SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — Two athletes who have been training in Sarasota are hoping to row their way to gold in the Summer Olympics.
On Thursday, Michelle Sechser and Molly Reckford launched for a final time from the docks at Nathan Benderson Park.
“It’s finally starting to set in as we’re getting logistics, flights are booked, bags are packed and we’re starting to head west to Tokyo,” said Sechser. “It’s really finally hitting me that this is, this is happening, we’re going to the Olympics.”
The duo punched their tickets to Tokyo after competing in the trials in Lucerne, Switzerland.
They will compete in the Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls in the Olympics.
For Reckford, Tampa Bay has been a home away from home. She’s been racing with Sarasota Crew for several years.
“I love it here. You got the wind, you got the humidity, you got the sun. It’s perfect for training for Tokyo, and I’m so glad that this awesome, supportive community is here to slingshot us into the Olympics,” said Reckford.
8 On Your Side hit the waters as the pair set out on their final training before packing up and leaving the bay area.
“It’s sort of relieving that it’s finally almost here, it’s going to happen,” said Reckford.
The pair has been training in some of the toughest conditions, hoping to earn a spot on the podium.
“USA has not made the top six in the past 21 years,” said Sechser, “so our goal is to be the first crew in a couple decades to crack that number.”
Molly and Michelle will make stops in California and Hawaii before heading to Tokyo in July.