Rower Kara Kohler, who was a Cal freshman 11 years ago, and Gennaro di Mauro, who will be a freshman at Cal this fall, advanced to the quarterfinals of single sculls with qualifying performances in their first heats at the Olympics on Thursday.
Kohler, who competed at Cal from 2010 to 2014, represents the United States in these Olympics, and she won the first of six opening-round heats in the women’s single scull.
Kohler was a bronze medalist in quadruple sculls in the 2012 Olympics, but failed to make the Olympic team in 2106. After considering retirement from the sport, she instead switched to single sculls and is hoping to become the first American woman to win a gold medal in that event.
Kohler eased to victory in her six-boat heat, comfortably advancing to Monday’s quarterfinal in a time of 7:49.71 over the 2,000-meter course. That was one of the slower winning times in the heats, but the times are not overly significant at this stage.
Di Mauro will enroll at Cal this fall, and the 19-year-old who represents Italy at the Olympics, moved into Monday’s quarterfinals of men's single scull by finishing second in his five-boat heat. He finished his heat in 7:06.87, which was 3.99 seconds behind heat winner Sverri Nielsen of Denmark. Di Mauro did not have to struggle to advance to Monday’s quarterfinals.
Later in the day, former Cal rower Jack Cleary, 27, was a member of the Australian quadruple sculls entry that qualified for the A Final, which means he remains in contention for a gold medal.
The top two finishers in each of the two heats advanced, and Cleary’s Aussie boat placed second in its five-boat heat, just 1.74 seconds behind The Netherlands.
Cover photo of Kara Kohler is by Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Network
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