Over the past 15 years, Riverside’s High Performance Group has supported USRowing in the
development of the country’s international competitors, both by preparing athletes for selection through its trial and camp systems and by raising funds for their expenses. In the winter of 2017, in response to disappointing results at the Rio Olympics, USRowing announced changes to this year's selection procedures and released a four-tier funding model for competitors’ expenses. Under the revised procedures, the winners of its World Championship Trials Regatta for the men’s M1x, ML1x, M2x, LM2x, LM2-, M2+, LM4x, LM4- and M4x, and the women’s W1x, LW1x, W2x, and LW2x will represent the U.S. at the 2017 Senior World Championships. Winners of the men’s and women’s pair may attend either FISA World Cup II or III and qualify for the 2017 World Championships by placing highly enough there, otherwise they would compete at Worlds Trials in August as well. The men’s 8+ and 4- and the women’s 8+, 4- and 4x will be selected through USRowing camps. Of these boats, USRowing will fund the expenses of the following Olympic boat classes; the men’s M8+, M4- and LM2x and the women’s W8+, W4x, W2-, W2x and LW2x, while relying on clubs to support non-Olympic event boats.
Competitor selection under the new system began with the 2017 spring speed order 2 / NSR2 regatta, held May 20-22 at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, NJ. Four Riverside HPG athletes competed in Olympic events, Hillary Saeger and Erin Roberts in the LW2x and Chris Rogers and Peter Schmidt in the LM2x. In the May 20 time trial, Hillary and Erin placed second behind the Potomac/Vesper composite of Emily Schmieg and Michelle Sechser. Chris and Peter placed first, with a time nearly 20" faster than the second place finisher.
After a day off, the doubles raced their respective finals on Monday, May 22. Chris and Peter raced first and laid down a winning time of 7:05. The second place crew of Jack Devlin and HPG alum Andrew Neils were second with a time of 7:25. Hillary and Erin raced next, fought all the way down the course, but were ultimately beaten by just under 6 seconds by the Potomac/Vesper composite boat.
Chris and Peter's win in the light double earns them the opportunity to race at World Cup II in Poznan, Poland. After rowing for the United States in non-Olympic boat classes (LM8+ and LM4x), Riverside’s HPG program has enabled them to compete for the first time in an Olympic boat class at the international level. Both are extremely excited for the opportunity to make the next step in their rowing careers and to compete at the highest level.
World Cup II will be held from June 16-18. Results can be found at worldrowing.com.
Riverside congratulates them on the accomplishment and wishes them great success.
By: Peter Schmidt with Richard Garver