Nov. 8, 2010
LAKE KARAPIRO, N.Z. - Stanford women's rowers Elle Logan '11, Grace Luczak '11 and Lindsey Meyer '12 completed competition at the World Rowing Championships in New Zealand over the weekend, with Logan claiming her first World Championship gold with the U.S. Eight and Luczak earning a bronze medal with the U.S. four. Meyer finished fourth in the "B" final and 10th overall in the women's single sculls.
The women's eight crew fought its way into the lead by the 500-meter mark of the championship final, and never looked back. The favorite heading into the competition, the crew had blazed through the heats with the fastest time among all boats, and in the championship final continued its run. The U.S. quickly found open water after the first 500 meters and continued on until crossing the line with a gold medal-winning time of 6:12.42, four seconds ahead of the runner-up boat from Canada.
For Logan it was her second World Championship medal, as she was part of the silver medal-winning U.S. four in 2009.
"I am so proud that I was a part of this particular eight," Logan said afterward. "It was a powerful boat that was on a mission, which made winning that much more special. I was also proud to wear a pink ribbon in honor of breast cancer awareness which affects us all. Taylor Ritzell's mom is battling it right now, and we wanted her to have our support."
"They really owned the race from the beginning and the way they rowed the middle 1,000 was inspirational in its raw speed," said Stanford women's rowing head coach Yasmin Farooq. "Elle is one of the younger women in the boat, but she's battle-tough and really blossoming into a top-notch elite rower."
Luczak and the U.S. women's four won the U.S.'s first medal of the World Rowing Championships earlier in the weekend, claiming the bronze medal in its championship final.
The U.S. quartet was second off the line behind Australia and on the move, along with the Netherlands. The New Zealand crew was a length back with 500 meters gone in the race as all four crews battled wavy conditions while a strong cross headwind blew down the course.
"Before the half-way point I could see the Dutch and Australians on either side of our boat," Luczak recalled. "We all had the same thought at that point, 'we are going to win this race.'"
The U.S. had just taken the lead when a boat-stopping "crab" brought the crew to a dead stop around the 1,000 meter mark. They immediately fell back to fourth place, open water behind the field.
"After the crab it was a relentless pursuit after that to make up for the large deficit on the field," Luczak continued. "It was a great race in that it was rowed with composure and confidence to get back into it, and it will certainly serve as fuel for years to come."
"It was a truly courageous performance," Farooq said. "The last 500 meters was beyond exciting. They rowed through the Kiwis in front of the grandstand and then started reeling in the Aussies. You could see them closing with every stroke. I am extremely proud of what they accomplished."
The U.S. four's final 500 meter time was the fastest split of the race and the all-out sprint brought them within 0.67 of a second of the silver medal.
Meyer, rowing in the single sculls competition, finished fourth in the "B" final behind Germany's Sophie Dunsing, Jingli Duan of China, and Great Britain's Katie Solesbury, and ahead of Ukraine's Tetiana Kolesnikova, and Spain's Nuria Domingues Asensio.
"Lindsay did a fantastic job at this regatta and had her first opportunity to compete against true legends in this sport at the most important regatta of the year," Farooq noted. "It's excellent experience for someone so young, and I know that she'll be inspired to grow and go faster."
"Cardinal is one of the predominant colors among red, white and blue here," Luczak said. "I can't wait for Lindsay, Elle and I to join our teammates this winter and build on their hard work toward making fast boats."