By Craig Bohnert | March 24, 2016, 4:07 p.m. (ET)
(L-R) Felice Mueller and Grace Luczak are one step away from qualifying for Rio after winning the women's pair title at the USRowing National Selection Regatta on Otay Reservoir on March 24, 2016 in Chula Vista, Calif.


Felice Mueller and Grace Luczak won the women’s pair and Michael DiSanto and Rob Munn took the men’s pair title at USRowing’s National Selection Regatta I, held Thursday morning on Otay Reservoir at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California.

With the wins, both teams are one step away from qualifying to compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. They will next compete at World Rowing Cup II on May 27-29 in Lucerne, Switzerland. If they place in the top four – or if there are less than eight entries, in the top half of the field – to represent the U.S. in Rio.

Mueller and Luczak led their race virtually wire to wire to cross the finish line in 7:02.14, four seconds ahead of the tandem of Eleanor Logan and Meghan Musnicki, who finished in 7:06.14. Mueller, who took fourth in the pair at World Cup II last year, has earned world championship bronze in the quadruple sculls (2014) and gold in the four (2013). Luczak was part of the gold-medal-winning four at the 2015 worlds and has been part of the crew that won back-to-back world championship gold medals in the eight (2013, 2014).

DiSanto and Munn had to stage a late-race surge for the win in the men’s pair, covering the 2,000-meter course in 6:33.16, finishing 0.7 seconds ahead of 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Charlie Cole and Matt Miller. DiSanto was part of the U.S. men’s pair that placed ninth at the 2015 world championships. A member of the U.S. senior team since 2013, Munn won a bronze in the eight at the 2015 World Rowing Cup II and collected a total of four medals, including two gold, at the Under-23 worlds.

By virtue of reaching the A Final at the National Selection Regatta, every athlete that raced the event today has automatically qualified for USRowing’s selection camps for the men’s and women’s eights, men’s four, lightweight men’s four and women’s quad.

The finalists included Mueller and Luczak, Logan and Musnicki, Tessa Gobbo and Amanda Elmore, Megan Kalmoe and Kerry Simmonds, Kara Kohler and Emily Huelskamp, and Sara Hendershot and Sarah Zelenka McIlduff in the women’s pair; DiSanto and Munn, Cole Miller, Alex Karkowski and Austin Hack, Hans Struzyna and Sam Dommer, Henrik Rummel and Seth Weil, and Tom Peszek and Yohann Rigogne in the men’s pair; and Edward King and Robin Prendes, Anthony Fahden and Tyler Nase, Tom Swartz and Will Daly, and Peter Gibson and Brendan Harrington in the non-Olympic lightweight men’s pair.