Felice Mueller and Stanford grad Grace Luczak helped set the tone for the U.S. rowers on Monday, as the duo won their heat of the women's pair Monday at the Olympic Rowing Course on Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas in Rio de Janeiro.
Rowing was scheduled to start Sunday, but windy conditions postponed the opening races.
Luczak and Mueller won their heat in 7:05.14. Spain finished second in 7:12.00. The pair advance to Wednesday's semifinal round.
“I think our strength as a crew is that we are able to stay really internal no matter what,
and today was just about having a good solid piece and learning about the course and the conditions," Luczak said. “I think we did that."
The women's eight, featuring Luczak's former Stanford teammate Eleanor Logan, advanced directly to the final.
“This is an amazing group of women. I feel lucky every day to be in this boat, and I'm just trying to enjoy each moment," Logan said. “Right now, we are just focused on the
final, and I don't think about the past, just focusing on the moment."
The U.S. eight is the two-time defending Olympic champion and comes into competition with 10 consecutive Olympic and world titles, a streak that started in 2006.
The men's pair, with Menlo-Atherton grad Seth Weil, qualified for the semifinal round on Wednesday.
“If you want to win a medal, you've got to be able to win a semi, so that's what we are looking forward to doing on Wednesday," Weil told USRowing. “It's time to step up and really throw down. It's good to advance. It certainly wasn't our best piece, but we just have to step it up on Wednesday and see what we are made of."
The men's eight, with Cardinal grad Austin Hack, will race in the repechage on Tuesday.
“The Olympics is a different level of pressure for sure," Hack said. “Obviously, we have a bunch of guys in the boat that are new to the Olympics, but I thought it was a decent first effort, and we will continue to try to make improvements throughout the week."