NORWALK, Conn. Norwalk's Dan Walsh and the United States Men's 8 failed to advance out of their semifinal Wednesday in the World Rowing Championships in Bled, Slovenia. The U.S. finished fourth, leaving the team in jeopardy of not qualifying for next year's Olympics.
"This regatta is not over," Walsh said on the USRowing Website . "We have to qualify this boat for the Olympics and that's the most important thing right now. So everyone is going to have to pick themselves up by the bootstraps and go out and race as hard as they can tomorrow. We've got to step it up. Next year is the one that really counts. We have to qualify this boat for the USA."
To qualify an eight for the Olympic Games in London next summer, the boat must finish in the top seven spots at the world meet. By not making the finals, the margin for error for the U.S. team became very narrow. It now must win the B final Thursday, or wait for the second-chance qualifying regatta next May.
The U.S. finished behind Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. "It's tough to tell what happened," Walsh said. "We executed our race plan. Everyone put in the effort. Of course, there are things you could do better if you don't win. It's hard to put your finger on it right now. Our competition is stiff, so those boats were faster than us," he said.
The lightweight men's doubles scull with Rowayton's Brian de Regt finished fourth in its race and also failed to advance to the A final. They have slightly more wiggle room, as the first 11 boats in Bled qualify for the Olympics.
The men's four team with New Canaan's Charlie Cole recovered from an incredibly narrow second-place finish in its heat on Monday and won Wednesday's repechage. Right from the start, the four pulled into the lead and stayed there, winning with a time of 6:00.55nearly three seconds ahead of second-place Italy.
"It was a good step for us," Cole said on the USRowing site. "There are some really tough crews. We saw that for ourselves in the heat, and we knew it was up to us to see how much we could improve from then to now. And we did improve some things, but we need to do a lot more before the semifinal and we're up to the challenge.
"We didn't think about the result [Monday]. We just thought about what we could have done better and the basics we have done all year, and try to get to those a little bit and do better," he said.
The U.S. mixed four Adaptive team with the coxswain team of Alex Stein of Stamford and Andrew Johnson of Greenwich advanced to the semifinal by winning its race on Tuesday. The semifinal is on Saturday.
Complete information is available on the USRowing Website .
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