Sam Briggs did not disappoint her fans when the C2s started hissing for the final women’s heat.
Pulling an almost robotic 24 strokes per minute, Briggs was beaten off the rower only by 2008 Olympian Oxana Slivenko of Russia. Slivenko hopped off the erg by about 3:40, with Briggs only seconds behind. But when Slivenko broke on the thrusters, Briggs did not. In fact, Briggs didn’t break on the pull-ups either, smoothly pulling 30 butterfly reps before sprinting to the finish mat in a blazing time of 6:05.
Slivenko’s slide continued as other athletes passed her, including Caroline Fryklund of Sweden and Kristin Holte of Norway. Fryklund’s 6:24 was good enough for second place, and Holte’s 6:31 gave her third.
One of the beauties of Jackie is that men and women perform the same amount of work, and Briggs’ time would have put her ahead of 12 individual men. In total, nine women finished ahead of Stefano Italiano, whose 7:03 marked the bottom of the men’s standings.
After the event, Briggs was happy with her win but knows she’s not in for a smooth ride to the Games—even if Thorisdottir is out of the picture.
“I can’t take it easy,” she said. “I have to go all out.”
Ever the competitor, Briggs wished Iceland Annie was strapped into the rower next to her.
“I’d love to compete with her … . It’s just a shame that last year I couldn’t compete and she had to do it without me,” Briggs said.
She added: “I competed in 2010 and 2011. To miss out a year when you see all your friends … . You want to be there,” she explained. “It’s great to come back and prove that I’m fit enough to be back.”
Thuridur Erla Helgadottir was fourth, and while she hit a PR, she missed her goal of 6:30 by 3 seconds.
“I got a couple of no-reps on the pull-ups,” she said.
Read more about Event 1 at the Europe Regional here.