United States crews made three trips to the podium Sunday with Andrew Campbell, Jr. (New Canaan, Conn.) in the lightweight single sculls and the U.S. women’s eight defending their world titles and the men’s eight claiming bronze to highlight the final day of competition Sunday at the 2014 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
Lightweight men’s single and women’s eight repeat gold, bronze for men’s eight on Sunday at the 2014 World Rowing Under 23 Championships
VARESE, Italy – United States crews made three trips to the podium Sunday with Andrew Campbell, Jr.
(New Canaan, Conn.) in the lightweight single sculls and the U.S. women’s eight defending their world titles and the men’s eight claiming bronze to highlight the final day of competition Sunday at the 2014 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
Along with the gold medal in the women’s four and silver in the women’s pair on Saturday, United States crews won a total of five medals in Varese. Host country Italy won the most medals of the 51 competing nations, with seven.
Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls
Final: USA, TUR, ITA, IRL, HUN, BEL
There isn’t a sculler or lightweight rower in the United States that has ever won back-to-back medals in international under 23 competition. Until now.
Twenty-two-year-old Harvard University graduate Andrew Campbell repeated his 2013 first-ever gold medal in the event for the United States, and won the second-ever under 23 gold medal for the U.S. in any men’s sculling or lightweight event.
In one of the largest fields of the championships with 25 entries, Campbell led each of his preliminary races from start to finish. In the final, Campbell got his bow out ahead in the first few strokes. One thousand meters in, he was a solid two boat lengths ahead, rowing in a field of his own.
“It’s amazing,” said Campbell, who won gold with a time of 6:54.49. “I’m so happy to have been able to repeat last year’s performance. It’s hard coming back the next year, because you’re defending. To put that out of mind is difficult, but I think we did a good job handling it and taking this and its own separate piece.”
Turkey’s Enes Kusku won silver in 7:00.14, with Italy’s Francesco Pegoraro fighting back for bronze in 7:00.58.
“I feel like I actually had a better race this year,” said Campbell. “I felt fit and very strong the whole way through the piece. It was a pretty ideal piece for me. To get that time in neutral conditions is pretty good.
“In Boston, most of time I’m training alone. I train against the pace coach every day. I’m very used to what kind of splits I should be seeing, in what kind of conditions. In this race, I saw myself moving away from the rest of the field and knew that I wanted to put up the best piece I possibly could, regardless of what everyone else was doing. So I really focused on that split, battling it down below 1:45 the whole time.
“It’s not my PR, but I think in these conditions, that’s a really good result. I’m happy with the piece. I had a good lift. Most of all, this gives me a lot of confidence going into senior worlds. I’ll take a few days off and start working the front end again, start working the catch with Charley Butt.”
Campbell, who finished seventh in the event at the 2013 World Rowing Championships in Chungju, qualified earlier this month to race the lightweight single at the senior level in Amsterdam.
“His result today is a product of his hard work and so many good coaches,” said coach Linda Muri. “He has the big team with Olga and Yan [Vengerovskiy] behind him at Maritime. He does so much work with Charley [Butt]. Being a part of a team and the support network makes a big difference. He is just an amazing rower.
“He’s done a really good job the past few years, and he’s rowing even better and he’s a little bit stronger this year,” Muri continued. “There’s not much to coach because of how well he rows. It’s a matter of keeping track of the training and helping him manage race day and the whole five days of the regatta. I think this is going to set him up really well for a good performance at the senior level in The Netherlands.” Women’s Eight
Final: USA, GBR, GER, AUS, BLR, POL
In the nine years that the U.S. has entered the women’s eight event at the under 23 level, it has come away with gold six times. In front of a full grandstand on Lake Varese Sunday, the two-time defending under 23 world champion U.S. women’s eight did not disappoint.
Coxswain Lindsay Meltz
(El Dorado Hills, Calif.), Agatha Nowinski
(Sacramento, Calif.), Kendall Chase
(Evergreen, Colo.), Erin Reelick
(Brookfield, Conn.), Molly Bruggeman
(Dayton, Ohio), Erin Boxberger
(Overland Park, Kan.), Kate Roach
(North Oaks, Minn.), Elizabeth Youngling
(Westport, Conn.) and Jessica Eiffert
(Honeoye Falls, N.Y.) took the lead at the start and broke away from the field by the middle of the race.
