LINZ, Austria - The U.S. lightweight men's eight won gold to highlight the final day of competition at the 2008 FISA World Rowing Senior and Junior Championships, while the women's four took silver and the lightweight women's quadruple sculls won bronze.
Coxswain Ned DelGuercio (Media, Pa.), Matt Muffelman (Mathews, Va.), Tom Paradiso (Blue Bell, Pa.), Will Daly (Vail, Colo.), Patrick Todd (Cincinnati, Ohio), Mike Altman (Marin County, Calif.), Colin Farrell (Oaklyn, N.J.), Andrew Bolton (Old Lyme, Conn.) and Simon Carcagno (Pennington, N.J.) made a move at the halfway point to move up from the third-place position, overtaking the defending world champion crew from The Netherlands. The U.S. finished in a strong sprint to finish first in a 5:50.29, followed by Germany in a 5:51.69. The Netherlands fell to third place for the bronze medal, clocking a 5:52.37, with Italy crossing fourth in a 5:53.46. Poland finished fifth in a 5:55.11 and Canada crossed sixth in a 5:56.55.
"It was awesome," said Muffelman. "We owe a lot of thanks to our coach John Parker for believing in us."
DelGuercio, Bolton, Carcagno, Daly, Farrell, Paradiso and Todd were members of the 2007 World Championships Team. Paradiso, Daly, Todd and Altman will compete in the 2008 Olympic lightweight four in Beijing, while Carcagno will serve as an alternate to the team.
In the women's four, Esther Lofgren (Newport Beach, Calif.), Sarah Trowbridge (Guilford, Conn.), Stesha Carle (Long Beach, Calif.) and Karen Colwell (Pawcatuck, Conn.) won silver after fighting back from fourth position at the 500-meter mark, to clock a 6:43.56. Belarus led the entire length of the course to finish first in a 6:39.89. After a protest in the finish of the race, the Russian crew was excluded and Denmark was awarded the bronze medal, finishing with a time of 6:44.69. Italy crossed fourth in a 6:46.85, followed by Canada in a 6:50.99.
"It was the best race we've had up until now," said Lofgren. "The last 500 meters, we just found the right gear. We are very, very happy."
Lofgren served as an alternate at last year's championships and won the eight at the 2008 FISA World Cup stop in Lucerne, while Trowbridge competed on the 2007 Pan American Games Team. The U.S. won gold in the event at last year's championships.
Julie Nichols (Livermore, Calif.) missed the medal stand by just 0.03 seconds, finishing fourth in the final of the lightweight women's single. The six-time national team member held the lead for the first 1,000 meters, but slipped back into third by the 1,500-meter mark. Croatia's Mirna Rajle Brodanac squeezed ahead to cross the line barely a bow ball in front of the U.S. sculler for the bronze medal. Switzerland's Pamela Weisshaupt won gold in a 7:43.26, with Ireland's Sinead Jennings crossing second for the silver medal in a 7:43.81. Croatia clocked a 7:47.15, with Nichols in a 7:47.18. Spain finished fifth, followed by Canada. The U.S. won silver in the event at last year's championships.
The lightweight women's quadruple sculls crew of Libby Peters (New Hartford, N.Y.), Wendy Tripician (Needham, Mass.), Rebecca Smith (Torrington, Conn.) and Hannah Moore (Niskayuna, N.Y.) held onto third place for the bronze medal. The U.S. crew was out in front through the middle 1,000 meters of the course, but couldn't keep up with the charge of defending-champion Australia in the final stretch. Australia clocked a 6:36.41 for the gold medal, with Poland second in a 6:39.38 for silver. The U.S. crossed in a 6:40.77, with Great Britain in a 6:41.56. Germany and Denmark followed in fifth and sixth, respectively. Moore was a member of the crew that finished fourth in the event at last year's championships, while Tripician won bronze in the lightweight double sculls in 2002.
In the lightweight men's quadruple sculls, Andrew Quinn (Honeoye Falls, N.Y.), Michael Aller (Santa Barbara, Calif.), Shane Madden (Ambler, Pa.) and Gavin Frase (Orinda, Calif.) finished sixth in the final, crossing in a 6:07.15. Although the U.S. crew had a blistering start out of the starting blocks, it couldn't maintain its speed going into the final stretch. The defending world champions from Italy won gold in a 5:57.30, with France close behind for the silver medal in a 5:57.56. Germany won bronze with a time of 5:59.50, followed by the Czech Republic in fourth and Turkey in fifth. The U.S. clocked a 6:07.15. Frase was a member of the lightweight eight that finished fifth at last year's championships.
The men's pair with coxswain of Vincent Puma (Bronx, N.Y.), Ben Harrison (Dedham, Mass.) and Ted Farwell (Madison, Wis.) finished third in the B final, placing ninth overall. After finishing fourth in the semifinal behind Ukraine and missing a spot in the final by just 0.29 seconds, the U.S. crew was first off the start line in today's race. Hungary made a move at the 1,000-meter mark to bring them out front, while the U.S. and Serbia battled it out over the last half of the course. Hungary won the race in a 7:14.62, with Serbia crossing second 0.15 seconds ahead of the U.S. in a 7:16.08. The U.S. clocked a 7:16.23, followed by Slovenia, Croatia and Ireland.
"It wasn't the result we wanted, but it was a good race," said Puma, who finished fourth in the event at the 2006 FISA World Rowing Championships.
Racing in the lightweight men's pair, Alex Rothmeier (Edina, Minn.) and John Nichols (Palo Alto, Calif.) finished in fifth, for 11th place overall. Switzerland's duo of Simon Niepmann and Mario Gyr, which led for the first half of the race, won in a 6:46.00, with Denmark second in a 6:47.59. Ireland made a strong push in the last 500 meters, but fell back to third place, finishing in a 6:49.11. New Zealand clocked a 6:50.92, with the U.S. crew 0.78 seconds behind in a 6:51.70, followed by Great Britain.
In the lightweight men's single sculls, Rob Zechmann (Lincoln, Neb.) finished third in the D final for 21st place overall. Finland's Matti Jaeaeskelaeinen, the youngest sculler in the event, sprinted through Hungary's Gergely Kitka in the last 200 meters for the win, clocking a 7:21.20. Hungary crossed second in a 7:23.59. The U.S. sculler held third position the entire length of the course to finish in a 7:28.42, with Tunisia crossing fourth. The U.S. finished sixth in the event at last year's championships.
In total, over 900 competitors from 55 nations competed in this week's combined championships. Germany led the medal standings, with a total of fourteen senior and junior medals. The 2009 FISA World Rowing Championships will be held August 23-30 in a Poznan, Poland, while the 2009 FISA World Rowing Junior Championships will be held August 5-8 in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France.