US Para-rowing crews named for World Championships
Monday, 08 July 2013
July 8 - The Para-rowing crews that will represent the United States at the 2013 International Rowing Federation (FISA) World Rowing Championships in South Korea have been announced.
Five crews will represent the US at the Championships in Chungju, which are due to take place from August 25 to September 1.
In February, FISA changed the name of adaptive rowing to Para-rowing to raise the profile of the sport, at its Extraordinary Congress in Copenhagen.
London 2012 bronze medallists Rob Jones and Oksana Masters (pictured top) will compete in the trunk and arms mixed double skulls after qualifying with a time of 4min 14.50sec during the US trials at the 1,000 metres course on Lake Mercer, New Jersey.
After the trials, Jones revealed that the pair made an alteration to their equipment to make the oars move faster through the water, following their last outing at the World Rowing Cup event in Eton Dorney last month where they finished with a bronze medal.
"The biggest change we made [following Eton Dorney] was that we changed up the length of our oars," said Jones.
"We were loaded up a little bit too light, we went too far in one direction, so we changed it and it felt better today."
In the legs, trunk and arms four with coxswain, Jenny Sichel, Andrew Johnson, Eric McDaniel, Kathy Byington and Jaclyn Smith make up the crew.
Johnson and McDaniel were both members of the crew that raced at the 2011 World Rowing Championships at Lake Bled in Slovenia, where they finished sixth, while Johnson also finished sixth at London 2012.
Daniel Ahr qualified for the team in the men's arms and shoulders single skulls with a personal best time of 5:59.00.
The former US Navy warfare officer has only been rowing competitively for two years and went to the trials without putting too much pressure on himself to make the team.
"I was really here for the experience," he said.
"My long-term goal is to be competitive in 2016 [at the Rio Paralympics], so I figured I would come out here and see what trials are like and if my time is good enough to qualify for the team, even better.
"If not, I was going to take this as a learning experience one way or the other.
"I think it helped because I felt pretty relaxed out there."
In the women's arms and shoulders single skulls, Dana Fink overcame Maragaret Stan in a time of 6:51:10 to secure her place at Chungju.
"My ultimate goal is Rio in 2016 and this is another step along the journey," said the former collegiate wheelchair basketball player.
"I can check this one off now.
"You can't ask for better weather and water conditions here, so it's a great start.
"I was happy to race my race.
"I've been a competitive athlete for a really long time, although I'm still kind of new to the rowing world.
"I've only been rowing for three years.
"I think I'm pretty good at getting into that competitive athlete mentality from my past experiences.
"Now I'm working on perfecting that technique for rowing and breaking some of those bad habits before they get ingrained."
Natalie McCarthy and Paul Hurley qualified uncontested in the legs, trunks and arms mixed doubles, which has been introduced as a new category this year, with a time of 4:26:50.
"Coming into this race, we were confident," said McCarthy.
"We knew we didn't have competition, which is tough, almost.
"We knew we were going to be by ourselves, racing against the clock, but I was surprisingly nervous.
"Even just racing against the clock, I surprised myself with how race-ready I felt and all the pre-race nerves that really still got to me, even though we were on our own out there."
February 2013: USRowing names new Para-Rowing High Performance Committee
February 2013: Adaptive rowing re-branded to help raise profile
February 2013: World Rowing discussing changes at Extraordinary Congress