Princeton resident Lauren Schmetterling to compete for a gold medal on Saturday

SchmetterlingMoorestown native and Princeton resident Lauren Schmetterling will be going for the gold medal with the United States women’s rowing eight team on Saturday as the boat qualified for the final at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The United States team easily won its preliminary heat over the Netherlands, Romania and Australia on Monday morning.

The United States led for the vast majority of the race, passing Romania early on after the Romanians took the early lead. The Americans led by more than six-tenths of a second at the 500-meter mark and their lead only grew as the race continued. The Americans’ lead stretched to nearly 3.5 seconds at the 1,000-meter mark and would grow to more than eight seconds by the end of the race. The United States finished their heat with a time of 6:06.34, advancing them to Saturday’s finals.

Joining the Americans in the finals will be Great Britain. The British won the second heat of the women’s eight, passing New Zealand late to finish with a time of 6:09.52, more than three seconds slower than the United States time from the first heat. The other competitors in the finals will be the winners in the repechage races on Wednesday.

The United States will race for the gold medal on Saturday morning. The women’s eight final is expected to start at approximately 9:04 a.m. Eastern time.