WEST WINDSOR, N.J. — The Oklahoma City National High Performance Center's focus has been to develop elite rowers and kayakers who will represent the U.S. on the world stage. Two more athletes who train on the Oklahoma River accomplished that goal Thursday, when Tom Peszek and Silas Stafford earned a spot on Team USA for the 2012 Olympics in London.
Peszek and Stafford rowed to a first-place finish in the heavyweight men's pair at the Olympic Trials on Mercer Lake. Peszek and Stafford finished the race in 7 minutes, 14.988 seconds. The second-place team of Mike Gennaro and Robert Otto clocked in at 7:19.033.
Peszek, a 27-year-old Michigan native, and Stafford, a 26-year-old Californian, became the seventh and eighth rowers out of the Oklahoma City National High Performance Center to qualify for the Olympic competition, which starts July 28. In the last month, the lightweight four of Robin Prendes, Nick LaCava, Will Newell and Anthony Fahden won an Olympic Qualification Regatta. Adaptive rowers Emma Preuschl and Andrew Johnson qualified for the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. The Paralympics begin Aug. 31.