STORY COURTESY USROWING | PHOTO BY LISA WORTHY
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The U.S. men’s eight and women’s single sculls won their repechages, while two other crews advanced on Friday at the 2023 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The men’s eight moved on to Sunday’s finals, while the women’s single sculls, men’s quadruple sculls, and lightweight women’s double sculls advanced to the semifinals.
The men’s eight of coxswain Jack DiGiovanni (Pittsford, N.Y./Brown University), Josh Golbus (Plymouth, Minn./Brown University), Ian Burnett (Arlington, Mass./Brown University), Wilson Morton (Summit, N.J./University of California, Berkeley), Erik Spinka (Southport, Conn./Princeton University), Joseph Kiely (Hebron, Ky./University of Notre Dame), Julian Thomas (New Hope, Pa./Dartmouth College), Nick Taylor (Chicago, Ill./Princeton University), and Jacob Hudgins (Andover, Mass./Dartmouth College) won its repechage in easy fashion to advance to Sunday’s final. The Americans, who finished third in their heat, took a slight lead on Romania in the first 500 meters and then methodically pulled away from the field to win the race by more than four seconds. The U.S. crossed the finish line in a time of 5:38.64, with Romania finishing second, 4.19 seconds behind in a 5:42.83. Romania earned the other qualifying spot in the final. Italy finished third.
“It was good. The goal was to win the rep and advance to the final, so that’s exactly what we did,” DiGiovanni said. “We’re happy from a results standpoint. At this point, a lot of our preparation is done. We’ve had a lot of preparation this whole summer. Right now, it’s about can we rest, can we recover. We’ll get one more good day of training in and just try to keep taking steps forward in these last 48 hours.”
After finishing third in her heat, women’s single sculler Katelin Gildersleeve (Dallas, Texas/Stanford University/Oklahoma City High Performance Center) came back to win her repechage, advancing to tomorrow’s semifinals. Gildersleeve took command of the race off the start and continued to move away from the field through the middle 1,000 meters. Gildersleeve then cruised to the finish, winning with a time of 7:55.49. Slovenia’s Jana Dremelj finished second in a 7:58.63, also advancing to the semifinals. Austria’s Emma Gutsjahr finished third.
“I was just trying to build on the race I had yesterday and really find my base,” Gildersleeve said. “I don’t think I ever really settled as well as I was hoping to yesterday; so today, I really focused on the warm-up, finding that shift down to base, and getting on the legs. That’s what my overarching theme was for the race today. Recovery is the name of the game now with having the rep underneath me and just trying to get my legs ready to build on each race and take even better strokes tomorrow. Stay composed but be ready to sprint because I am sure it’s going to be quite a competitive one tomorrow.”
In the men’s quadruple sculls, James Patton (Houston, Texas/Harvard University), Matthew Davis (Malvern, Pa./University of Pennsylvania), Jason Kennedy (Berwyn, Pa./University of Pennsylvania), and Charles Jones (Bloomington, Ind./University of Pennsylvania) finished second in their repechage to advance to tomorrow’s semifinals. The U.S. raced even with France through the first 500 meters before settling into second position and one of the three qualifying spots during the second quarter of the race. France continued to move away from the field over the final 1,500 meters, winning in a 5:58.68. The U.S. finished second in a 6:02.11, with China taking third in a 6:03.47.
The lightweight women’s double sculls tandem of Aislinn O’Brien (Phoenixville, Pa./St. Joseph’s University) and Katrina Miehlbradt (Auckland, New Zealand/University of Toronto) finished third in the repechage to move on to the semifinals. With three to advance, O’Brien and Miehlbradt sat in third position the entire way down the course. Great Britain’s Annabelle Ruinet and Isobel Sellers pulled away from Paraguay’s Rocio Bordon and Adriana Sanabria in the second 500 meters and earned an easy victory. The GB boat won the race in a 7:29.07, with Paraguay finishing second in a 7:32.16. The U.S. clocked a 7:42.96.
The men’s pair of August Altucher (Sellwood, Ore./University of Washington) and Caleb Cowles (Newport Beach, Calif./University of Washington) finished sixth in the semifinal and now will be racing in the B final for overall places 7-12. The U.S. crew got off the line in fourth position before falling to fifth in the second quarter of the race. Germany got off the line in first position, ahead of Italy and Greece. Italy took the lead during the third 500 meters, with the Germans maintaining second position and Greece in third. However, the Bulgarian crew was charging hard. Italy won the race in a 6:49.05, with Greece holding off Bulgaria to take second. The Germans fell to fourth in the final few strokes. Italy won in a 6:49.05, with Greece taking second in a 6:50.69. Bulgaria earned the other spot in the medal race, finishing in a 6:50.86. The U.S. finished in a 7:09.87.
