Andrew Campbell, Jr. racing Sunday in his borrowed boat
Andrew Campbell, Jr. is not an unknown person in the world of international rowing.
Granted, he hasn't raced since rowing in the light men's double in the Olympic final in Rio, but he has been on the World Rowing circuit long enough to assume that his equipment needs would be taken care of by the boat manufacturer of his choice.
But, oversights and mistakes happen to everyone, and it did to Campbell last week. When he and his coach, Linda Muri, showed up on the venue of the 2018 World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, they found that his lightweight single had been left off of the trailer that was headed to Bulgaria from the Empacher boat factory in Germany.
"Pretty much as soon as I got here, Linda and I came down to the course and discovered that my single had been left at the factory in Germany," he said. "Just an oversight loading the trailer, and after a few brief moments of panic we put together that the Irish were coming directly from a training camp, and they're good friends of ours from past Head of the Charles Regattas."
It's sort of a Cambridge Boat Club, Boston Rowing Federation, Irish team mutual fan club that includes women's single sculler Sanita Puspure, Gary and Paul O'Donovan, Olympic silver medalist Gevvie Stone, and Campbell.
So, Campbell texted Stone, who called Puspure, and the fix was in. "Linda and I texted Gevvie, and she called Sanita, who just happened to be standing next to Paul, who graciously offered up his single to my cause. He's rowing the double here and didn't need a single, but since they were coming here from training camp, he had it available.
"It really speaks to the quality of the community and what great men and women are on that Irish team. It's a great boat, super stiff, exactly the right mold and everything, so it's feeling pretty good."
The result was a successful first heat for Campbell, who finished second Sunday in the first race of the opening day of the regatta and qualified to advance to the semifinal Thursday.
Campbell, who has not raced since Rio 2016, and has not raced the lightweight single since the 2014 World Rowing Championships, went into the regatta unseeded and was immediately placed in a challenging situation, racing the considered favorite, Michael Schmid of Switzerland.
Rowing in a stiff tail wind in conditions that were best described as challenging, Campbell fell into third place in the opening 500-meters, trailing both Schmid and Hungary's Peter Galambos, who was also seeded going into the event.
Campbell passed Galambos in the second quarter and then made contact with Schmid in the final 500-meters before holding second and taking the advancing into the semifinal from the heat.
"I don't think I've ever been seeded in the lightweight single," Campbell said. "I've never raced a World Cup in the event. So this is not unusual; I've been in some really tough draws in my time," said Campbell who has raced won a bronze medal in Plovdiv in the Senior World Championships in 2012.
"I feel like I rowed well," Campbell said. "I haven't raced that much in the last two years, so this is kind of a good opportunity to start putting the pieces back together."