PHOTO AND STORY COURTESY USROWING
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USRowing is pleased to announce that Sophia Luwis has been named the 2023 Carie Graves Female Athlete of the Year, while Nick Mead has been named the 2023 Male Athlete of the Year.
Selected by the athletes and coaches of the senior national team that competed at the 2023 World Rowing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, Luwis and Mead will be recognized later this month at the Head of the Charles.
A two-time national team member, Sophia Luwis (McLean, Va./The College of William & Mary/Whitemarsh Boat Club) won the bronze medal in the lightweight women’s single sculls at the 2023 World Championships in Belgrade. Luwis qualified for the 2022 World Rowing Championships but was unable to compete due to injuries suffered in a car accident. She returned to competition this year, winning silver in the lightweight single at 2023 World Rowing Cup II and then gold at 2023 World Rowing Cup III. She concluded her season by reaching the podium at the world championships.
“I am incredibly grateful to all the athletes and coaches who voted for me to receive this award,” Luwis said. “It was a privilege to compete alongside those I have looked up to for years at the world championships and to think they would vote on me for this award is humbling. My ability to compete was primarily thanks to the support I got from my family, my coach, and my teammates. It was a hard season for me, and I cannot thank them enough for being patient with me as I re-learned how to be an athlete.”
USRowing’s Board of Directors renamed the Female Athlete of the Year Award last year in honor of the late Carie Graves, who passed away in 2021.
Nick Mead (Strafford, Pa./Princeton University/New York Athletic Club), an eight-time national team member across the under 19, under 23, and senior levels, won silver in the four at the 2023 World Rowing Championships, recording the best finish for a U.S. men’s boat since 2017. He placed third in the four at the 2023 World Rowing Cup II regatta.
“I’m so honored to be voted the 2023 Male Athlete of the Year by my coaches and teammates, many of whom are much more deserving of this award than I am,” Mead said. “I’m truly lucky to train and compete alongside such a talented group of people. As amateur athletes, we rely on the support of so many — the USRowing Foundation, the NRF, Filippi, NYAC, the USRowing support staff, our wonderful host families, and too many more to properly thank in just a few sentences. But, I’d like to specifically thank my fiancée, Paulina, for her endless patience with me while I’ve spent most of my 20s far away, messing about in boats. And, my cousin, Blair, for convincing me to give rowing another chance when I was ready to give it up.”
USRowing previously announced the 2023 Under 23 National Team Athletes of the Year and the 2023 Under 19 National Team Athletes of the Year.