Five Rowers Selected to Olympic Team at 2024 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team Trials – Rowing

Five Rowers Selected to Olympic Team at 2024 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team Trials – Rowing

For Immediate Release: April 7, 2024

Five rowers earned their spots at 2024 Olympic Games, while 16 others kept their Paris hopes alive as racing concluded on Sunday at the 2024 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Team Trials – Rowing at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Fla.

Olympic berths were on the line in the women’s single sculls, men’s pair, and women’s pair, while spots at the World Rowing Final Olympic & Paralympic Qualification Regatta were up for grabs in the men’s single sculls, men’s double sculls, lightweight men’s double sculls, men’s quadruple sculls, women’s quadruple sculls, PR1 men’s single sculls, and PR2 mixed double sculls. Rowers winning those events will now compete at the qualification regatta May 19-21 in Lucerne, Switzerland, with the chance to move on to Paris.

In the women’s single sculls, USRowing Training Center – Princeton’s Kara Kohler (Clayton, Calif./University of California, Berkeley) earned a spot on her third Olympic team, clocking an 8:04.01 to finish more than six seconds ahead of Community Rowing’s Margaret Fellows (Warwick, Mass./St. Lawrence University). Kohler, who finished fourth in the event at the 2023 World Rowing Championships, took an early lead in the first 500 meters then extended her advantage to just over four seconds at the halfway point. Kohler continued to increase her lead over the back half of the race to earn her spot in Paris. Fellows finished second, clocking an 8:10.68, while Cambridge Boat Club’s Cicely Madden (Cambridge, Mass./Brown University) took third. Kohler made her first Olympic team in 2012, winning a bronze medal as part of the women’s quadruple sculls. She raced in the single in Tokyo.

“It’s a relief,” Kohler said. “There was a lot of stress leading up to that race because you’ve got to be on for that one race. It’s a dream come true to go to the Olympics again. I’m pumped.”

California Rowing Club’s William Bender (Norwich, Vt./Dartmouth College) and Oliver Bub (Westport, Conn./Dartmouth College) each made their first Olympic team by winning the men’s pair. Olympic veterans Anders Weiss (Barrington, R.I./Brown University), a two-time Olympian, and Tokyo 2020 Olympic teammate Alexander Richards (Watertown, Mass./Harvard University) took the early lead, with Bender and Bub sitting back in fifth position. By the midway point, the CRC duo had moved into fourth position before using a strong third 500 meters to pull into the lead over the USRowing Training Center – Sarasota/California Rowing Club composite crew of Gus Rodriguez (Rye, N.Y./Brown University) and Sam Halbert (Redmon, Wash./University of Washington). Bender and Bub continued to pull away from the field as Rodriguez and Halbert dropped to third position behind Craftsbury Green Racing Project’s Ezra Carlson (Eureka, Calif./University of Washington) and Alexander Hedge (Morristown, N.J./Columbia University). Bender and Bub clocked a 6:54.64, with Carlson and Hedge crossing in a 6:57.37. Rodriguez and Halbert finished third.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Bub said. “I think this is something I’ve dreamed about for a long time, so to come out here and get it done on the day means a lot.”

“It was definitely slow (conditions),” Bender said. “We know it would be a longer race, so you just have to trust the fitness, trust the base speed through the second half.”

In the women’s pair, USRowing Training Center – Princeton’s Jessica Thoennes (Highlands Ranch, Colo./University of Washington) and Azja Czajkowski (Imperial Beach, Calif./Stanford University) took the top spot to earn their Olympic berths. Thoennes raced the women’s eight at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, while Czajkowski made her first Olympic team. The duo was dead even with ARION’s Hannah Paynter (Lyme, Conn./Princeton University) and Hannah Heideveld (New Brunswick, N.J./Rutgers University) at the 500-meter split before making a huge move in the second quarter of the race to take a five-second lead at the midway point. The crew continued to pull away from the field, winning by more than seven seconds. Thoennes and Czajkowski clocked a 7:37.62, with Paynter and Heideveld crossing in a 7:45.26. USTC-Princeton/Craftsbury Green Racing Project composite crew of Erin Reelick (Brookfield, Conn./Princeton University) and Emily Froehlich (Fishers, Ind./University of Texas) finished third.

