Cambridge. (March 23) -- MIT openweight crew alum Veronica Toro '16 (San Juan, Puerto Rico) recently qualified for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, which are scheduled to begin on July 23 after being delayed a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Toro is the first women's Olympic rower from Puerto Rico.
Toro qualified for the Olympics at the Continental Qualification Regatta that was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as she placed fifth in the W1X Final in a time of 8:17.93. She advanced into the A final after finishing second in her heat in a time of 7:58.95.
At MIT, Toro graduated with a degree in biological engineering and was a three-time Academic All-Patriot League selection, a 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-District At-Large performer and earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
"If there's a will, and it's Vero's, there's a way," said Holly Metcalf, MIT women's openweight crew head coach. "As a freshman at MIT, the explorer in her found rowing, a sport she had never done before, and three years later she was a part of the Puerto Rico National Team program. She was accepted to Stanford Medical School and I'm proud that she's pursuing both medical school and the Olympics as both teach endurance, commitment and empathy and personal growth in ways that are synergistic. Her energy, drive and need to give of herself pushes her openweight teammates to be more than rowers - to become selfless, powerful, visionary women."
In addition to competing at the event in Brazil, Toro also took part in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida, where she placed 20th out of 35 boats in the 1X Time Trial in a time of 7:34.30 on February 22.
"Veronica was a great athlete, teammate, leader, and even better person," said Hank Zimmerman, MIT women's openweight crew novice coach. "She continues to be a great member of our community and set a wonderful example of the academic and athletic possibilities here for the young women on the team. It is an honor to have coached and gotten to know Veronica over the past six years and I can't wait to watch her races this summer!"
In addition to Toro competing at the U.S. Trials, women's lightweight crew alum Elizabeth Martin '18 (Lexington, Mass.) advanced to the U.S. Trials semifinal of the LW2x, where she placed third out of four in that heat in a time of 7:53.90.
Rowing for the Riverside Boat Club, Martin finished fifth in the Time Trial in 6:56.02, followed by a second-place finish in Heat 1 to advance. In that heat, Martin's boat crossed in 8:04.43 to finish over 14 seconds ahead of third as she was just 1.9 seconds off of first through 500m.
Martin was a team captain at MIT during her senior year who graduated with a degree in computer science and molecular biology. She was also a two-time CRCA National Scholar-Athlete, a two-time member of the IRA All-Academic Team and a four-time participant in the IRA National Championship.