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As a reward for our first-place finish, we received an awesome Swiss Army knife! Susan and I are super excited. (photo by Alison Frederick)

What an incredible three days of rowing!  Excitement and drama was the order of the day at the World Cup Regatta in Lucerne, Switz… there were close finishes and surprise upsets in almost every single boat class! Definitely a good foreshadowing of the intense competition we’ll see in London.

The women’s eight race was no exception: all seven entries were serious contenders for a podium finish. During the heats on Friday, the brisk tailwind made for some very fast racing… so fast, in fact, that six world records were broken!  The men’s eight, the women’s quad, the men’s quad, the men’s four, the lightweight women’s double, and the women’s eight (USA!) all set new World’s Best Times.  (Of course, Mother Nature is primarily responsible… you gotta love a blazing tailwind).  Check out some awesome writeups here and here.

Some faaaaaaast conditions on the Rotsee! (photo by Alison Frederick)

Our win in the heats granted us an automatic berth in the Grand Final, so we lined up this afternoon against Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Great Britain, and Germany. A beautiful sunny Sunday, light tailwind, tons of spectators cheering on shore, the Swiss dairy cowbells clanging at the starting line… a perfect day for racing!

From the first stroke, it was obvious that this race was going to be a barnburner.  The entire field was only separated by a few seconds at the 500m mark, and we only led Canada by a seat at the halfway mark. In years past, the USA would start to seperate from the field in the third 500m, but not this year! There was absolutely no letup from our competition; it was obvious that we’d have to fight for every inch. Coming into the final stretch, it was USA ahead of Canada by about ¾ of a second, followed closely by Netherlands, with a tight race for 4th between the Australians and the British. And all of a sudden, Canada started to sprint. At 300m to go, they were 2 seats down… then they were 1 seat down… 100m left… ½ a seat down…. they’re level!… 5 strokes left, we’re giving everything we’ve got… they’re still level!… and we cross the line dead even.    We wait for the official time, and it’s USA, by only THREE-HUNDRETHS of a second.  Whew! (Here’s the USRowing press release)

Only point-zero-three seconds! (We’re in the yellow boat) The official photo-finish from worldrowing.com.

A thrilling race, a tight race, but it’s obvious that we still have some work to do before London. We only have two weeks until Olympic Trials (for the pair), and less than a month until Naming Date (for the quad and the eight), so we’re headed straight back to NJ to continue training and selection. Send me some good vibes over the next few weeks… as intense as the World Cup Regatta is, I think it’ll pale in comparison to the seat-racing we’ll see in the next few weeks!

Any blog post would be incomplete without a HUGE CONGRATS to my American teammates for their success this weekend!  Silver medal in the pair, bronze medal in the quad, and a close 4th in the lightweight women’s double, woohoo! Another shout-out to my Yale teammate and good friend Tess Gerrand ’10, who just punched her ticket to London with the Australian W8+!

Check out race results or racing coverage at www.worldrowing.com or www.usrowing.org

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