By USRowing Staff • October 31, 2017
PRINCETON, N.J. – With 2017 being its inaugural year, the U.S. Lotman Challenge took the American rowing scene by storm, bringing a new competitive edge to single sculling. Presented by the Philadelphia Gold Challenge Cup Foundation, the event provided the initiative of cash prizes to motivate elite single scullers to come out and compete.
The “Triple Crown” format of the challenge pitted competitors against one another over the course of three major regattas—USRowing Club National Championships, Head of the Charles and Head of the Schuylkill—with cash prizes for the top three males and females in the cumulative standings at the end of the third race.
Upon completion of the third and final regatta in the challenge, Felice Mueller took first place in the standings, having won Club Nationals and Head of the Schuylkill, and placing second at Head of the Charles. “I am so excited to have been able to compete in the first ever Lotman Challenge, and especially excited that I came out on top!” said Mueller, who also competed in the single at the 2017 World Rowing Championships in September.
“The Lotman Challenge not only upped the level of competition at the selected regattas, but it also incentivized getting top rowers to spend time in the [single].”
Mueller was followed closely by Kara Kohler in second place, who competed in the quadruple sculls at the world championships, and third place finisher Meghan O’Leary, who took home silver at worlds in the double earlier this season.
Kohler enjoyed the added incentive as she chose to pursue single sculling this year.
“I feel very lucky that my decision to row the single overlapped with this great opportunity to participate in an event that has put attention on U.S. sculling,” Kohler said. “My hope moving forward is that the Lotman Challenge will inspire more athletes to pursue sculling because they believe in its potential within the U.S.”
On the men’s side, John Graves secured the top spot in the rankings after a first place finish at Head of the Schuylkill. Having competed in the double sculls at the world championships this year, Graves remained a significant figure in U.S. sculling throughout the year.
Next in the men’s rankings was second place finisher Tom Graves, and Wes Vear in third.
Graves and Mueller received $9,000 each for their first place finishes, provided by contributions from various rowing companies. The two second place finishers were awarded $3,500 each, and $1,500 went to third place.
The Lotman Challenge is set to run again in 2018, in hopes to further promote and expand sculling within the United States rowing community.
Article written by Elise Gorberg, firstname.lastname@example.org