“This is my dream,” Thoeness said. “My dream has been to be an Olympian. I was lucky enough to do that in Tokyo and now I am beyond thrilled that I get to do it with Azja in the pair for Paris.”

“It feels really good,” Czajkowski said. “I don’t think it’s fully processed for me yet. Hugely relieved and very excited. We had a very strong middle 1,000 (meters), and the last 500, for me, you’re going so hard that you’re on the verge of blacking out. It’s just a lot of happy emotions and a lot of lactic acid.”

In the men’s single sculls, Craftsbury Green Racing Project’s Jacob Plihal (Vashon Island, Wash./Northeastern University), who won a silver medal in the event at the 2023 Pan American Games, took nearly a four-second lead in the opening 500 meters and kept the field at a similar margin the rest of the way down the course. Plihal finished with a time of 7:25.99. Saugatuck Rowing Club’s Casey Fuller (Newtown, Conn./Fairfield University) finished second in a 7:29.65, with Penn AC’s Cedar Cunningham (Renton, Wash./Washington State University) finishing just 0.10 seconds behind in third. Plihal will now race at the 2024 World Rowing Final Olympic & Paralympic Qualification Regatta in Switzerland for the chance to move on to Paris.

“I got off the line really strong,” Plihal said. “I was really happy with that and just kept pushing through the middle 1,000 (meters). Everyone in the field, especially Casey and Cedar, were really trucking for the line at the end. I’ll chill for a couple of days and then just get after it. It’s the first step but the hardest step is yet to come. Lucerne is no easy task by any means. I know there are going to be some good names there, so I’m going to have to be on my ‘A’ game.”

California Rowing Club’s Ben Davison (Inverness, Fla./University of Washington) and Sorin Koszyk (Grosse Pointe Park, Mich./Cornell University) easily won the final of the men’s double sculls. The duo, which finished 13th in the event at last year’s world championships, finished with a time of 6:36.85, crossing more than 30 seconds in front of Next Level Rowing’s Christopher Bak (Cincinnati, Ohio/University of Cincinnati) and Kory Rogers (The Woodlands, Texas/University of Texas). Davison, who raced in the men’s eight at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and Koszyk, who raced at the qualification regatta in the men’s quadruple sculls in 2021, will head to Switzerland in May to try to qualify the boat for Paris.

“We just wanted to come out and put down a good time today,” Davison said. “The conditions picked up, which we were kind of glad to see. Last year, that was a bit of a problem for us, rowing in different conditions, so we just wanted to put down a good time and prepare for next month. (Lucerne) has been in the back of our minds since last year. We think about it a lot. It’s going to be a big race for us, so we’re just day-by-day trying to put the pieces together. Today was a step in the right direction.”

In the lightweight men’s double sculls, the NYAC/Craftsbury composite crew of Sam Melvin (Huntington Beach, Calif./Columbia University) and Cooper Tuckerman (Bozeman, Mont./Dartmouth College) established an early lead and then rowed away from the field to earn the victory. Melvin and Tuckerman held a 2.6-second advantage 500 meters into the race and extended the lead to four seconds at the midway point. At the line, Melvin and Tuckerman crossed in a 6:48.50, with the Penn AC/USRowing Training Center – Sarasota duo of Zachary Heese (Pelham, N.Y./University of Virginia) and Jimmy McCullough (Philadelphia, Pa./University of Delaware) finishing in a 6:52.28. Texas Rowing Center’s Jasper Liu (Phoenix, Ariz./University of Pennsylvania) and Timothy Parsons (Eugene, Ore./Yale University) finished third. Melvin and Tuckerman will now switch their focus to the qualification regatta in Switzerland.

“It was definitely difficult conditions. A bit of a headwind, the water was a bit choppy, but we really just tried to stay relaxed, get into a nice rhythm, and execute our own race,” Melvin said.

