The Riverside High Performance Group had the first opportunity of the year to don stripes at USRowing’s Spring Speed Order 1, the first official racing event of the 2020 quadrennial. Six Riverside athletes, and eight Riverside alums, tested their speed last week at Lake Mercer across four days of racing.
Peter Schmidt, Christopher Lambert-Rogers, Jake Georgeson, and Brendan Harrington faced off against eight other entries in the lightweight men’s single; all progressed through the time trial and semifinal, ultimately filling four of the six lanes in the semifinal with stripes. Battling a stiff headwind, Schmidt raced a gutsy race for first against Craftsbury’s Hugh McAdam, ultimately placing second overall in a time of 7:53.8, less than two seconds off first place.
“I found that my start for the semi was slower than what I’d like so I made a few changes to it for the final,” Schmidt said. “For the final it was my goal to go out aggressive and try to get as much of a lead as possible going into the sprint. Unfortunately I didn’t get the lead I was hoping for going into the last 500 and Hugh had a solid move and was able to move through me and get me in the end.” Lambert-Rogers, Georgeson, and Harrington came through the line next, locking up 3rd, 4th, and 5th, respectively.
Lauren Ayers, racing in the lightweight women’s 1x, earned a trip to the A final as well, ultimately finishing 3rd overall in a time of 8:46. Men’s sweeps member Alex Brown represented the Meatwagon in the men’s 1x, missing a trip to the semifinal by fractions of a second. “The thing about not knowing where you stand in an event is you need to treat every race like it’s the final, because you never know if that race is going to be the last one,” Brown said. Brown placed 2nd in the C final.
Riverside alumni continued to show their speed, with three-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist Lauren Schmetterling placing second overall in the women’s 1x. Molly Hamrick, currently training with SoCal Scullers, and Kristina Wagner and Elizabeth Sonshine, from AVIRON, competed in the event as well. Meanwhile, alumni Andrew Neils, now down at UVA, and Nick Dawe, representing NYAC, faced off against the strong current Riverside contingent in the lightweight men’s 1x. Maureen McAuliffe and Lily Keane, training with AVIRON, joined forces to race the women’s pair.
Though the results of Spring Speed Order 1 will have no impact on selection for the 2017 US National Team, the race is an opportunity for athletes to gauge their speed early in the season, as well as a long-awaited kick-off to the racing season. “My main goal going into speed order was to test my speed and see how I stacked up against the rest of the lightweights,” Schmidt said. “Having a speed order event this early in the season relative to when worlds is is good since it showed me what areas of the race I was lacking in and what to work on going forward as the season starts to pick up.”
The HPG returns to training with an eye on USRowing’s Spring Speed Order 2, an opportunity next month to compete in doubles and pairs.