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Four Medals for U.S. at 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships

July 24, 2011

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands – The rain continued to wash away previous world best times Sunday at the 2011 World Rowing Under 23 Championships. The conditions didn’t stop United States crews from bringing home three medals on the final day of competition on the Bosbaan racecourse. The U.S. men’s eight won gold, while the women’s eight and lightweight men’s single sculls won bronze to bring the final medal count to four.

Men’s Eight: Gold and Under 23 World Best Time
In one of the most exciting finals of the day, the U.S. men’s eight powered down the course to win gold and set a new under 23 world best time of 5:24.31.

The crew, coached by former U.S. National Team and current Cal head coach Mike Teti, held off Great Britain in the semi by less than a second en route to the final.

In a steady downpour and gusty northwest tailwind, Czech Republic took the lead early, with the U.S. close behind in second place.

“It was fast conditions and we knew teams were going to be fast off the line,” said stroke-seat Michael Gennaro, who returned to the boat from last year’s silver medal crew. “Since we were fast Thursday, we knew that people were going to try to compete with us, and they did. We took our move at the 750 that we had been prepping all summer. That was the difference.”

The U.S. crew walked through Czech Republic just before the halfway mark, and continued to press. Coxswain Anthony Altimari (Huntington, N.Y.), Gennaro (Havertown, Pa.), Dariush Aghai (Skokie, Ill.), Thomas Dethlefs (Lawrenceville, N.J.), Robert Otto (Seattle, Wash.), Austin Hack (Old Lyme, Conn.), Robert Munn (Redmond, Wash.), Christopher Yeager (Berkeley, Calif.) and Alexander Bunkers (Maitland, Fla.) crossed 1.9 seconds ahead of Czech Republic’s 5:26.21 for gold.

“It was exactly what we wanted to do,” said Gennaro. “That was racing, and Coach Teti says we’re the best at it. We row all year long. We know what it’s like to be down and ahead and even. Anthony kept us all composed and we all gathered. It was awesome.”

Reigning world champion Germany lost the race for the bronze medal, as Great Britain came screaming through in the final stretch, posting a 5:29.15 to Germany’s 5:30.93. Poland crossed fifth in 5:40.70, while The Netherlands clocked a 5:45.42 in sixth.

Women’s Eight: Bronze
The U.S. women’s eight came away with a bronze medal on Sunday, making this the sixth consecutive year that the U.S. has reached the podium, in as many years that the event has been included in the program.

The crew of Leigh Carrol (Sherborn, Mass.), Olivia Coffey (Watkins Glen, N.Y.), Grace Luczak (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Heidi Robbins (Hanover, N.H.), Maureen McAuliffe (Herndon, Va.), Jenifer Forbes (Baltimore, Md.), Kelly Pierce (Oakton, Va.), Felice Mueller (Cleveland, Ohio) and Erika Roddy (Francisco, Calif.) came to the line with a third-place finish in the race for lanes Friday.

In the final, the United States and Canada were the first crews to pull away from the pack at the start, with the U.S. taking a deck-length lead at the 500-meter mark. By the 1,000-meter mark, Canada got ahead with New Zealand going strong in the far lane and challenging for the silver medal position.

“We followed our race plan, racing the first 1,000 (meters) as hard as we could,” said Carrol.

The Canadian crew had a clear lead going into the sprint. It crossed in 6:03.23 for gold, with New Zealand in 6:06.02 for silver. The U.S. crew finished 1.35 seconds back in third with a 6:07.37, followed by Germany (6:12.97) and Great Britain (6:19.62).

For Luczak and Mueller, this was their second medal of the championships. The two won gold and set a new under 23 world best time in the pair Saturday.

“It wasn’t the result that we wanted, but we went for it,” said Carrol. “I kept calling for legs, a lot of legs. It was really one big push the whole way.”

Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls: Bronze
Andrew Campbell (New Canaan, Conn.) won bronze in the lightweight men’s single sculls for the best ever finish and first medal in the event for the U.S. at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships.

It’s only the fourth time in the history of the under 23 championships that the U.S. entered a sculler in the lightweight men’s single, with the highest finish being John Graves’ 11th place finish last year in Belarus.

