Racing at Otay Lake in Chula Vista, CA wrapped up this morning with finals for OKC athletes in the Men's Double and Lightweight Women's Double.
In the men’s double sculls, OKC's Ryan Shelton and Martin Etem got off to a solid start. Off the line the Penn Athletic Club and Potomac Boat Club composite entry of Willie Cowles and Stephen Whelpley set the tone and jumped ahead, with the USRowing Training Center-Chula Vista entry of Warren Anderson and Sam Stitt going after them.
All four crews stayed in a tight pack through to the 1,000-meter mark until Anderson and Stitt poured on the heat and started inching ahead. Coming to the finish, the Chula Vista boat drove even harder and made sure that they earned the right to go to the Olympic Qualifier, winning in a time of 6:16.695, followed by Cowles and Whelpley in 6:21.975. Finishing third was the Craftsbury Sculling Center crew of brothers Peter Graves and Thomas Graves in 6:23.527. Shelton and Etem finished 4th in 6:31.9.
Following today's racing, Shelton and Etem will remain in Chula Vista for the opportunity to join the group of scullers in contention for the Olympic Men's Quadruple Sculls.
In the Men's Double Final B, Oklahoma City's Pat Close and Max Goff finished fourth in 6:36.9.
In all of the Non-Qualified Olympic Small Boats Trials events, the winning crews have earned the right to compete at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in May and attempt to qualify the boats for London.
The final event of the morning, the lightweight women’s double was a six boat final, but one crew, California Rowing Club’s Julie Nichols and Kristin Hedstrom, made it their own, pushing out of a tight pack in the first 500 meters to open up a lead they would not give back. They finished first in 7:08.002, followed by the Lake Union Boat Club’s entry of Ursula Grobler and Hillary Saeger who crossed next in 7:12.032 followed by the Oklahoma City National High Performance Center entry of Chelsea Smith and Michelle Sechser who finished in a time of 7:14.562. Sechser and Smith stormed back from 5th place at the halfway point to overtake Pocock's Katherine Robinson and Lindsay Hochman, bronze medallists in the women's lightweight quad at the 2011 World Rowing Championships.
Nichols and Hedstrom have earned the opportunity to go to Europe for the first two world cup stops. If that crew finishes in the top four, it will be named to the team. If it does not, the boat class will be included in the 2012 Olympic Trials – Rowing scheduled for June 11-14 in West Windsor, N.J.