Weston rower's boat misses chance for medal
WINDSOR, England -- It was one thing for Weston rower Nick LaCava and his boatmates to win a repechage.
Advancing through a tough semifinal field at the Olympics proved to be something altogether different on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old Columbia University alum and his boatmates on the U.S. lightweight men's four finished fifth among six boats, while a top-three performance was needed to make the finals.
"We weren't fast enough, I guess," said a visibly shaken LaCava, who was anxious to make a speedy exit from the Eton Dorney Rowing Centre, where the competition is being held.
His boatmate Anthony Fahden added that he, LaCava and the other two on the crew are "just disappointed that we didn't have our race and didn't make it through.
"It's a really fast field. We haven't had a chance to talk about it and pinpoint where we can improve and go from there. It wasn't an entirely terrible race, there were some bright spots but we weren't able to put everything together perfectly," he said.
LaCava -- who remained in Weston through eighth grade before attending Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H., for high school -- will now have to be content with competing Thursday's "B" final, where the placement of seventh to twelfth will be determined.
"We will just get ready for the B final and race the best we can then," said the first-time Olympian, whose mother, Zizi was a master rower at the Saugatuck Rowing Club in Westport.
Great Britain won the heat in 5:59.68, followed by Switzerland and the Netherlands. Fourth-place Germany and last-place Czech Republic will join the U.S. in the B final, along with France, Italy and China.
The American crew -- known as the "Ivy League 4," with LaCava's fellow rowers coming from Harvard, Columbia, and Princeton -- started strongly in Tuesday's race, fighting with Germany for third place for the first 1500 meters of the 2000-meter course, but they faded toward the end, as a surging Dutch boat overtook both the U.S. and Germany to secure the last berth in the final.
Ed Klajman is a freelance writer.