2017 World Rowing Under-23 Championships Race Report

Credit: Peter Spurrier/Intersport

While there’s some debate whether success at under-23 level correlates to achievement in the senior ranks, few could argue that the future for Canadian and American rowing doesn’t look a little brighter following July’s World Rowing Under-23 Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Both nations put up historic performances on the Plovdiv regatta course, with Canada taking gold in the under-23 men’s single and women’s eight and USRowing bagging a total five medals, including silver in the women’s big boat and lightweight men’s four and bronze in the women’s single. For the latter two, the podium showings were the first for U.S. crews for those events in six years. In the final of the women’s eight, Canada and the U.S were locked in a tight battled until the race’s midpoint, when Canada capitalized on a reported seat issue in the American boat and cruised to an open-water victory. Third place went to Russia. “Everything went to plan,” said Canadian Julia Vander Hoeven. “We trusted our coxswain and we really just lived the race.” Along with Vander Hoeven, the Canadian women’s eight comprised Morgan Rosts, Antonia Frappell, Madison Mailey, Sydney Payne, Karen Lefsrud, Stephanie Grauer, Caileigh Filmer, and Laura Court.” In the men’s under-23 single, Trevor Jones outlasted the entire field to claim gold, ahead of the South African sculler and Poland. “I stuck with the pack off the start,” recounted Jones. “Then I attacked in the middle thousand and just emptied the tank. It was a good race.” Canada’s other A final appearances in Plovdiv came in the lightweight events, where Patrick Keane and Aaron Lattimer and Jennifer Casson and Larissa Werbicki finished fourth and sixth respectively in the lightweight doubles. For the U.S. women’s eight, their silver medal in Bulgaria marked the 12th consecutive podium appearance in that event for an American entry. The crew consisted of Leigh Warner, Elise Beuke, Maddie Wanamaker, Mariam Soufi, Ellen Heile, Dana Moffat, Emily Froehlich, Clarie Collins, and Jessica Thoennes. In the light four, meanwhile, the U.S. entry of Vincent LaMonte, Kyle James, Austin Treubert, and Jack Gleim proved the value of a fast finish. The crew sat in fourth for the first half of the race before mounting a furious sprint and overtaking Indonesia, France, and Germany to earn the first American silver in the event in six years, behind the gold-medal winners from Italy. “At the halfway mark we made our usual commitment,” said James. “Going into the last 600 meters we brought it up every 200 meters and just took control.” U.S. women’s single sculler also displayed similar poise and patience in her final. Emily Kallfelz, who is coached by her father Andrew Kallfelz, fought from the back of the pack to claim bronze and the first podium showing for an American in the event since 2010. Sweden was first across the line in Bulgaria, with Switzerland finishing second. Also earning under-23 bronze were the U.S. women’s pair of Kendall Brewer and Brooke Pierson, and the men’s coxed four made up of Reilly Milne, Ben Davison, Arne Landboe, Evan Olson, and Tennyson Federspiel. The University of Washington crew committed to a gutsy race plan in the final, fighting their way to a lead in the first half of the race. “We knew that in international races people go out very hard. We’ve mainly done collegiate [racing], so our goal was to go out fast and match the pace. We achieved that, but we couldn’t quite keep up in the second half,” said Landboe, whose crew fell to Italy, the eventual winners, and Great Britain. In the women’s pair, Brewer and Pierson laid down a similar effort, locked in a stroke-for-stroke battle with Chile for much of the race. A push by Australia in the race’s last quarter bumped the Americans out silver to establish the finishing order, with the Chileans taking gold. “The Australians really pushed us in the end, but it was an amazing race to be a part of.” In other A final action, the U.S. men’s pair of Liam Corrigan and Alexander Richards and women’s double of Cicely Madden and Elizabeth Sharis finished the regatta just one spot removed from the medals. Romania, France, and Serbia claimed the top three spots in the men’s pair, while Belarus, Italy, and Greece earned the women’s double hardware. The U.S. men’s eight also had a near miss of the medal stand, finishing three seconds behind the bronze medalists from Great Britain. The Netherlands took first, with Romania coming in second overall.