For six members of the crew, it was their second medal of the championships. Nowinski and Eiffert won silver in the pair, and Reelick, Bruggeman, Boxberger and Chase won gold in the four Saturday.
“We were in control [of the race] the whole time,” said Meltz. “From ‘Attention, go’ we controlled the race. We were only focusing on us and from there, we just walked. With every move we took, we were taking seats but staying internal, focusing on our rhythm, our moves.”
“GB stuck with us for the second half, there, keeping our pace,” said seven-seat Chase. “I was so in the zone, I don’t know where my brain was. It was so weird, I was so focused and internal that I didn’t really feel the lactic acid until the very end when I realized that, oh my god, I don’t have a workout tomorrow.”
The United States posted a winning time of 6:07.88 to Great Britain’s 6:11.76. Germany edged out Australia for the bronze medal, 6:12.74 to 6:12.83.
“I’ve never been this happy to win any race, ever,” said Chase. “Gold two times in a row, twice in two days. It’s so great to race with this group of girls. They are the best in the nation, now the best in the world. We just did what we knew how to do and what we trained for all summer, and I’m happy it all paid off in the end.”
“It feels great, just amazing,” agreed Meltz. “It’s the best feeling in the world right now.” Men’s Eight
Final: NZL, AUS, USA, GER, ITA, GBR
In the final of the men’s eight, the U.S. was first off the start. Then, over the first half of the course, coxswain Louis Lombardi, Jr.
(Huntingdon Valley, Pa.), Alexander Perkins
(Westport, Conn.), Patrick Konttinen
(Tiburon, Calif.), Trevor Weaser
(Plymouth, Ind.), Spencer Hall
(Eden Prairie, Minn.), Kaess Smit
(Guadalajara, Mexico), Gregory Davis
(Daly City, Calif.), James Hamp
(North Tonawanda, N.Y.) and Justin Jones
(Bellmawr, N.J.) stayed in close contact with the reigning world champion crew from New Zealand.
Just a boat deck separated the top two crews crossing the 1,000-meter mark. But then by 700 meters to go, New Zealand took up the rating and Australia followed them, coming on strong in the sprint and challenging the U.S.
“The first 250 meters, we went after it. We hunted for the gold,” said Lombardi, who coxed the junior eight to gold in 2010. “We put our bow ball ahead, two seats up. And it was a hunt from then on. The last 750 [meters], it was like, alright boys, what do we want to do here. I mean, it was gutsy. We went down the course and laid it all out, flat on the line.”
At the finish, it was New Zealand repeating gold with a time of 5:28.82, Australia for silver in 5:30.45 and the U.S. in a 5:32.18 for bronze.
“We just really wanted to be in position to win it, right away, try and take hold and see what we could do with it,” said stroke-seat Perkins. “So that’s what we tried to do from the very beginning, just try and take control.
[To win a medal] feels great. It was a strong race. I wish we could have held on [to gold], but it was worth going for it.” Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls
Final: NZL, ROU, AUS, SUI, USA, GRE Shawna Sims
(Sarasota, Fla.) and Devin Norder
(Sarasota, Fla.) finished fifth in their final of the lightweight women’s double sculls, marking the best-ever finish for the U.S. in the Olympic-class event at the under 23 world championships.
Sims, 18, and Norder, 17, battled for medal position with Australia and Switzerland through the middle thousand, with New Zealand and Romania out front. At the line, it was New Zealand for the gold medal with a time of 6:59.37, just 0.06 seconds shy of the world best time, Romania silver in 7:03.68 and Australia 0.58 seconds ahead of Switzerland for the bronze medal. The United States crossed in 7:09.86.
“Today’s race was simply their best performance of the weekend,” said coach Casey Galvanek. “We could not have asked for it at a better time.
“Shawna and Devin approached this championships with the focus and maturity of more senior athletes, and I could not be prouder of them. These two girls are looking forward to the possibility of coming back to this event for the next four years.”
In addition, two U.S. crews won B finals for seventh place overall – the women’s double sculls and lightweight men’s four. Overall, the men’s pair finished eighth, women’s single sculler Samantha Casto
(Dallas, Pa.) finished tenth and the lightweight men’s double sculls finished eleventh.
For complete event results, visit www.worldrowing.com
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