Devery Karz rows closer to Olympics |

Devery Karz rows closer to Olympics

Park City High School graduate Devery Karz, a member of the United States Rowing Association, took the next step in her quest to represent the U.S. at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She and her lightweight double sculls partner, Michelle Sechser of Folsom, California, qualified their boat for the Olympics — now they just have to qualify themselves.

With an 11th-place finish at the 2015 World Rowing Championships in Lac Aiguebelette, France, the duo ensured that there will be a U.S. team competing in lightweight double sculls at the 2016 Games, but have yet to ensure that they’ll be the ones rowing for the red, white and blue.

Though it was a relief to qualify the boat for the Olympics, Karz isn’t able to rest just yet.

"I still have a huge amount of work ahead of me," she said. "[The United States Rowing Association] doesn’t solidify the spots that quickly. If there is another crew that develops and becomes better than Michelle and I, it doesn’t make sense for the U.S. to commit to us. They’re trying to win a medal."

The Olympic qualifier will be held in Sarasota, Florida, in April, Karz said. She added that it’ll be a tight battle to see which team represents the country in Brazil.

"I think I’m just as motivated as everyone who’s not in that spot," she said. "There are only two spots and there are so many lightweights who want to be there. It’s going to be brutal. You’re not going to do well if you’re not self-motivated. It’s just everyone’s motivation has doubled now that the boat is qualified."

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The qualification process was anything but easy for Karz and Sechser. Karz said she wasn’t close to 100 percent healthy when they had to take to the water for the B final at the world championships.

"I got sick right before," she said. "Something hit the U.S. team, so there were four or five of us with a nasty stomach bug."

Because of that, the U.S. duo barely qualified ahead of Sweden. Needing an 11th-place finish, Karz and Sechser finished fifth in the B final, or 11th overall.

"We got 11th by .2 seconds," Karz said. "We were waiting to see [immediately after the race] if it was us or Sweden who got 11th. It was probably only 30 seconds to a minute before they put the times up on the board, but it felt like 30 minutes."

Karz said she doesn’t know too much about the course in Sarasota where the Olympic qualifiers will be held and where she’ll try to clinch her spot as a member of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team.

"I rowed it once before the course was fully finished," she said. "It’s going to be the site of the 2017 World Championships, though, so that’s pretty cool for the U.S. to have. It doesn’t happen very often. Because [it will be the host of the Olympic qualifiers], I don’t know if they’ve changed the restriction on how much you can row it."

Though the Olympic qualifiers aren’t for another few months, Karz isn’t taking much of a break. Even this weekend, with her normal training river shut down, Karz shifted gears and found another river she and Sechser could use for a few days.

"I took two weeks off and now I am right back at it," she said. "I escaped down to D.C. for the weekend because the pope is in Philadelphia, so our river is closed."