Tracy Eisser and Megan Kalmoe compete in the Women's Pair race at the 2019 World Rowing Championships on August 25, 2019 in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria.
Tracy Eisser and Megan Kalmoe qualified the women’s pair boat for the Olympic Games Tokyo with a fourth-place performance at the 2019 world championships.
They will now get to fill the seats they earned for Team USA.
Eisser and Kalmoe won the women’s pair final at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in West Windsor, New Jersey, on Saturday morning and became the final two athletes named to the U.S. team.
The roster is now complete at 37 rowers spread across nine boats. Thirty were added on Friday after men’s and women’s camps, while five had previously been named. The majority of the athletes will be competing either in four- or nine-person boats.
Both Kalmoe and Eisser are Olympic veterans. This will be Kalmoe’s fourth consecutive trip to the Games, having made her debut in Beijing in 2008. She won a bronze medal in quadruple sculls in London on 2012. Eisser competed for the first time five years ago in Rio, where both she and Kalmoe raced in the women’s quadruple sculls boat that finished fifth.
Upon doing together in women's pairs, the duo also won a silver medal together at the 2017 world championships.
Eisser and Kalmoe were fastest in Friday’s team trial to earn a spot in Saturday’s final. Their competition included Jenifer Forbes and Erin Boxberger, who finished second; three-time Olympic medalist Caryn Davies and Allyson Baker, who were third, and Molly Bruggeman and Vicki Optiz, who were fourth.
On Saturday, Bruggeman and Optiz pushed their way to a second-place finish with a time of 7 minutes, 12.99 seconds, but it wasn’t fast enough to top Eisser and Kalmoe clocking in at 7:06.27. Forbes and Boxberger were third, and Davies and Baker were fourth.
No U.S. women’s pair has ever won gold at the Olympics. Karen Kraft and Missy Schwen-Ryan won two medals, claiming silver in Atlanta in 1996 and bronze in 2000 in Sydney, the last time the U.S. medaled in the event.
After winning Friday’s time trial, Kalmoe posted to her Instagram that Saturday would be her last-ever U.S. selection regatta. In April, she said, she and Eisser removed themselves from the women’s camp for eight- and four-boat racers in order to focus on the pair.
“After a long winter camp in San Diego, we reconnected in the pair when we returned to Princeton, and made the decision to return to the event that we love and care about most,” she wrote. “We have been happier the past month than we have been in a long, long time. … We have an enormous amount of respect for the level of competition in this event, and all the competitors who have continued to raise the bar over the past five years. We know we are an outside shot for a medal, and are aware of the speed it will take to get in to the hunt. We want to try anyway.”
So far, so good.