PHOTO AND STORY BY USROWING
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Five crews earned spots on the 2023 U.S. Beach Sprint National Team Friday as racing concluded at the 2023 USRowing Beach Sprint National Team Trials at Belmont Veteran’s Memorial Pier in Long Beach, Calif.
The winners earned the right to race at the 2023 World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals scheduled for September 29 – October 1 in Barletta, Italy.
In the final of the junior men’s double sculls, Next Level Rowing’s Aidan Humbert and Luke Eward earned spots on the Beach Sprints National Team thanks to a 10-second victory over Unity Boat Club’s Caden Coleman and Isaiah Brooks. Next Level’s boat won the time trial by nearly 20 seconds before coming back to win the final in a 2:28.0. Coleman and Brooks finished in a 2:38.3.
“It was really exciting because my pair partner, Luke, was the one who was initially invited, and he was scrambling to find someone to go with him. I was not going to miss out on this opportunity,” Humber said. “I realized this is the way to make rowing fun. It’s a lot more fun than flat water, and it’s a way to make the sport grow. I really enjoy doing it even when it is stressful. It was definitely scary. The entry – I got my foot leg caught in the oar – and it was so scary seeing them pull ahead. Having that comfort knowing that my bow seat knew what he was doing, it gave me the confidence that I needed to just pull as hard as I could.”
In the final of the junior mixed double sculls, Next Level Rowing’s Annalie Duncomb and Malachi Anderson defeated Palm River Training Center’s Britt Wotovich and Noah Rodger by 10.5 seconds to win the final in a 2:22.8. Duncomb and Anderson won the time trial by more than eight seconds before going on to win the final. Anderson made his second Beach Sprint National Team yesterday when he won the junior men’s solo event, while Duncomb also made her second team. Duncomb won bronze in the junior women’s double sculls with Annelise Hahl at last year’s World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals.
“We were really excited about this one,” Duncomb said about the win in the mixed double. “We were really hoping for a good finish this year. We row really well together, so we were really excited to come here and give it another shot. I’m super excited. It’s my favorite thing in the whole world. Rowing is my life, but Beach Sprints is the most fun thing ever. I’m so excited to be going to Italy, especially surrounded by people I’ve become so close with.”
Duncomb came back just over an hour later to win the junior women’s double sculls with Hahl. Racing uncontested, the duo clocked a 2:36.8 to earn a trip to Italy. Hahl had already qualified for the team yesterday when she won the junior women’s solo event.
“We row really we together in the double, and we’re feeling really good about going to Italy in it,” Duncomb said. “I think it’s a really, really fast double, and we have a good shot at doing well there. We felt really good about it last year, and hopefully, we can place even better there this year.”
Next Level Rowing’s Christine Cavallo and Kory Rogers won the final of the open mixed double sculls by just under four seconds over teammates Cassidy Norton and Cameron Kumagai. Cavallo and Rogers finished with a time of 2:24.6. The duo posted the fastest time of the time trial by nearly 10 seconds and then defeated Brooke Downes and Mason Nothaft by more than 18 seconds in the semifinal. Cavallo won the open women’s solo event yesterday.
“Christine and I match up perfectly,” Rogers said. “I mean, the harmony is there. We just show up on race day, and it comes together perfectly. Full trust in each other, and everything is executed perfectly.”
Rogers came back 45 minutes later to stroke the winning open mixed quadruple sculls with coxswain. Rogers teamed up with coxswain Coral Kasden, Jeni Sorli, Alexa McAuliffe, and Christopher Bak to win the final by a little over six seconds. The crew won the time trial by just over three seconds before coming back to win the final in a 2:07.7 thanks to a strong turn and back half of the race.
“Peter (Choi) was so quick to the water, so I think that is all I was really thinking about,” Kasden said. “They had a half-seat on us until that buoy, but our boat just nailed that turn. Once we turned and got straight back to the beach, we just hauled it. It was all watts. I love the fact that a coxswain gets to be an athlete. I’ve been watching everybody do workouts, get sweaty, and I just have to sit there, so it’s cool to actually be part of that.”
Rogers, Sorli, and Bak were part of the bronze medal mixed quadruple sculls crew at the 2022 World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals.
Beach Sprint racing is contested in a run, row, run combination over a 250-meter, out-and-back buoyed course and uses a time trial and knock-out progression system.
Complete results are available on HereNow.com. Click here for photos throughout the event. Click here for more event information on the event.