroline Lind (Greensboro, N.C.)
- Eleanor Logan (Boothbay Harbor, Maine)
- Meghan Musnicki (Naples, N.Y.)
- Brett Newlin (Riverton, Wyo.)
- Taylor Ritzel (Larkspur, Colo.)
The selection process for rowing for the 2012 Olympic Games has several layers, but falls into four basic categories. Boats are first categorized into “big boats” and “small boats” and then into qualified or non-qualified boats.
The first step of the selection process will occur at the 2011 World Championships, held Aug. 28-Sept. 4 in Bled, Slovenia. It is the first opportunity for countries to qualify their boats (not individual athletes) for the Olympic Games. Crews will have a second opportunity to earn a spot in the Olympics at the Olympic Qualification Regatta, scheduled for May 20-23, 2012, in Lucerne, Switzerland.
The “big boats” include the men’s eight, women’s eight, men’s four, lightweight men’s four, men’s quadruple sculls and women’s quadruple sculls. They are selected through a selection-camp process.
The small boats include the men’s single sculls, women’s single sculls, men’s double sculls, women’s double sculls, lightweight men’s double sculls, lightweight women’s double sculls, men’s pair and women’s pair. They are selected through a trials process. Specific dates and procedures will be announced at a later time.
- Aug. 5, 2011: U.S. Senior National Team announcement
- Aug. 28-Sept. 4, 2011: World Rowing Championships – Bled, Slovenia
- March 15-17, 2012: National Selection Regatta #1 – Chula Vista, Calif.
- April 12-14, 2012: National Selection Regatta #2 – Chula Vista, Calif.
- TBD: U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Rowing (Non-Qualified Small Boat Trials)
- TBD: U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Rowing (Qualified Small Boat Trials)
- May 4-6, 2012: Rowing World Cup I – Belgrade, Serbia
- May 20-23, 2012: Olympic Qualification Regatta – Lucerne, Switzerland
- May 25-27, 2012: Rowing World Cup II – Lucerne, Switzerland
- June 15-17, 2012: Rowing World Cup III – Munich, Germany
- July 28-Aug. 5, 2012: Olympic Games – London, England