Belgrade, Serbia September 10, 2023.
The World Championships in a pre-Olympic year have more on the line than just podium places. While no US athlete can directly qualify for the Olympics from the World Championships, they can qualify their respective boat classes, and thus avoid the dreaded Final Olympic Qualification Regatta (FOQR).
BRF athletes competed in three events, the lightweight women’s double with Michelle Sechser and Mary Jones Nabel, the women’s pair with Alie Rusher and California Rowing Club’s Meghan Musnicki, and the women’s quad, with Emily Kallfelz and Molly Reckford, with ARION’s Lauren O’Connor and Green Racing Project’s Grace Joyce. Maggie Fellows served as the team alternate.
Michelle and Mary advanced to the A Final by placing third in their semifinal, in an incredibly tight race with New Zealand, Canada and Ireland. Advancing to the final also secured a spot for the US LW2x at the Paris Olympics. In the final, after being in 6th place at the first 500 meter marker, the duo charged through the field, moving into 2nd place in the 3rd 500 meters, and staying there through the finish line, earning a well deserved silver medal, a second silver in the boat class for each athlete.
Just like Mary and Michelle, Alie and Meghan qualified in 3rd place for the A-final, securing an Olympic berth for the USA. While they finished 6th in the a final, securing qualification was a great step for the two women, who had not rowed together until earlier this year. Contrast this with the Chilean pair that finished 0.04 seconds ahead of the US duo, which was rowed by twins, who’ve been together for 26 years, and who’ve been competing internationally since 2014. With another year under the belt, we look forward to much more to come from this combination.
The women’s quad, with Emily and Molly on board, did not fare as well. Being seeded in lane 6 in the semifinal, when the course was favoring lanes 1-2 made qualifying for the A-final all but impossible for the US crew. Olympic qualification hopes were not lost, however, as the winner of the B-final would be able to secure a spot in Paris. In the winner take all race, the US women finished a hard fought 5th (11th overall), which will require the US W4x to qualify for the Paris Olympics in Lucerne in 2024 at the FOQR.
We look forward to a productive fall for all of our athletes as they begin the final push for Paris. If you’d like to support their efforts, please consider donating here: http://www.bostonrowingfederation.org/support/