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Vesper HP reunited on the Schuylkill
After three months away for training camp in Austin and US Olympic Trials, Vesper HP has been reunited! The group that traveled to Austin and Sarasota has returned to join their teammates and Coach Yohann at home on the Schuylkill.
Sadly, we won't be home long. By the end of March, the athletes who won at US Olympic Trials will depart to Switzerland for acclimatization, the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta (FOQR), and World Cup II. In the coming weeks, these athletes will be logging a lot of miles on the Schuylkill in the company of their teammates and also sorting out the complex logistics of international travel and racing.
Your help and support are critical to our athletes' Olympic ambitions. Mark your calendars for these upcoming international races and scroll down to support the fundraiser for this portion of our journey. As always, please forward this email on to other rowing fans who might want to follow along.
Vesper Head Coach
Help us get to Lucerne
We are exceptionally grateful to all our generous donors who helped us get this far in our Olympic journey. The next stop is Lucerne, Switzerland! Although the lightweight and heavyweight men's doubles are Olympic events, the qualification process is not funded by USRowing or the US Olympic Committee.
We need your help to cover travel, lodging, food, boat rentals, etc. Every donation helps and is deeply appreciated!
Victory for Vesper at Olympic Trials
It's done, the first set of US Rowing Olympic Trials is in the books. It was nerve wrecking day that ended very well for our athletes.
First up were the singles. In the women’s single (W1x) Kara Kohler finished the final ahead of Gevvie Stone and will be representing the USA at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Her spot is already qualified. John Graves performed as expected and won the men’s single (M1x) ahead of Lucas Bellows.
The winning crew in the lightweight women's double (LW2x) and the best percentage of the day was Michelle Sechser with Molly Reckford. A very impressive line up that will have legitimate chances to qualify in Lucerne.
In a very close race Vesper's JP Kirkegaard and OKC's Kevin Cardno beat both Penn AC crews in the men’s double event (M2x), even though Kevin lost his oar just a few strokes in front of the finish line, he didn’t panic and avoided a dramatic showstopper. He calmly got it back and pushed his bow-ball over the finish line first.
In the lightweight men’s event, three out of four boats competing in the final were Vesper crews. It was Zach Heese and Jasper Liu who took it home ahead of Josh Remland and Jimmy McCullough. Alex Twist and Hugh McAdams from Boston narrowly prevented a total Vesper sweep on the podium by edging out Cooper Tuckerman and Chet Bickhart.
We look forward on taking you along for the next chapter in our journey. Stay tuned!
Vesper Boat Club
A great video captured by Eamon Glavin, in Austin, Texas. There is a lot of Vesper's HP team and their Head Coach Peter Mansfeld (at least his voice!).
Here's a link to Eamon's YouTube channel for some more of his wonderful videos:
Kevin Cardno & JP Kirkegard
After we introduced you all the lightweight men double combinations that will race at the upcoming Olympic Trials, it's time to present the big guns. We have an open men’s double (M2x) lineup which is a composite entry with the OKC HP program.
In stroke seat: Kevin Cardno
Kevin Cardno was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. He graduated from The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) in 2017 with a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Shortly after graduating, Kevin joined the Oklahoma City High Performance Training Center to pursue rowing at a higher level.
At UAH, he was able to balance earning his degree while having success on the water, primarily in the single scull. Beginning rowing in 2013 after starting college, Kevin began sculling a year after due to lack of team members. It was the switch to sculling, a few teammates, and support from family and friends that helped Kevin achieve success on the water. Kevin has been rowing with OKCHP for the past three years steadily improving since joining under Coach Reilly Dampeer. He has had success in the Elite category at Club Nationals as well as constant improvement in the US Trials system. Beginning in December of 2020 Kevin was invited to train with Vesper in Austin, Texas after a promising doubles test race with JP. Kevin is excited to race with JP and see the hard work of the past few months come to fruition.
In bow seat: JP Kirkegaard
Vespers old battle horse started rowing in 2004 for Purdue University while earning his BS in Aerospace Engineering. They had some good success winning the Dad Vails V8 and earning D final appearances at IRAs in 2007 and 2008 which was a big deal for a club program. After senior year in 2008, JP stopped rowing but continued working out doing several Olympic distance triathlons in 2008 and 2009. In the fall of 2009, he began coaching the novices at Purdue while earning his Masters degree also in Aero Engineering. JP graduated in 2012 and moved to Cleveland where he slowly began sculling with not much regularity until 2013. In 2014 he moved to Philadelphia to join Vesper's elites and began training full time. In 2017 he had his first National Team appearance in the Men’s Quad M4x at the World Championships in Sarasota.
This combination developed greatly in our training Camp and has been nothing but an outstanding training partner for and with the light men’s doubles. Maybe an outsider by name but definitely a crew that will battle for the spots on the podium.
