By Blythe Lawrence | Sept. 01, 2019, 11:29 a.m. (ET)

Emma Twigg (New Zealand), Sanita Puspure (Ireland) and Kara Kohlerpose for a during the victory ceremony after the women's single sculls final at the 2019 World Rowing Championships on Sept. 01, 2019 in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria.

 

Olympic medalist Kara Kohler and the women’s eight closed out competition at the World Rowing Championships in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria, Sunday by delivering a pair of bronze medals, punctuating a six-medal effort by Team USA over the course of the week.

Both results also earned Olympic quota spots for Team USA, making it a total of 12 earned at the world championships in men’s, women’s and Para-rowing. Quota spots earn Team USA a spot in that event at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, with the individual athletes in those boats to be determined later.

Kohler, part of the bronze medal-winning effort in women’s quadruple sculls at the Olympic Games London 2012, earned her first individual world medal, also bronze, in single sculls. The 28-year-old, who began rowing a decade ago at the University of California-Berkeley but only began competing in singles in 2018, began the race in fourth place. She had climbed to third, powering past Britain’s Victoria Thornley by the halfway point, and stayed there for the remainder of the race, crossing the line in 7 minutes, 22.10 seconds.

“Finishing my 2019 season on the podium for the first time is really good, as last year was my first season as a single rower,” Kohler commented post-race. “I clearly would have more speed and get closer to the top two spots at Tokyo 2020.”

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Ireland’s Sanita Puspure dueled New Zealand’s Emma Twigg for gold in the last 500 meters of the 2,000-meter course, pipping Twigg with her time of 7:17.140, about three seconds ahead of the eventual silver medalist.

Faced with stiff competition from New Zealand and Great Britain, the American women’s eight — Olympic gold medalists Emily Regan and Meghan Musnicki and Olympian Felice Mueller, plus Kristine O’Brien, Dana Moffat, Olivia Coffey, Gia Doonan, Erin Reelick and Olympic gold medalist coxswain Katelin Guregian — were unable to hold on to their world title from 2018 but did manage to remain on the podium. The USA held itself in bronze-medal position at each of the 500 meter splits, cruising over the line in 6:01.930.

New Zealand’s crew, which did not challenge for the title in 2018, sped to gold in 5:56.910, followed by Great Britain in 5:59.630.

“Really tough race,” Doonan commented. “Our competitors were really fast and we gave out all we had and we were really part of our team. We just kept fighting till the end, and I am happy about that.”

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.