And if there is history to make, Campbell is the guy for the job.

The nineteen-year-old went down in the books last year, winning bronze in the men’s single sculls at the 2010 World Rowing Junior Championships. This year, Campbell advanced through each of his preliminary races with ease, winning the heat, the quarterfinal and finishing second in his semifinal before coming to the line Sunday.

In the final, Peru’s Renzo Leon Garcia was first off the start, leading by a bow ball over Bulgaria’s Nedelcho Vasilev within the first few strokes. Coming across the 500-meter mark, Campbell was in second behind France’s Jeremie Azou, one of the country’s top lightweight scullers with two silver world championships medals under his belt.

Azou maintained his comfortable lead the entire length of the courses, crossing the line with open water in 6:46.93 for the gold medal and a new under 23 world best time.

Greece’s Panagiotis Magdanis, the reigning world champion in the under 23 lightweight double sculls, was even with Campbell with 500 meters to go. Campbell took up the rating, gaining a one-length lead within ten strokes. Magdanis responded with a move of his own and edged ahead in the last few strokes of the race to win silver in 6:55.01. Campbell crossed third for the bronze medal in 6:57.00. Peru crossed fourth in 7:05.73, followed by Bulgaria (7:10.73) and Slovenia (7:21.54).

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls
The lightweight women’s double sculls crew finished sixth, marking the best-ever performance by a U.S. crew in the event at the under 23 level.

Elizabeth Bates (Perrysburg, Ohio) and Sarah Keller (West Chester, Pa.) put on a spectacular show in the semifinal to advance. In the final, Greece’s reigning world champions Triantafyllia Kalampoka and Christina Giazitzidou were first off the line and held the lead all the way through to the finish line to win gold in 6:59.31.

New Zealand came from fourth and walked through Germany after the halfway point, with Spain in second. The Spanish crew crossed the line for the silver medal in 7:03.38, with New Zealand holding off The Netherlands to finish third in a 7:06.22 for the bronze medal. The Netherlands were fourth in 7:10.65, Germany slipped back to finish fifth in 7:12.60 and the U.S. posted a 7:15.68 at the line for sixth.

Men’s Quadruple Sculls
Ian Silveira (West Bloomfield, Mich.), Andrew Gallagher (Phoenix, Ariz.), Christopher Massey (Wellesley, Mass.) and Michael Donohue (Malvern, Pa.) finished fourth in the final of the men’s quadruple sculls.

This year marks the first time in the history of the championships that the U.S. has reached the final in the men’s quadruple sculls. The best finish prior to Amsterdam was eighth place in 1997.

After its false start in the final, Ukraine took an early lead. The U.S. was in fourth place behind Germany crossing the 1,000-meter mark, a position it held the entire length of the course. Czech Republic walked through Ukraine in the second quarter of the race, crossing the halfway mark one second ahead.

Going into the final sprint, Ukraine and Czech Republic were bow ball to bow ball. Ukraine edged ahead at the line to clock a 5:39.62 for the gold medal. Czech Republic took silver by 0.2 seconds in a 5:40.45, with Germany in a 5:49.65 for bronze. The U.S. crew followed in 5:54.54, with Italy fifth in 5:55.76 and Latvia sixth in 5:57.46.

In Sunday’s B finals, the women’s double sculls and lightweight men’s four crews finished third for ninth place overall. The men’s single sculls and men’s pair crews finished fifth in the B final for 11th place overall.

For complete results, visit www.worldrowing.com. Photos, press releases and athlete bios visit www.usrowing.org.

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 Boathouse Sports, Vespoli, WinTech, Filippi, Croker Oars, Rudy Project, Concept2, Nielsen Kellerman, PowerHTV and Ludus Tours. USRowing also receives generous support from the National Rowing Foundation and its corporate sponsors, ANXeBusiness Corp and Voxer. For more information, visit www.usrowing.org. USRowing has joined forces with Team Arnstein to help ensure the U.S. Team's success leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games under a new corporate sponsorship campaign, The Row to London. For more information, please visit www.teamarnstein.com.

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Allison Frederick

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