Parkite qualifies for World Rowing Championships
On Sunday, July 12, Park City native Devery Karz took another step toward the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The rower and her lightweight women double scullers partner Michelle Sechser finished in third place at the third and final World Rowing Cup event in Lucerne, Switzerland, clinching a spot in the World Rowing Championships competition in Aiguebelette, France, Aug. 29-Sept. 6.
Needing a fourth-place finish to qualify for the World Championships, Karz said a strong finish in the 2,000-meter race made sure the two Americans would be competing in France.
"We moved from sixth to third in the second half of the race," she said. "It was really exciting for us and means we solidified our spot for the World Championships. That event is extremely important because it’s the event where all countries are trying to qualify their boats for the Olympics."
Karz and Sechser crossed the finish line in 6 minutes, 58.71 seconds. Only New Zealand (6:55.06) and South Africa (6:56.60) were faster.
Following the top three was a duo from Great Britain. Karz said she was thrilled to have beaten such a strong team and to have improved so much from last year at this time.
"The fourth-place boat has an Olympic gold medal and the world record for time," she said. "Last year, we had a 10th-place finish at World Championships. To move up seven spots, that’s really exciting."
Though Karz is excited to have qualified for this year’s World Championships, she said she and Sechser understand there is more work that must be done.
"When we show up, the competition will be double what it was at the World Cup," she said. "No one wants to be the boat that doesn’t qualify for the Olympics."
Still, Karz said she’s happy with her training and knows that she and Sechser are moving in the right direction.
"For that day, that was our fastest race we had," she said of the World Cup performance. "A month from now [at World Championships], we still think we have a lot of room to improve and a lot of speed to gain."
The American teams typically only compete at one of three World Cup competitions throughout the summer, Karz said. Some countries that will be at the World Championships don’t compete in the World Cup at all. Karz enjoyed the opportunity to race other countries in the World Cup to learn other teams’ tendencies.
"For my partner and I, we’re going into the World Championships with a good idea of where we stand against other countries," she said. "If you went in blind, it’d be more nerve-wracking."
Other teams got to see how Karz and Sechser raced, too, but Karz said teams shouldn’t get too familiar with the style of race displayed on Sunday.
"A little edge of surprise is gone," she said. "They kind of know our racing style now. At the same time, because we have room to improve, we’ll be able to come back with something better. Currently, our start is slower than everyone else in the field. We’re going to work on our first 1,000 meters. People will expect us to fall off the pack in the first half, but we’re trying to improve on that."
Now, Karz and Sechser will continue their training program in Philadelphia, where they’ll finish their training cycle in time to peak for the World Championships. Karz said she’s not thinking too much about the pressure to finish in the top 11, which would clinch a spot at the 2016 Olympics.
"Honestly, I don’t really think about it," she said. "In a way, it’s my job and it’s my job to perform. Hopefully I can just do my job appropriately and I’ll have the outcome I need."
Quincey Cummings and Mitchell Andrus, two Parkites, turned their experience in sailing and hospitality into an adventure travel business, which as an adventure of its own.