Men’s Four Wins Bronze at the 2013 World Rowing Under 23 Championships

by Story and Photos by Allison Frederick, | Jul 27, 2013
LINZ, Austria – When under 23 coach Matt Smith met with his men’s four prior to the final Saturday at the 2013 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, they talked about the U.S. senior men’s four that won bronze earlier this month at the Lucerne world cup.
LINZ, Austria – When under 23 coach Matt Smith met with his men’s four prior to the final Saturday at the 2013 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, they talked about the U.S. senior men’s four that won gold earlier this month at the Lucerne world cup.

That crew, like the one that won bronze on the first day of finals here in Austria, embraced a cohesive, “big group effort.”

“I told them, go satisfy yourselves for the summer and row a complete piece,” said Smith. “And that’s what they did. They had a really good piece out there and executed what they wanted to.”

Temperatures crept up near triple digits at the Linz-Ottenshem racecourse, delaying the scheduled program and taking its toll on competitors.

In the last race of the day, Will Gillis (Seattle, Wash.), Kaess Smit (St. Louis, Mo.), Morgan Gerlak (Baltimore, Md.) and Edward Benning (Weston, Mass.) won a hard-fought battle for bronze, coming in behind Romania and Australia in the men’s four final.

The U.S. crew finished third in its heat on Wednesday, but advanced with a second-place finish in Thursday’s repechage.

“They got progressively better and better,” said Smith. “You don’t ever want to be in the reps, but the rep was a great race. They had a good start in the heat and then in the rep, they found this really good middle thousand. They’re all intense racers.”

In Saturday’s final, the young U.S. crew – with two seniors, a junior and a sophomore in the lineup – was in third at each of the 500-meter marks.

“I looked over at the 750 and saw that we were even with Italy and a little up on Germany, and Turkey had fallen behind,” said two-seat Gerlak. “Pretty much the whole plan was, just to go with Australia, because we knew they had good base speed. We wanted to hang onto them for as long as we could.

“It was all about having a good middle thousand, because we knew we had a good last 500. And we knew if we were in position, we could pull it out. I said, ‘medal’ and we just went for it.”

Romania pushed past Australia in the sprint for the gold medal in 5:58.72. Australia clocked a 6:01.18 for silver, with the U.S. in 6:03.86. The defending under 23 champions from Germany, with two returning rowers in the lineup, finished sixth.

The U.S. went to the line in three other medals races, but did not reach the podium. In one of the closest finals of the evening, the U.S. women’s quadruple sculls finished among a pack of six crews separated by just 3.5 seconds.

Advancing directly to the final from Wedesnday’s heat, Molly Bruggeman (Dayton, Ohio), Britta Syverson  (Minneapolis, Minn.), Molly Hamrick (Tampa, Fla.) and Agatha Nowinski (Sacramento, Calif.) found themselves vying for the bronze medal position with Germany, Italy and New Zealand at the halfway point. Germany pulled away in the sprint, and Italy and New Zealand edged out the U.S. crew (6:39.86) for fourth (6:39.03) and fifth (6:39.41). Romania won gold in 6:36.35, with Poland silver in 6:36.70 and Germany taking bronze in 6:37.87.

The lightweight women’s quadruple sculls crew of Kayla McNeill (Mount Claire, N.J.), Jenna Hebert (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Veronique Bourassa (Mount Laurel, N.J.) and Jamie Roloff (Richboro, Pa.) ended its world championships run with a fifth-place overall finish.

Parker Lange (Darien, Conn.), Oliver Ingram (Philadelphia, Pa.), Maximilian Fenner (Berlin, Germany) and Matt Podlesak (New Canaan, Conn.) finished sixth in their final of the lightweight men’s quadruple sculls, for the best under 23 U.S. finish in the event since 2006.

In the first race of the morning, Andrew Campbell (New Canaan, Conn.) won his semifinal of the lightweight men’s single sculls with a time of 7:11.15. Ireland (7:12.58) and Great Britain (7:14.26) also advanced in the second and third. In the second race, The Netherlands, New Zealand and Turkey edged out Spyridon Giannaros, the defending under 23 world champion from Greece. The final is scheduled for Sunday at 10:56 a.m. local time.

U.S. women’s single sculler Madison Lips (Parker, Colo.) finished sixth in her semifinal on Saturday and will now race in Sunday’s B final for places 7-12. With Germany and Canada maintaining a decisive lead over much of the course, the four remaining scullers stayed within 0.38 seconds of each other crossing over the 1,500-meter mark. The Austrian sculler pulled head, taking Switzerland and Denmark with her, while Lips fell back in the final strokes.

In addition to Campbell, three other U.S. crews will race for medals tomorrow, the final day of the regatta, including the men’s and women’s eights and lightweight men’s four.

For complete press coverage, photos and features visit

For full results, visit

For Sunday’s start list, visit,_Linz_SS_2013.07.28.cp.pdf.

About USRowing
USRowing is a nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. USRowing’s official suppliers include Vespoli, WinTech, Filippi, Croker Oars, Rudy Project, Concept2, Nielsen Kellerman, and Ludus Tours. USRowing also receives generous support from the National Rowing Foundation and its corporate sponsors and partners ANXeBusiness Corp, EMCVenues, Connect-A-Dock, JanSport, Rudy Project and Boathouse Sports. For more information, visit The USRowing National Team program relies on strong partnerships to enable continued success. New opportunities exist to support the teams through the next quadrennial, culminating with the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. America Rows, which supports diversity in rowing and the USRowing adaptive programs also benefit from corporate support. Free basic membership and championship level membership to USRowing is available and encouraged. For more information, please contact Beth Kohl at
    United 250x250
    Promotive 250x250
    May Madness Graphic
Kinesio Logo