It was a bittersweet day for Mi women rowers in RIO on Thursday as Flint’s Ellen Tomek and Jackson’s Grace Latz faltered in the finals while Ann Arbor’s Grace Luczak and boatmate Felice Mueller powered into today’s pairs medal row.
As happened in the heats, Flint’s Tomek and boatmate Meghan O’Leary, of Baton Rouge, La., couldn’t recover from a poor start in rough water and trailed the field to the line in the double scull medal row.
Latz and her quad scull boatmates made a solid race of it, but couldn’t close on the leaders after coming off the start in 5th.
Ann Arbor’s Luczak and Mueller, from Cleveland, powered past the South African boat into 2nd in the final 1,000 meters of their pairs semifinal to record the second-fastest medal row qualifier, a 7:20.93. Great Britain won the heat in 7:18.69.
Luczak and Mueller turned a nearly 2/10ths of second deficit into a nearly 3-second margin over the South African boat at the finish. Luczak brings three World Championship Golds with her to RIO. A 2007 graduate from Ann Arbor Pioneer, Luczak earned a degree in human biology from Stanford.
After finishing 5th in the double sculls in Beijing, Tomek missed the London Games. The Luke M. Powers High grad began rowing in 2002 while earning a degree in Economics at the University of Michigan. She pulled stroke oar for the U.S.’s double scull silver medalist boat at the 2015 World Rowing Cup II in Varese, Italy.
Latz, a 2006 graduate of Jackson Northwest High with a degree in international and environmental studies from the University of Wisconsin, won a Gold and Bronze at the World Championships.