Coach’s Update: 2024 Final Olympic Qualification Regatta


Domique Williams, Will Legenzowski, Liam Galloway, and Kevin Cardno missed qualifying for the Paris Olmpyics by just .13 seconds. Credit: USRowing/Row2k

Penn AC’s Evan Olson and the M8+ qualified for the Paris Olympic Games at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne. They won by open water over the Italians (who also qualified), Canada, and Austria. Evan and the M8+ will contend for a medal in Paris.

Penn AC’s Dom Williams and the M4x came up just a little short. It was an excellent campaign, a brave race, the best result for the M4x in years — probably since 2008 — but still a painfully disappointing outcome.

We advanced directly to the A Final out of our heat thus avoiding the rep. In the final, five crews were within two seconds of each other as the race hit the midway point, with Norway holding less than a one-second advantage over Estonia and the U.S. another half-second behind. We were even with Estonia in the third quarter of the race and took a slight lead as the crews entered the last 500m. We kept trading positions with Estonia during the final sprint with the Estonians pulling their bowball ahead in the last ten meters. Norway won in 5:50.89, with Estonia crossing in 5:52.20 and the U.S. at 5:52.33. We missed Olympic qualification by .13.

Here’s World Rowing’s description of the race:
“Norway absolutely flew off the start, hitting 44 strokes per minute. They took the lead which they maintained for all of the first half of the race, but the chase was really on behind them with Estonia, USA, Australia and France all battling it out to be in the top two. This was going to be a close one! Norway were now being pushed really hard, particularly by Estonia. The cheers came up from the American supporters in the grandstands as their crew sprinted towards the line. Norway crossed the line first and there a moment delay whilst the second place was analyzed. Estonia had done it! The USA had missed out on Olympic qualification by just 0.13 seconds.

To add context, four years ago the USA was last among all the entries. In 2016 the USA was four seconds out of qualification. This year we placed third out of ten and barely missed. The Australian boat we defeated had two Tokyo Bronze medalists in the crew. For the Estonian athletes this will be, on average, their third Olympics. Norway actually took their qualified M2x and put them into their M4x. Without their strengthening the line up I’m confident we would have defeated Norway as we did last year and qualified. Ugh.

The next six weeks will be devoted to the Henley Project. We will prepare Penn AC athletes Cedar Cunningham and Breck Duncan, and a few others for the elite M4x Queen Mother Challenge Cup. Isa Darvin will race in the US Rowing W8+ at Henley. The Henley Royal Regatta and USRowing are sponsoring us.