High Performance Team 2021 Event Calendar
Our Vesper High Performance Team's trial/event calendar is below.
For Team USA Rowing Schedule:
February 22 to 26
May 15 to 17
May 21 to 23
Beach Sprint Trials
July 7 to 11
Prague, Czech Republic
July 16 to 18
World Championship Trials
July 23 to 30
September 24 to 26
World Beach Sprints
October 1 to 3
World Rowing Coastal Championships
October 17 to 24
World Rowing Championships
Zach Heese & Jasper Liu
In our little series about the HP Team we want to introduce you all the young athletes who train at Vesper and what they are training for. This time we have the pleasure to present you another Lightweight Men Double combination that will race at Olympic Trials In Sarasota from February 22nd to 26th.
Zach Heese in stroke seat joined Vesper in the fall of 2018 after he graduated from University of Virginia. At UV he rowed under Coach Frank Biller. In 2018 he rowed the LM 1x at the U23 World Championships. He started rowing in 2012 at Pelham Community Rowing Association. During the time of the quarantine Zach managed to improve his erg numbers significantly. He would have the US Record on 30 minutes for a few weeks (before his team mate Josh Remland would beat this score). To mention are his improvements on the 2000m distance.
Jasper Liu in bow seat started rowing in 2013 as a walk on at the University of Pennsylvania. He joined Vesper after a few seasons at Penn AC. His strong side is his raw strength and anaerobic capacity. He is one of the few lightweight rowers in the world who can produce over 1000 Watts on the erg. Currently he is the World record holder on the 1 Minute distance on the Concept2 rankings. Despite that, he did a tremendous job improving his “weak spots” and increased his 6000m performance significantly.
Both had their first elite National Team appearance together in 2019 where they rowed the LM 4x at the World Championship in Linz, Austria.
Jimmy McCullough & Joshua Remland
In our short series to introduce the HP Team we want to tell you about our second lightweight double that will race at upcoming Olympic Trials in Sarasota.
Jimmy McCullough learned rowing at St. Joes Prep and continued to sharpen his skills at University of Delaware where he was part of a very competitive lightweight roster. He is familiar to Vesper for a long time as he was a family member for many years due to his father Tim McCullough. In 2018 he qualified in the LM 2x for the PanAm Qualifier in Rio, from there he went to race at the PanAm Games in 2019 in Lima just before he graduated from UD. It was a close step for him to join Vespers HP Team in 2019. He will race at OT with his Vesper Team mate:
Joshua Remland is Vespers power house among the lightweight man. During the pandemic he worked so hard on the erg, that he ultimately would break the American Record in the 30 minute category, set a new World Record on the Half Marathon distance, break his PR and stay on the 2000m under 6:10.0. During a fundraiser for PCR he would contribute incredible 200km… which he rowed in the run of one day… in his words: “I just kept doing 20km pieces….”He learned rowing at Brown University on the heavyweight team and joined Vesper in 2019, moving in the midst of winter from San Diego to Philadelphia. I guess that’s all I have to say to state his incredible determination to our sport. This is a name to remember.
Both are still very young, incredibly friendly, humble and eager to improve. Cheer for this combination with Jimmy on stroke seat and Josh in bow.
Chet Bickhart & Cooper Tuckerman
Chet Bickhart began his rowing career at The Haverford School back in 2010. After rowing all four years of high school, he was recruited to continue his career at Lehigh University, where he studied Mechanical Engineering and Finance. Upon graduation, Chet accepted a job in Boston, Massachusetts, and it is there he became a member of Riverside's High Performance Group. After two years of working in Boston, Chet moved back to Philadelphia where he currently lives and works, rowing for Vesper.
He will team up in a double with Cooper Tuckerman.
Cooper is a visitor and the youngster on our team. He is currently enrolled at Dartmouth University to study Biological science as his major. Due to Covid and the cancellation of DU`s lightweight men’s crew program, he took a year off to join our training group. He is not new to Vesper, he was part of our summer camp in 2018, where he could win the Trials for Junior World Championships in the double despite being always a true lightweight. In 2019 he represented the US National Team again at the U23 World Championships in the lightweight men’s quad event (LM4x) where he finished 4th. One of his teammates in 2019 in that boat was Kieran Edwards, who was part of Vesper HP Team back then. Cooper started rowing at Berkshire High School in Massachusetts. He is certainly a very skilled and talented rower who’s name every fan of the lightweight men’s scene should remember.
A bigger part of Vespers HP Team is spending the cold time of year in Austin Texas to prepare for the upcoming Olympic Trials. In a series of small newsletters & post we want to introduce you to the competing teams.
Over the last years we have developed a strong roster, especially on the lightweight men’s side. The lightweight doubles events (LM2x and LW2x) will stay part of the Olympic Program at least until the Olympic Games in 2024 in Paris. But let's focus on this years events first. We had to make a final selection, since the trials are only one month away.
Vesper Head Coach