Emily Morley will be the first rower to compete in the Olympics for the Bahamas. Emily is new to the international racing scene and made quite an impression at the Olympic Qualification Regatta in Chile, March 22-24. People were really routing for her, organizers and officials. She was definitely noticed as a newcomer to be reckoned with.
Emily is currently a senior co-captain on the Ithaca College rowing team. In addition to rowing in fours and eights she was also part of the Varsity Sculling program at Ithaca for two years. Under the guidance of Coach Beth Greene, Emily refined her sculling skills to the point where she could race at the level needed to qualify for the Olympics. Following the last race of the sculling season in November, the conversation of racing at the Qualification Regatta in March was started. Emily made the commitment to compete for a spot in the Olympics in November of 2015. Training started soon after, knowing that 3 months was just enough time to prepare for this race. Emily started double training sessions and went home to Nassau to train on Lake Cunningham while on College break. Coach Becky Robinson travelled to the Bahamas for a week to work with Emily and prepare her for racing in Chile.
Coach Robinson also accompanied Emily to Chile for the qualification regatta. Her hardest race mentally was the heat, where she faced the four top finalists. She had a few moments of self-doubt, but rebounded after looking at the other heat times. She went into the rep and pulled her fastest time and qualified into the AB semi-final. This was the race where she settled in and really started to feel in control of her performance. We just kept focusing on PR’s and staying in the moment. She finished fifth in the Semifinal putting her in the B final. While we knew that all of the A finalists would qualify for Rio, we also knew that the top finishers in the B final would have a chance as well. Emily raced hard in the final finishing in 4th, 4 seconds behind Peru and 10th overall. She rowed her fastest flat water time at 8 minutes and 3 sec.
From that Qualification Regatta, 3 lightweight doubles and 6 open singles would qualify for the Olympics. The interesting part was that no country could qualify in both events. Three countries, Brazil, Mexico and Chile had 10 days to choose if they were going to send the single or the double. Based on Emily’s Stellar performance in Chile and the fact that she rowed a personal best each time she went on the water, Romell Knowles, president of the Bahamas Olympic Committee requested a universal spot for Emily at the 2016 Rio Olympics. FISA supported that request and Emily was offered an invitation on April 7th to represent the Bahamas and compete in the women’s single.