Molly Reckford and Michelle Sechser pose after the Lightweight Women's Double Sculls Final of the 2021 Final Olympic Qualification Regatta on May 16, 2021 in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Michelle Sechser and Molly Reckford left nothing to chance, rowing their way to first place in the lightweight women’s double sculls event Sunday to secure their first Olympic berths.
Olympic spots were available to the top three finishers in their event at the World Rowing Final Olympic Qualification Regatta, which wrapped up one day early due to inclement weather in Lucerne, Switzerland.
“I’m just so happy to have achieved this and to have done it with Molly,” Sechser said in a story posted by US Rowing. “I couldn’t have asked for a better way to achieve this thing with a better partner.”
Sechser, of Folsom, California, and Short Hills, New Jersey, native Reckford held off the home team in the final to win in just under a length with a time of 7:06.62. Ireland finished behind Switzerland to earn the third Olympic spot.
“I do this because I love to race, and this race is exactly why I love racing,” Reckford said.
Six U.S. boats came into the weekend hoping to qualify for Tokyo, with all of the others needing to finish among the top two to earn the Olympic bid. Only one other boat, the men’s pair of Tom Peszek and Mike DiSanto, reached the finals, but they fell just short of the Olympic spot in third. That means the U.S. will send nine boats to the Japanese capital later this summer.
Sechser comes into the Games with more experience, having made her international debut in 2011 at the Pan American Games, where she won bronze medals in the lightweight double and quadruple sculls. She’s competed in multiple world championships in the years that followed, most recently finishing 10th in the lightweight double in 2019.
Reckford made her world championships debut in 2019 when she finished fourth in the lightweight quadruple sculls. She is the granddaughter of Bill Spencer, a two-time U.S. Olympian in biathlon.
Reckford and Sechser train in the Boston area.