U.S. Rowing Finishes Fourth

 

Alamedan just misses Olympic medal

The U.S. Olympic rowing coxed men’s eight team ended its bid at an Olympic medal in Rio de Janeiro after finishing fourth in the final last Saturday, Aug. 13.

The team, which includes Alameda resident Han Struzyna, completed the two-kilometer race in 5:34.23. Great Britain’s team stormed off to a great start and never relinquished its lead. They won gold with a time of 5:29.63. Germany kept it close, but was unable to get ahead of Great Britain. They finished with a time of 5:30.96 and the silver medal. Team U.S. just missed earning a bronze medal by less than three seconds. That medal instead went to the Netherlands with a time of 5:31.59.

The coxed eight team, which consist of eight rowers and a coxswain, did beat two other teams in the six-team race. Poland came in fifth place with a time of 5:34.62, while New Zealand placed sixth with a time of 5:36.64.

The U.S. team’s Olympic journey began Monday, Aug. 8, in the preliminary round. The squad finished in 5:40.26, good for second in Heat 2 and fourth overall among the seven teams that competed. The team, along with four other teams, was placed in the repéchage — a consolation qualifying meet — because the team did not win the heat. The U.S. team finished in first place in the repéchage on Wednesday, Aug. 10, with a time of 5:51.13. They beat the Netherlands less than two seconds. Netherlands finished second with a time of 5:52.95. New Zealand (5:56.94) and Poland (5:59.22) finished third and fourth, respectively, and qualified for the final. However, Italy, who came in fifth, out of five teams, completed the race in 6:05.12 and was eliminated for the tournament. All competition took place at Lagoa Stadium. 

The team earned its trip to Rio by taking first place at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland on May 24. The crew completed the Rotsee course in 5:29.16, 0.46 seconds ahead of Poland.

The team consists of Sam Ojserkis, Austin Hack, Rob Munn, Mike DiSanto, Steve Kasprzyk, Glenn Ochal, Alex Karwoski, Sam Dommer and Struzyna. The team will be looking earn a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with a more experienced team. This iteration was mostly inexperienced in Olympic competition. Kasprzyk and Ochal were the only members who competed in a prior Olympics. Both took part in the 2012 games in London. 

Struzyna, a Kirkland, Wash. native, attended the University of Washington, where he also competed in rowing. As a member of the Huskie varsity men’s eight team, he was a two-time U23 National Team member (2009, 2010), and named to the Pac-10 all-conference men’s rowing team in 2009 and 2010. Four of the nine members of the men’s eight team (Ojserkis, Munn, Dommer and Struzyna) are University of Washington alums.

Struzyna, 27, is the vice president of business development at Innovation Properties Group, Inc. in San Francisco.