It was a busy day to say the least for rowers Emily Regan and Felice Mueller, who picked up two medals in the space of an hour for Team USA at the first world cup event of the year Sunday in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
First up for Regan, a 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the women’s eight, and Olympian Mueller, who competed in the pair in Rio, was the women’s pair final, where the duo flirted with second place throughout the interior of the race before crossing the line in third in 7 minutes, 23.56 seconds, less than a second behind the Netherlands’ Aletta Jorritsma and Jose van Veen, and Qin Miaomiao and Guo Linlin of China.
Still warm from their first race, Regan and Mueller took their seats alongside Gia Doonan and Kristine O’Brien in the women’s four, where they rowed to a silver medal in 6:45.93 seconds. Once again, the team from the Netherlands — Ellen Hogerwerf, Karolien Florijn, Ymkje Clevering and Veronique Meester — crossed the line first, clocking 6:42.82 seconds.
“We are really proud of today’s result,” Mueller said afterwards. “We always come to win, but I think we did really well today. Two of us just raced 40 minutes ago in the pair, so that’s always tough. The plan now is to go back home and keep on training. We’re not sure yet what the lineups will be for World Cup II, but we know there is a group going.”
The women’s four will make its Olympic return at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 after only having appeared at the 1992 Games.
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Regan and Mueller qualified for the pair final by dint of a repechage race, where they needed to finish among the top two boats in order to make Sunday’s final. They finished second in that race, granting them a place in the medal round. The silver-medal-winning U.S. women’s four won its first heat to advance directly to the final.
A total of five Team USA crews raced for medals in Sunday’s finals. Additionally, the four of Victoria Opitz, Meghan Musnicki, Brooke Mooney and Molly Bruggeman finished fourth, while a third boat composed of Erin Reelick, Madeleine Wanamaker, Emily Huelskamp and Olivia Coffey was fifth. Reelick and Wanamaker also finished fifth in women’s pair.
The next World Rowing Cup is scheduled for June 21-23 in Poznan, Poland.
Blythe Lawrence is a journalist based in Seattle. She has covered two Olympic Games and is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.