The most recent European racing trip was an extremely successful one for the US National Team. The team’s World Cup performance was one of the best ever, second only to last year’s performance in Lucerne when the U.S. won the points trophy for the first time ever.
While all athletes laid down great pieces and solid races, there were definitely a few standouts. On the women’s side, the dominant W8+ had a fantastic race featuring a move that blew past Canada in the last 500m to a commanding win. What’s more, all of the women in the eight had raced in the A Final of the pair event. The fact that all four of the pairs made it to the A final speaks to the caliber and depth of Tom Terhaar’s program. The pair of Kerry Simmonds and Megan Kalmoe finished second to GB while the pair of Caroline Lind and Grace Luczak finished third.
On the men’s heavyweight side, the M8+ and M4- both proved to be among the fastest in the world. The 8+ led from the start to win gold and the 4- brought home the bronze. Mike Gennaro was part of both crews, filling in for the injured Ross James.
On the men’s lightweight side, both the LM4- and LM2X finished fourth in their respective A finals. This was an unprecedented result for both boats and is exciting leading into this year’s World Championships.
On top of all the great racing, the team was able to learn a lot about the course in France that will be used for the Olympic qualifier next year.
After leaving France, the team headed to Holland to get a feel for the course that will be used at this year’s World Championships in Amsterdam. It was helpful to get a bit of training on the course before some fun racing in the Holland-Beker Regatta. However, it proved to be tough physically on the team with more injuries creeping up on both the men’s and women’s side.
The women once again showed their speed finishing first in the W8+, first in the W2X and second in the W4X. The truly exceptional part was that many of the women who had raced in the quad during the World Cup raced the eight and vice versa showing the versatility of the group.
On the first day of racing in Amsterdam, the men’s boats were kept more or less the same from the World Cup. The M8+ proved dominant again and the M4- final featured the US men’s heavyweights and lightweights against the Canadians, Dutch and Chinese heavyweights. The race proved to be a real barn burner with the US heavies taking an early lead followed by Canada, the US lighties and then the Dutch. With just 250m to go, the lighties moved into 2nd before catching a little digger which dropped them to 4th, just 3 seconds back from the winning US heavies.
On the second day of the regatta, the men wanted to test their mettle at switching lineups. Four guys from the M8+ hopped into the M4- and the guys from the 4- joined the rest of the men in the 8+. Both the 8+ and the 4- won again, showing the incredible depth of the men’s squad this cycle.
Overall it was a great regatta that provided everyone with valuable racing experience come this summer’s World Championships. Thank you to the NRF for making this European racing adventure possible for the men’s and women’s National Team and on to more training, selection and then Worlds!