ST. CATHARINES, Ontario – It was a golden morning for the U.S. rowing team Monday at the Pan American Games.
Emily Huelskamp and Molly Bruggeman dominated the women’s coxless pair final, leading at each of the four 500-meter intervals and cruising to first place in 7:20.98, 12 seconds ahead of second place Melita and Antonia Abraham of Chile.
Meanwhile, 2008 Olympian Lindsay Meyer and Nicole Ritchie reached a silver-medal performance in double sculls, narrowly falling to Canada’s Kerry Shaffer and Antje Von Seydlitz by 1.64 seconds, finishing in 7:14.65.
Huelskamp and Bruggeman cited the rougher conditions and slower times in the preliminary rounds as a means for their seemingly cruise control victory. They both train in New Jersey in more coarse environments, which they say provides advantage in any rowing scenario.
”I guess if you’re not experienced, you can let it get to you,” Huelskamp said of building a sizeable lead early – in this instance, nearly six seconds over second place at the halfway mark. “We just trusted ourselves and knew we could make up ground easily.
“The fact that we were up at the 500, we knew we were able to do it and could just focus on ourselves.”
The doubles final featured a far more narrow finish than the pair, with stroke rates escalating to 37 and 38 per minute in the final leg and side-by-side racing in the last 100 meters. Meyer and Ritchie surrendered a late lead in the final leg when Shaffer and Von Seydlitz charged to a remarkable 1:35.50 finish over the last 500 meters.
“They just had bigger engines than us today,” Meyer said.
The American duo insists that they didn’t settle for silver, however. Meyer, who earned a top-five finish at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, understands the effort required to compete at the international level, saying, “We gave it all we had. Even if the result is not what we want, we can’t be upset with that.”
Added Ritchie: “It was such tight racing, which is the most exciting part of this sport.”
The two men’s teams that competed Monday both placed fourth.
In men’s double sculls, Sam Stitt and Ryan Monaghan hovered in fifth through the first 1,000 meters before advancing to fall shy of the podium, finishing in 6:39.77. Cuba’s Eduardo Rubio and Angel Fournier took gold.
The men’s four team – David Eick, Kyle Peabody, Nareg Guregian and Keane Johnson – were five seconds off the podium after completing the 2,000-meter course in 6:21.13.