Team USA rowers emerged from Sunday’s World Rowing Cup II finale in Poznan, Poland, with a full slate of medals, crowned by the golden performance of Alexandra Reilly, Todd Vogt, Charley Nordin, Paralympic silver medalist Danielle Hansen and coxswain Karen Petrik in the Para mixed coxed four.
In the four’s first appearance on the world cup circuit this season, the Americans crossed the line in 7 minutes, 43.08 seconds, trailed by crews from Italy and France, each about two seconds behind the other. The U.S. began the race needing to catch up to the Italians during the first 500 meters on the Lake Malta regatta course, though once they gained the lead they never relinquished it.
“It’s great to be here at our first world cup this season and get a medal,” Hansen said. “I think it’s good momentum going into worlds and we are looking forward to racing other crews.”
Back after a break from the sport, Gevvie Stone, the silver medalist in single sculls from the Olympic Games Rio 2016, teamed with up-and-comer Cicely Madden to contribute a silver medal in double sculls. Though the duo’s start was not as good as they might have liked, they led most of the face before being pipped nearly at the post by New Zealand’s Olivia Loe and Brooke Donoghue. The Kiwis crossed the line in 7:21.28, with the Americans just a half second behind in 7:21.55.
“We were right in front but New Zealand kept gaining and suddenly they were right next to us,” said Stone, who along with Madden has earned her spot to compete at this year’s world championships.
The New Zealanders, for their part, understood what racing Stone and Madden meant. “We expected a tough fight and this is exactly what we got,” Loe remarked.
The U.S. women’s eight — Kristine O’Brien, two-time Olympic champion Meghan Musnicki, Brooke Mooney, Gia Doonan, Youth Olympian Dana Moffat, Olympian Felice Mueller, Erin Reelick, Olivia Coffey and Olympic gold medalist coxswain Katelin Guregian — came into Poland as defending world champion and posted the fastest qualifying time, and the crew ultimately finishing second, flying over the course in 6:27.74, only a second and a half back from the winning Australian crew.
“The race went really well and we had a great fight. I think our boat showed a lot of character," Guregian said. “The conditions were what we expected, but it was still really crazy and swirly water out there. Next, we’ll be going back to Princeton to train towards World Rowing Championships.”
With a time of 7:43.73, three-time Olympian Megan Kalmoe and 2016 Olympian Tracy Eisser sailed across the line for bronze in the women’s pair, a result that clinched them a berth into the world championships.
The 2017 world silver medalists sat solidly in third the whole race, eventually finishing behind New Zealand’s Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler and Australia’s Annabelle Mcintyre and Jessica Morrison, which Kalmoe said they approached as a test of their abilities.
“We had lots of opportunity to learn and to grow our knowledge base. We really wanted to focus on having a strong first 1,000 meters as we know the two other crews are really fast there,” she added. “So we did that and we had a really awesome race.”
Rowing season continues with the 2019 World Rowing Cup III, slated to take place July 12-14 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.