Husky Rowers Advance at World Championships

Aug. 22, 2001

All five current members of the Washington rowing team advanced out of repechage heats to semi-final and finals after another day of racing Wednesday, the fourth day of competition at the Rowing World Championships being held Aug. 19-26.

John Lorton (quadruple sculls) and Lucas Ahlstrand (lightweight eight) both will race in semi-finals Thursday while the US women's eight featuring coxswain Mary Whipple, Anna Mickelson and Heidi Hurn, advanced to the grand final Sunday. With the repechages completed, the U.S. has qualified 11 boats for the finals and seven for the semifinals, which leads all countries.

In the women's eight, the U.S. crew of coxswain Whipple (Orangevale, Calif.), Kate Johnson (Portland, Ore.), Caroline Ingham (Seattle, Wash.), Mickelson (Bellevue, Wash.), Hurn (Redmond, Wash.), Megan Dirkmaat (San Jose, Calif.), Maite Urtasun (Riverside, N.J.), Kate Ronkainen (Houston, Texas), and Wendy Wilbur (East Bridgewater, Mass.) edged out Belarus in the final 500 meters of its repechage to finish third, advancing to Sunday's final. In the race, Belarus took the early lead, but unlike the heat, the U.S. kept in contact with the leaders off the start and sat in second place at the 500-meter mark. During the middle 1,000 meters, Romania and Germany slowly worked their way through the pack and into the top two positions, as Belarus and the U.S. pulled away from Canada and the Netherlands to secure the last two qualifying spots for the final. Romania won the repechage in a time of 6:08.08, with Germany finishing second in a time of 6:09.81. The U.S. clocked a 6:11.16 to edge out Belarus by 0.35 seconds. The top four finishers from the repechage join heat winners Australia and Great Britain in the final.

In the men's quadruple sculls, Grant Nichols (Philadelphia, Pa.), Lorton (Seattle, Wash.), Henry Nuzum (Chapel Hill, N.C.), and Aquil Abdullah (Washington, D.C.) won their repechage to earn a berth in Friday's semifinals. The U.S. and the Estonian crews were virtually deadlocked at the 500-meter mark, with Estonia holding a slim 0.20-second advantage. That's when the U.S. began to establish its lead. During the second quarter of the race, the U.S. pulled away from Estonia and the third-place crew from Sweden. However, the Estonian crew was not finished and made a huge charge at the U.S. boat, cutting the American's lead to 0.43 seconds with 500 meters remaining in the race. The American crew withstood the charge, however, and pulled away from the Estonians during the last quarter of the race, clocking a 5:45.28 to finish 1.85 seconds ahead of the second-place crew. The U.S., Estonia, and Sweden all advanced to Friday's semifinals.

The men's lightweight four of Steve Warner (Livonia, Mich.), Gabe Winkler (St. Johnsbury, Vt.), Patrick Todd (Cincinnati, Ohio), and Ahlstrand (Oakland, Calif.) finished second in its repechage, advancing to Friday's semifinals. The quartet clocked a 6:04.02 to finish 4.57 seconds behind the crew from Italy. The Italian crew used a tremendous start to take control of the race out of the gate, while the U.S. had established its second-place position by the 500-meter mark. Italy continued to push away in the second 500 meters. The U.S. made a small move during the third 500 but never made a serious run at the Italians, deciding to focus on maintaining its qualifying spot for Friday's semifinal.

Competition continues on Thursday and Friday with semifinals, while the finals take place on Saturday and Sunday.

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