Rob Munn

Local rowers’ United States boat qualifies for Olympic final on Saturday

Olympic final, here they come.

Olympic final, here they come.

The United States men’s 8 rowing squad, which includes Kirkland resident Hans Struzyna and Rob Munn of Redmond, finished first in the repchange today at the Summer Olympics at Lagoa Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The U.S. needed a top-four finish in the five-boat race to qualify for the final, scheduled at 7:24 a.m. PT on Saturday.

The Americans (5:51.13) led from start to finish and held about a six-seat lead over the second-place Netherlands (5:52.95) at 1,000 meters, according to the University of Washington rowing website.

“We have put in a ton of work to get to this point and to be two days away from the competition is a surreal experience,” Munn said in an email to the Reporter. “Our boat has learned a lot about ourselves over this regatta and we’ll spend the next two days to get it as sharp as possible. I can’t wait to race with my teammates and for the USA.”

Added Struzyna in an email to the Reporter: “It is a great honor to row in the Grand Final of the men’s eight. Since I was a junior rower, I always fantasized about competing in the A final, and now I have that opportunity. We went out today with an intent to improve from our heat, and we did just that. Now it is time to tighten the screw once more and bring our absolute best on Saturday.”

The Netherlands, New Zealand and Poland also qualified for the final, joining Great Britain and Germany, which won their heats earlier in the week.

Both Munn and Struzyna got their start with the Sammamish Rowing Association and starred at the University of Washington.

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