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US Women's Eight Wins Gold, Three Others Medal on Sunday at the 2010 World Rowing Under 23 Championships
July 26, 2010
source: Brett Johnson, USRowing

The U.S. women's eight won a gold medal, while the men's eight won silver and the women's single sculls and lightweight men's four won bronze, on the final day of competition at the 2010 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Brest, Belarus.

Combined with the three medals won yesterday, the U.S. brought home a total of seven medals at this year's under-23 championships, breaking the previous record of four won in 2002 when the event was still known as the World Under 23 Regatta.

The women's eight of coxswain Ariel Frost (Walnut Creek, Calif.), Taylor Ritzel (Larkspur, Colo.), Grace Luczak (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Emily Regan (Buffalo, N.Y.), Kara Kohler (Clayton, Calif.), Mary Jeghers (San Diego, Calif.), Kerry Simmonds (San Diego, Calif.), Jennifer Cromwell (Bellevue, Wash.) and Olivia Coffey (Watkins Glen, N.Y.) dominated the field in winning gold for the third time in the last five years. The victory also gave the U.S. women's team a gold-medal sweep of the sweep rowing events.

"There was a lot of emotion going into the second 1,000 meters," Frost said. "I made a call for our pair and our four, which had won their respective events yesterday, and talked about raising the spirits even higher and trying to sweep the sweep events. I think they were really responsive to that, and they went with it."

The U.S. sat in second place at the 500-meter mark as four crews were within 0.37 seconds of each other. But, the American crew made its decisive move during the second quarter of the race, building a 1.50-second advantage at the midway point. The U.S. continued to walk away from the field over the final 1,000 meters, pulling away for a 4.51-second victory over New Zealand. The U.S. crossed the finish line in a 6:31.97. New Zealand finished second in a 6:36.48, followed by Canada in a 6:38.16.

"We were a little bit down on New Zealand, Germany and Canada off the start but within reach," Frost said. "We just stayed composed and stayed internal. We got a few seats advantage and just tried to keep the ball rolling. I thought it was a really mature, composed race."

The men's eight of coxswain Zach Vlahos (Piedmont, Calif.), Michael Gennaro (Havertown, Pa.), Nareg Guregian (North Hills, Calif.), Tom Dethlefs (Lawrenceville, N.J.), Ty Otto (Seattle, Wash.), Blaise Didier (San Francisco, Calif.), Rob Munn (Redmond, Wash.), Nick Lucey (San Francisco, Calif.) and Sam Walker (Seattle, Wash.) battled Germany the entire way down the course before coming home with the silver medal. The U.S. trailed the Germans by less than one-tenth of a second at the 500-meter mark before taking a 0.45-second lead at the midway point of the race. However, Germany made a big push just after the 1,000-meter mark to grab a two-second lead going into the final 500 meters. Germany crossed the finish line with a time of 5:44.78, with the U.S. finishing in a 5:47.48. Great Britain took the bronze medal in a 5:49.75.

"We had a really aggressive start," Guregian said. "We started out just as we wanted to. We executed exactly as we wanted to. We had a good sprint, and we came up with silver. I'm really proud to get a medal for our country. Silver is great. We wanted the gold, but Germany beat us, and they deserved (to win) it."

In the final of the women's single sculls, Lindsay Meyer (Seattle, Wash.) came from behind to win the bronze medal in a 7:55.04. Meyer sat in sixth position after the first quarter of the race before moving up to fourth as the scullers passed the 1,000-meter mark. The Stanford junior then rowed through Norway's Tale Gjoertz to move into the bronze-medal position. Meyer, who won gold in the women's quadruple sculls at the 2007 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, tried to chase down Estonia's Kaisa Pajusalu in the final 500 meters but came up just short, missing silver by 0.57 seconds. Lithuania's Donata Vistartaite grabbed the early lead and took command of the race during the second 500 meters, rowing to a 4.32-second victory. Vistartaite finished with a time of 7:50.15, followed by Pajusalu in a 7:54.47. Meyer became the first U.S. single sculler in history to win a medal at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships.

