PHILADELPHIA - Former Penn rower Susan Francia, C'04, earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic women's rowing team Friday and will represent her alma mater and country in London, July 28-August 5. Francia won gold in the event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and most recently won gold in the women's eight at the 2011 World Championships in September.
Francia, who joined the Penn women's rowing team as a sophomore walk-on, lettered for the Quakers in 2003 and 2004. In Beijing, the Abington, Pa., native helped the United States to its first Olympic gold in the women's eight since 1984. At the 2011 World Championships in Bled, Slovenia, she aided the U.S. to its sixth straight world title, and at the 2009 World Championships in Poznan, Poland, she was also a double gold medalist (women's eight, women's pair).
"I am so happy for Susan to reach this amazing goal for a second time," women's rowing head coach Mike Lane said. "I know she struggled with injuries all year, and to get in that 8+ is extremely impressive."
As she approaches her second Olympic Games, Francia is the 11th Penn women's rower to make the Olympics. Prior to her appearance in Beijing, the last Quaker to appear in the Olympics was Sarah Garner, who collected a bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney (Australia) Games. This will mark the eighth Olympic Games in which the Penn women's rowing team has had a representative.
"Susan means a great deal to this program," said Coach Lane. "Not only is she a role model and inspiration to our athletes; she is a role model to all women aspiring to make the national team. She is amazing in that she has not forgotten her roots and is extremely supportive of Penn Rowing, coming back multiple times to share her stories and work with our new generation of rowers. I cannot wait to hear the newest stories this fall, and hopefully she will come back with another Olympic gold medal to share."
The rest of the women's eight will consist of coxswain Mary Whipple (Orangevale, Calif.), Caryn Davies (Ithaca, N.Y.), Caroline Lind (Greensboro, N.C.), Eleanor Logan (Boothbay Harbor, Maine), Meghan Musnicki (Naples, N.Y.), Taylor Ritzel (Larkspur, Colo.), Erin Cafaro (Modesto, Calif.), and Esther Lofgren (Newport Beach, Calif.).
Selection for the women's eight and men's and women's quads was determined based on lineup evaluations, national selection regatta results and training camp performance in Princeton, N.J., and Chula Vista, Calif., under U.S. head coaches Tom Terhaar and Tim McLaren.
In total, 12 crews will represent the United States at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. For more information about important USRowing dates, the 2012 Olympic Games selection process and Olympic athlete bios, visit www.usrowing.org.