U.S. Rowing announces prestigious women's eight Olympic team, men's four, two others
The long-awaited day for many Olympic hopefuls from the big boat selection camps started in the waters of Mercer Lake in Princeton, New Jersey on Monday.
June 20 couldn’t come soon enough for the women's quadruple sculls (W4x), men's lightweight four (LM4-), men's four (M4-) and the infamous women’s eight (W8+) team. That's when it was announced who would represent Team USA in Rio.
Careful lineup evaluations and training camp performances in Chula Vista, Calif., and Princeton, N.J. were the determining factors for boat camp selections. In total, 20 female rowers were invited to this year’s W8+ camp.
After deliberation, the members of the W8+ team have been decided: coxswain Katelin Snyder, 2008 and 2012 Olympian Eleanor Logan, Amanda Elmore, Tessa Gobbo, 2012 Olympian Meghan Musnicki, Emily Regan, Lauren Schmetterling, Amanda Polk and Kerry Simmonds.
Logan and Musnicki are the only returning members from the 2012 London Games gold medal-winning team. The rest of this year's squad will be comprised of new rowing talent.
As arguably the best team in the history of all sports, the W8+ team has a reputation to maintain.
How can a rowing team be considered as one of the best team in the history of sports?
Well, the W8+ head into the Rio Games seeking an 11th consecutive world title.
One could argue that it’s the equivalent to the famed New York Yankees winning 10 straight World Series or the recent world champion Cleveland Cavaliers winning 10 straight NBA titles. No matter how you look at it, it’s an impressive achievement on any level – professional, collegiate or amateur – either as a team or an individual.
Statistically, this world championship winning streak is rare, but there are noteworthy examples of similar feats. The Soviet National Hockey Team won 14 consecutive world championships – including Olympic years – from 1963-1976. Edwin Moses claimed victory in 122 straight races of the 400-meter hurdles. After losing on Aug. 26, 1977, he started an unbeaten streak that lasted almost 10 years until fellow American Danny Harris defeated him on June 5, 1987.
The W8+ team qualified for Olympic selection last year at the World Rowing Championships – they won gold and their 10th straight world title. Since then, many rowers began training for a spot on this prestigious boat.
How does any team win 10 straight world titles?
“Creating a system!” explained Curtis Jordan, the high performance director for U.S. Rowing. “Tom [Terhaar, the women's open weight head coach] and Laurel [Korholz, the assistant coach] have created a system that produces champions of the women who are willing to be part of that system.
What does this impressive achievement mean to U.S. rowing?
“First, it means we have a great coaching staff,” said Jordan. “They have developed and evolved a system that is the best in the world. Secondly, we have women who relish the challenge of being the best in the world.”
The other boats (W4x, LM4- and M4-) who qualified for Rio at the 2015 World Championships were also part of the big boat selection camp announcement.
The 2012 London Games bronze medal-winning M4- team comprised of Scott Gault, Henrik Rummel, Charlie Cole, and Glenn Ochal will return two members for Rio – Rummel and Cole. Matt Miller will replace Glenn Ochal, as Ochal has moved to the men’s eight team. Seth Weil replaces the retired Gault.
The new M4- team is hopeful that they can match or better their result from London.
“The M4- was our priority boat for the heavy men's sweep camp,” Jordan told NBCOlympics.com. “It was a continuing selection process from October to March. Even though the earlier combination that included Glenn [Ochal] was successful the coaches wanted to be fair to developing athletes and to the process of finding the fastest boat.
“It was very close and difficult decision. A combination of training sessions both on land and on the water were assessed and the combination with Miller in the boat was determined to be faster.”
The 2016 Olympic W4x team consists of 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Adrienne Martelli, Grace Latz, Tracy Eisser and two-time Olympian (2008 and 2012) Megan Kalmoe, who previously won bronze with Martelli.
The U.S. W4x are also defending world champions.
Lastly, 2012 Olympian Robin Prendes, Tyler Nase, Edward King and 2012 Olympian Anthony Fahden earned the selection for the LM4- team.
Monday also marked the day that 10 of the 11 Olympic boat classes that are heading to Rio will have an athlete representative.
The remaining boat – the men’s pair – is currently being contested at the Olympic Trials II in the same waters. Those finals will take place on June 22.
The official U.S. Rowing team announcement for all Olympic-qualified boats will take place on June 24.