"It was a solid race," Meyer said. "Everybody fought really hard all the way to the finish. I feel so lucky to be up here with these girls. They are incredible. "

The lightweight men's four of Robin Prendes (Miami, Fla.), Ed King (Ironton, Mo.), William Newell (Weston, Mass.) and Austin Meyer (Cohoes, N.Y.) also gave the U.S. its first medal in the event, bringing home the bronze in a 6:24.70. The crew got off the line in second position before Italy and then Great Britain took the lead. The British boat slowly inched ahead during the second half of the race, while the U.S. battled Italy down the stretch for the silver medal, coming up just short at the line. Great Britain won the race in a 6:22.62, with Italy finishing in a 6:23.86.

"We were struggling with the start in the heat and the semi, and we were very aggressive this time around," Prendes said. "It definitely took a toll on us, but I would do it again. It got us into the race and gave us a shot to bring it back at the end."

In the final of the lightweight men's pair, Michael Kerrigan (Charlottesville, Va.) and Christian Klein (Herndon, Va.) finished sixth, the best finish ever for the U.S. in the event. The crew dropped to sixth off the line and was unable to work its way back into medal contention. The Netherlands's duo of Tycho Muda and Vincent Muda ran away with the victory, clocking a 6:52.56 to win by more than 10 seconds. France finished second in a 7:03.11, followed by Germany in bronze-medal position. The U.S. finished with a time of 7:18.73.

Dane McFadden (Fillmore, Calif.), Nick Jordan (Princeton, N.J.), Alexander Syverson (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Evan Cassidy (Westbury, N.Y.) led from start to finish in winning the B final of the men's four, finishing seventh overall. The crew jumped out to a 1.43-second advantage over Argentina in the first 500 meters and continued to row away from the field through the 1,000-meter mark. The Americans maintained a comfortable advantage the rest of the way down the course, clocking a 6:24.29 to defeat Slovenia by 2.04 seconds.

The lightweight women's double sculls duo of Elizabeth Bates (Tenants Harbor, Maine) and Sarah Keller (Perrysburg, Ohio) finished third in the B final for a ninth-place finish overall and another U.S. best finish. Spain, Ireland and the U.S. battled it out for the top three positions over the final 500 meters, with Spain earning the victory in a 7:43.76. Ireland took second in a 7:44.24, with Bates and Keller finishing in a 7:44.57.

The men's quadruple sculls quartet of Ian Silveira (West Bloomfield, Mich.), Henry Cole (New Canaan, Conn.), Hans Struzyna (Kirkland, Wash.) and Mike Donohue (Malvern, Pa.) finished fourth in the B final for a 10th-place finish overall. The U.S. boat got off the line in sixth position before slowly working its way into fourth place as the crews crossed into the final 500 meters. The Americans then held off a strong charge by Germany. Italy won the race in a 6:08.22. The U.S. finished with a time of 6:13.52.

Lightweight men's single sculler John Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio) finished fifth in his B final for an 11th-place finish overall, the highest ever for a U.S. lightweight single sculler at the under-23 championships. Graves rowed in sixth for the first 1,500 meters before passing The Netherlands' David Ten Napel in the final quarter of the race. Switzerland's Michael Albisser won the B final in a 7:37.95, while Graves finished in a 7:51.04.

Like Graves, men's single sculler Brendan McEwan (New Canaan, Conn.) also finished fifth in the B final for an 11th-place finish overall. McEwan stroked a 7:41.66 to finish 10 seconds behind Russia's Maxim Zhemaldinov, who won the race in a 7:31.29.

Emily Boucher (Lee, N.H.) finished sixth in the B final of the lightweight women's single sculls, taking 12th-place overall. Boucher sat in sixth position the entire way down the course, crossing the finish line in a 9:02.90. Kazakhstan's Aelexandra Opachanova won the B final in an 8:43.66.

The lightweight men's quadruple sculls crew of Steven Cutler (Lutz, Fla.), Erich Schultze (Foxboro, Mass.), John Redos (Mount Bethel, Pa.) and Tobin McGee (Rye, N.Y.) also finished sixth in the B final for 12th overall. The crew clocked a 6:38.14 to finish 7.69 seconds off the pace. Denmark won the race in a 6:30.45.

Henry Moore (Jaffrey, N.H.) and Ben Johnson (Northford, Conn.) finished sixth in the B final of the men's pair for a 12th-place finish overall, clocking a 7:24.24. Hungary won the race in a 7:06.11.

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