Kara Kohler capped her second World Rowing Championships in the single sculls by reaching the podium to claim the bronze medal, matching her placement at the 2012 London Olympics in the quad and one place better than her fourth-place finish last year at Worlds.
The Clayton woman won three consecutive races in Linz, Austria leading into the championship finals and, in the process, qualified the U. S. for single sculls in next year’s Summer Olympics. Kohler will now be focused on ensuring she is the one representing America in Tokyo.
Kohler’s final race was on the last day of the championships. Overall, the U.S. qualified eight boats for the Olympic Games and all four boats for the Paralympic Games, while winning six medals to finish in a tie for fourth in total medals.
In the women’s single sculls, New Zealand’s Emma Twigg took the early lead ahead of defending world champion Sanita Puspure of Ireland, Great Britain’s Victoria Thornley and Kohler. The American moved into bronze-medal position during the second quarter of the race, passing Thornley as the scullers approached 1,000 meters.
Kohler extended her advantage over Thornley in the third 500 to take command of the bronze medal position. In the final 500 meters, Puspure pulled away from Twigg to win by more than three seconds. Puspure finished in 7:17.14, with Twigg crossing 3.42 seconds later in 7:20.56. Kohler won the bronze in 7:22.21.
“I’m happy to finish off my season on the podium for the first time in the single,” Kohler said. “First half (of the race), Emma shot out — I couldn’t even see her. I felt Sanita on me, so that was hopeful for me. As long as I can stay in touch with Sanita, I should be in a good position. It’s pure relief and confirmation that the training I am doing and the training center group is working so far, and I only look forward to what I can build off of this year.”
The Clayton Valley High and Cal Berkeley grad added, “Last year was my first season in the single. I had a good world championships and I made the A final. That was my main goal. Ended up in fourth place, so I was pretty happy about that but I’m definitely hungry for more.”
US Rowing contributed to story.