Emily Regan of Buffalo and the U.S. Women’s Eight showed it was back to championship form by winning its opening heat on Wednesday and earning a place in Sunday’s final at the World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
The U.S. Women had a streak of 11 consecutive gold medals finishes when they finish fourth in last year's Worlds in Sarasota, Fla.
The crew of Kristine O’Brien (Massapequa Park), Felice Mueller (Cleveland), Vicky Opitz (Middleton, Wis.), Gia Doonan (Rochester, Mass.), Dana Moffat (Manlius), Tracy Eisser (Fair Lawn, N.J.), Regan, Olivia Coffey (Watkins Glen) and coxswain Katelin Guregian (Detroit) got off the line strong, taking the early lead over China in the first 500 meters and then building more than a three-second advantage on the Netherlands at the midway point of the race.
After that the U.S. boat refused to give back more than a seat over the second half of the race. The U.S. crossed in 5 minutes, 56.68 seconds. The Netherlands finished second in a 5:59.51, followed by China and Canada. In the second heat, Australia defeated Great Britain by just under two seconds with a time of 6:02.38.
"It felt really awesome," said Guregian, who returns with Regan from the 2016 Olympic eight and last year’s crew. "Just from the first stroke, we were really internal. We executed our intentions all the way down the race course. I think the best way that we operate is the way that we race, which is to stay internal – focus on the person in front, focus on what is happening in this stroke, on what is happening on this day or at this practice. That’s how we improve and we get better."
Former Canisius High rower Sam Hausmann of Buffalo and the U.S. Lightweight Men’s Quadruple Sculls finished fourth and will race in a B final on Friday for places 7-12.
The U.S. Men’s Eight bested Australia by 0.05 seconds to win its heat and set a World Championships’ Best Time in the process, missing a world record by 0.52 seconds. In the second heat, the defending world championships from Germany beat the Italians by 1.42 seconds to win the race in a 5:22.88. All four crews advanced to Sunday’s final.