In the men’s quadruple sculls, the USTC-Sarasota/Penn AC/NYAC composite crew of Dominique Williams (Madison, Conn./University of Pennsylvania), Will Legenzowski (Vista, N.Y./Brown University), Liam Galloway (Ridgefield, Conn./Yale University), and Kevin Cardno (Huntsville, Ala./University of Alabama, Huntsville) held off the second USTC/Penn AC composite boat of Andrew LeRoux (Venice, Fla./Princeton University), Michael Knippen (Germantown, Wis./University of Wisconsin), Andrew Gaard (Madison, Wis./University of Washington), and Michael Clougher (Canton, Mass./Connecticut College) to earn the victory. The Williams crew took an early lead and held that slight advantage the entire way down the course, winning the race in a 6:04.40. The LeRoux quad finished with a time of 6:05.18. Williams, Legenzowski, Galloway, and Cardno will now race in the qualification regatta.

“Definitely feeling really exhausted,” Galloway said. “It was a really close race. We were able to just stick to our plan, stay internal. That’s what we talked about with our coach and amongst ourselves. We’re really happy with the outcome. We were just able to execute the way we wanted to and were able to come out on top.”

In the women’s quadruple sculls, the USTC-Princeton/ARION/Craftsbury composite boat of Lauren O’Connor (Belleville, Wis./University of Wisconsin), Teal Cohen (Dallas, Texas/ University of Washington), Emily Delleman (Davenport, Iowa/Stanford University), and Grace Joyce (Northfield, Ill./University of Wisconsin) had no trouble winning the final, clocking a 6:43.74 to finish more than seven seconds ahead of the top ARION composite crew. The winning boat will now race at the qualification regatta for the chance to qualify for the Olympics.

“Going into the race, we were really just focusing on keeping calm, keeping controlled,” O’Connor said. “Our main focus was just rowing our own race. It’s easy to get distracted by boats around you, but we wanted to be very internal and focus on not just winning a race but trying to hit the best percentage (of time standard), and I think we really did a good job of that.”

Racing uncontested, Texas Rowing Center’s Andrew Mangan (Buffalo, N.Y./Stanford University) won the PR1 men’s single sculls with a time of 10:31.70. Mangan, who finished 14th in the event at last year’s world championships, will now race at the qualification regatta for a chance to qualify for the Paralympics.

“I was excited to jest get on the course,” Mangan said. “It’s been a couple of months since I’ve had a full-buoyed 2k. Had a race plan and some goals I was focusing on, trying to really work on the start. Had to adjust slightly as it was a bit windier than I was expecting. Overall, pretty happy with the piece.”

Likewise, the Lake Casitas Rowing Club/West Side Rowing Club composite crew of Russell Gernaat (Redwood City, Calif.) and Madison Eberhard (Buffalo, N.Y.) raced uncontested in the PR2 mixed double sculls. The duo finished 11th at last year’s world championships and will now head to Switzerland for the chance to qualify for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

“I was thinking about what we have going on in the next few weeks,” Eberhard said about crossing the finish line. “Thinking about focusing on the goals that we have set for ourselves going into this race. Going uncontested, we still want to stay focused on our goals and focused on everything we’ve worked for over the past weeks and months, putting it all into this race.”

Click here for complete results and here for complete coverage of the trials.

The full Olympic team will be named by June 7 and complete Paralympic team will be named by July 1, pending USOPC approval. Click here to see a quick guide to Olympic and Paralympic qualification. For information, updates, and athlete features, visit our Row to Paris page.

Rowing at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will take place July 27-August 4. The Paris 2024 Paralympic Games are scheduled from August 28 to September 8, with Para rowing events beginning August 30. USRowing previously named the first two Paralympic boats in January and the camp-selected Olympic athletes earlier this week.

USRowing would like to thank our national team sponsors including our Official Boat Supplier for the U.S. Senior, Under 23, and Para Rowing National Teams, Filippi Lido; our Official Apparel Provider, 776BC; our Official Partner, Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc., our Exclusive Supplement Supplier, Thorne HealthTech; our Official Performance Electronics Outfitter, Nielsen-Kellerman; the National Rowing Foundation; and TrainingPeaks, the Official Training and Coaching Software of USRowing’s High Performance Team.

aerial shot of Nathan Benderson Park