In the women’s double sculls, Megan Walsh (Grand Rapids, Minn./University of Oklahoma) and Annie Herring (Dallas, Texas/Brown University) finished fourth and now will race in the B final. Walsh and Herring sat in fourth position the entire way down the course. With two to advance to the final, Romania dominated the field, winning in a 7:06.47. Germany took second in easy fashion, finishing in a 7:13.16. The U.S. clocked a 7:37.02.
The women’s four of Angela Szabo (Sarasota, Fla./University of California), Maddie Moore (Naples, Fla./Yale University), Elsa Hartman (Roseville, Calif./University of Virginia), and Katherine Kelly (Vashon Island, Wash./University of Virginia) will race in Sunday’s B final. With two to advance to the medal race, Australia took the early lead on Italy and the U.S. in the first 500 meters before the U.S. closed the gap to less than a second at the midway point. The Americans kept inching closer through the third 500 meters, but couldn’t hold on in the sprint, dropping to fourth as the crews crossed the line. Australia won the race in a 6:50.35, with Germany overtaking the U.S. and then Italy for second place in a 6:52.01. Italy finished third in a 6:52.63, with the U.S. finishing fourth in a 6:55.70.
The lightweight men’s double sculls crew of Timothy Parsons (Eugene, Ore./Yale University) and Ryan Tripp (Piedmont, Calif./Dartmouth College) finished fourth in its repechage and will now race in the C final for overall places 13-17. With three to advance, the U.S. sat in third through the 1,500-meter mark before Brazil was able to pull ahead with about 250 meters to go. Turkey’s Ahmet Ali Kabadayi and Sefik Cakmak led the race through the 1,000-meter mark before Portugal’s Duarte Castro and Joao Santos moved into the lead. Portugal pulled away from Turkey over the back half of the race as Brazil’s Marcelo Barbosa De Almeida and Piedro Tuchtenhagen began to challenge for a qualifying spot. The Brazilians passed the U.S. and then Turkey in the final 500 meters to take second, with Turkey holding on for third. Portugal won with a time of 6:40.37, with Brazil taking second in a 6:42.62. Turkey finished third in a 6:43.87, with the U.S. taking fourth in a 6:45.63.
Men’s single sculler Isaiah Harrison (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho/Coeur d’Alene Rowing Association) finished third in his C/D semifinal to advance to the C final where he will race for overall places 13-18. Harrison got off the line in third position before moving into second at the halfway point. Harrison took a slight lead over Egypt’s Seifeldeen Muhammad as the scullers entered the final 500 meters, but Muhammad made a big push to try to earn the victory. However, the Egyptian was caught at the line by Tunisia’s Fedi Ben Hammouda. Tunisia won the race in a 7:26.03, with Muhammad hanging on for second in a 7:26.34. Harrison finished with a time of 7:26.69.
After placing third in her repechage earlier in the morning, lightweight women’s single sculler Emma Mirrer (Providence, R.I./Princeton University) won her C/D semifinal to advance to the C final for overall places 13-18. In the C/D semi, Mirrer got off the line in second position before pulling into first place just before the halfway point. Mirrer then rowed away from the field to win by more than five seconds. Mirrer clocked an 8:33.75 to win the race. Tunisia’s Sara Zammali finished second in an 8:39.02, with Moldova’s Ecaterina Fedorenco taking third in an 8:45.10 to also advance to the C final.
This year’s World Rowing Under 23 Championships features more than 750 athletes from 51 nations. The U.S. has 16 athletes returning from last year’s team.
Racing continues on Saturday with the remaining semifinals and the start of finals. Due to the extreme heat, Saturday’s start time has been moved up to 8:29 a.m. local time. Racing concludes on Sunday with the remaining finals.
The live race tracker and live audio will be available for all races on www.worldrowing.com. Live video streaming will be available on the World Rowing website on Saturday for the A/B semifinals and A finals and Sunday for the A finals. The video streaming will start five minutes before the first race.
Complete press coverage, athlete bios, and links to event information will be available at www.usrowing.org and www.worldrowing.com. Follow along by using the hashtags #WRU23Champs and #WRU23CHPlovdiv.
USRowing would like to thank Filippi Lido, the Official Boat Supplier for the U.S. Senior, Under 23, and Para-Rowing National Teams. Under the agreement, Filippi is providing USRowing a fleet of boats for international competitions including the World Rowing Cup regattas, World Rowing Under 23 Championships, World Rowing Championships, Olympic Games, and Paralympic Games, as well as a domestic training fleet for the USRowing Training Center.