Olympic rowing: Lightweight four crew out of OKC headed to London Games
The United States will be represented in the Olympic Games next month by a crew of former Ivy League rowers who now call Oklahoma City their home.
The Oklahoma City Boathouse Foundation and the Oklahoma River is the home base for the United States' men's lightweight four crew of Anthony Fahden, Will Newell, Robin Prendes and Nick LaCava.
They are the first crew of rowers who train in Oklahoma City to qualify for the Olympic Games.
The foursome finished first in the final 2012 Olympic qualification regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland, earning a spot for the United States in the event in London.
Eleven boats had already qualified for London in last year's 2011 World Championships. Last month's regatta in Switzerland was the last chance for two more boats to earn a trip to London and the Olympic Games, and the last chance for an American crew to get in.
“Each sport has their pinnacle event,” said LaCava, a native of Weston, Conn. “For rowing, definitely the top is the Olympics. For most rowers, they see that as the final goal to achieve.”
LaCava rowed collegiately at Columbia University. Fahden, a native of Lafayette, Calif., rowed at Dartmouth. Newell is from Weston, Mass., and rowed for Harvard. Prendes is a native of Miami, Fla., and rowed at Princeton.
Each of them was recruited to those Ivy League schools because of rowing. They live and train about four months out of the year in Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma River, which in 2009 was designated as a U.S. Olympic and Paralympic training site for rowing and canoe/kayak.
The rest of the year, they are racing or at training camps with the rest of the U.S. national rowing teams. Next week, they travel to New Jersey for another camp, the final tune-ups before competing next month in the Olympic Games.