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Newlin to row in London games
Riverton High School graduate Brett Newlin has qualified for his second straight Olympics for the United States. He'll crew the eight-man boat.

Brett Newlin to row for the USA in London games

Jul 8, 2012 - By Bruce Tippets, Sports Editor

The dream for an Olympic medal is still alive for Brett Newlin.

The Riverton High School and University of Washington graduate is preparing for his second straight Olympics this month after his eight-man rowing boat qualified in May at the world championships.

Newlin will leave July 19 to begin his stay in the 2012 London Olympics.

Newlin started his rowing career in 2000 while he was at Michigan State University.

"It's really neat," said Newlin on Thursday afternoon in a phone interview. "The first time was a great experience, but I didn't come home with a medal. I'm happy that I get to have a second chance to go back. I know what to expect this time."

Newlin's four-man boat finished ninth at the 2008 Olympic Games. He's in the bigger boat this time.

"It would be huge to win a medal," Newlin said.

"If would be a perfect way to cap off my career."

The opening ceremonies for the Olympics are July 27. Newlin's boat competes July 28 and July 30. The finals for the eight-man crews are Aug. 1.

"We have a good training program right now," Newlin said. "We are going to peak at the right time. If we go over there right now that would kind of screw up the training schedule. We are ready for it when it comes. Until then, we are working hard to get better.

We are excited to show the world what we can do."

Newlin is believed to be the only athlete from Wyoming to represent the United States in the games in London.

"I'm honored to represent Wyoming," Newlin said. "I always claim that Wyoming is my home state and my hometown is Riverton. I move around a lot, but Riverton is where I spent most of my life."

The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Newlin lives in Chula Vista, Calif., when he is not traveling for training or competition.

No Olympics for sister

Newlin's sister, former Riverton High School basketball star and Stanford University standout Kristen Newlin, also had been expected to compete in the London Olympics.

She has played for the Turkish National Team for the past two years under special rules permitting a certain number of Americans to take citizenship of a foreign nation to compete in sports.

Last year she starred for Turkey in a stirring run at the European championships that established Turkey as a likely Olympic qualifier.

Late in the qualifying process this year, however, Newlin was replaced on the Turkish National Team by a WNBA player and will not play in London.

She will return to Turkey in the fall and play for her Fenerbache team in the European basketball league, where she has been an all-star.

Qualifying

"It was a little more difficult this time," said Brett Newlin about earning a spot for the Olympics.

Newlin said his eight-man boat was forced to win a last-chance qualification race in May in Switzerland to make the Olympic field.

"There was a lot of pressure," Newlin said. "The United States men's eight have never failed to qualify for the entire modern Olympics," he said.

Newlin's boat ended up winning the race by four seconds to secure his spot for London. .

"We put a pretty good stamp that we deserved to go," Newlin said.

New Zealand was second in the must-win race, and France finished third.

"We got a good lead about halfway through the race," Newlin said.

"They kept pushing us. We had to stay on our toes."

In the boat

Newlin said his position in the eight-man boat is the stroke seat.

"I cross the finish line last," Newlin said.

Newlin likes the position.

"The responsibility of that seat is to set the rhythm," Newlin said. "I have to make sure that I set a pace that is easy to follow."

The race for Newlin's boat is 2,000 meters (1.4 miles).

"The hardest that I have ever worked in my life is during these races," he said.

Newlin said it takes around 5 minutes 20 seconds to complete the race.

"By the end of the race you want to throw up," Newlin said. "You spend everything by that last stroke."

The crew

"Right now, we have had the same lineup the last couple of weeks," Newlin said. "It has been working well. As long as it works well then we will probably stick with it."

Newlin believes the boat has good mixture of experience and youth.

"Besides me, there are two other guys that have gone to the Olympics before," he said. "They rode in the same boat as me. I have a lot of chemistry with those guys. The new guys are really motivated."

Germany has won the last three world championship races in eight-man rowing.

"Germany is the boat to beat," Newlin said.

"After that it could be a handful of others."

Newlin mentioned Great Britain, Australia, Netherlands and Poland as contenders for a medal.

"They are all in a close pack," Newlin said.

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