M-A grad wins gold at World Cup 2 rowing event in Italy


The U.S. rowed in 10 finals Sunday on Lake Varese in Italy at the World Cup 2 and delivered big, taking gold medals in the men's four, the women's four and the women's eight, silver in the women's single, the women's double and women's pair and bronze in the women's quadruple sculls and men's eight.

And considering the amount of adversity the women's team had to deal with this week, with injuries and a virus that incapacitated two athletes, resulting in multiple lineup changes and the withdrawal of one of two women's fours they had planned to race, the medals were a testament to the resiliency and depth of the women's team.

"We train all year for this," said Stanford grad Eleanor Logan, who finished fourth in a pair in the early afternoon and then jumped into the eight to replace Amanda Polk, who fell ill Saturday evening and could not race. "We make it hard in practice so that race day anyone can row anywhere in any boat."

The women's four entry of the United States Training Center, Olivia Coffey, Emily Regan, Lauren Schmetterling, with Stanford grad Grace Luczak rowing in bow in place of Victoria Opitz, was the first crew to win gold.

Leading from the start, USA2 easily won in a time of 6:27.41. Australia was second in 6:33.49 and Germany was third in 6:39.08.

"I've been jumping around a bit," said Luczak, who was originally scheduled to row in the quad but was switched to the eight when Opitz became sick and then doubled up in the four to replace Polk, when she got sick.

"Our team is really good at dealing with adversity and making things work," Luczak said. "During our training we switch back and fourth between sculling and sweep. There are situations where you need to do this."

The second gold medal of the day came from the men's four crew of USTC, including Menlo-Atherton grad Seth Weil, Henrik Rummel, Charlie Cole and Glenn Ochal.

Leading from the start, the U.S. had to fight the entire length of the race with Italy and Canada pushing hard to get past them. The U.S. held ground and won in 5:51.87. Italy was second in 5:52.48 and Canada was third in 5:52.52.

"That was fantastic," said Ochal, who won a bronze medal in the event in London 2012 with Rummel and Cole. "We put this four together hoping that it would have some good speed and this was our first test and it went pretty well. We established the race at the beginning. We got our bow out front and made sure that we rowed our race."

The women's eight, which included Logan and Luczak, got out in front from the start, but were pushed hard by Canada and Great Britain.

In the end, the U.S., which has dominated the event the last ten seasons, won again, this time in 6:03.27. Canada was second in 6:05.53 and Great Britain was third in 6:08.66.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/USA rowing

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