Coral Park alum, ‘Ivy League 4’ rowing team start slow at Olympics

Robin Prendes, a Miami Coral Park High alum, graduated from Princeton and is rowing at the London Olympics with a crew that includes rowers from Harvard, Dartmouth and Columbia.

They call themselves “The Ivy League 4,” and they were wise enough to realize that a slow start Saturday in the lightweight fours’ heat was no reason for panic.

The rowing competition features a consolation repechage round, which is for the fastest boats that failed to qualify in the opening heat. After missing the qualifying mark Saturday, the U.S. crew blew past the competition Sunday and earned a spot in Tuesday’s semifinal at the Eton Dorney race course.

The United States won in 6 minutes .86 seconds, Italy was second in 6:01.66 and Czech Republic was third in 6:02.23.

“You never want to row an extra race, but we weren’t in the game [Saturday], so it is a big learning process for us,” said Prendes, 23, who was born in Matanzas, Cuba, moved to Miami as a youth and learned to row from a Peruvian neighbor and former rower who owned a few boats on a West Miami lake. “We are a young team, and Saturday was a fluke. We just got a slow start.”

Prendes and his teammates live and train in Oklahoma City.

The other rowers in the boat are Nick LaCava (Columbia), William Newell (Harvard) and Anthony Fahden (Dartmouth).

If they advance from the semifinal, the final is Thursday.

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