Three U.S. Boats Win Heats on Thursday at 2018 World Rowing Junior Championships

Three U.S. boats won their heats on Thursday to highlight the second day of racing at the 2018 World Rowing Junior Championships in Racice, Czech Republic.

With their heat victories, the men’s four with coxswain, women’s pair and women’s four all advanced directly to Saturday’s semifinals.

The women’s pair of Lucy Koven (Greenwich, Conn./Greenwich Crew) and Caitlin Esse (Fairfield, Conn./ Saugatuck Rowing Club) completely dominated its heat, winning by more than 17 seconds over Canada. Koven and Esse held nearly a three-second lead on Great Britain 500 meters into the race and over nine seconds on the field by the halfway point. The U.S. boat continued to pull away during the second 1,000 meters. Koven and Esse crossed the line with a time of 7:31.11, recording the fastest time of the three heats.

“I’m really proud of both of them for handling their first race here so well,” said Coach Catherine Starr. “They are both mature racers, but it’s the first international race for them, and I’m glad it went smoothly. Their focus is just to get faster as they move through this racing and have fun doing that.”

Racing in the second of three heats of the men’s four with coxswain, the crew of coxswain George Doty (Corte Madera, Calif./Marin Rowing Association), Michael Fairley (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Saratoga Rowing Association), Chase Haskell (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla./ The Bolles School), Owen King (Montclair, N.J./Montclair High School) and Henry Bellew (Bethesda, Md./Harvard University) took the lead off the start and controlled the race the entire way down the course. South Africa and Italy battled it out for second position, with the Italians making a late push to claim second. All three crews advanced to Saturday’s semifinals. The U.S. finished with a time of 6:29.87, the fastest of the three heats.

“The boys were solid today,” said Coach Chris Chase. “The execution was better than we had hoped, especially in the middle 1,000 (meters). Knowing they would be all hyped up in their first prime time worlds’ race, we made it a point to hold the rate and split. They showed a lot of poise and patience to keep their pacing and not get swept up in the chaos of the race or the other boats. Even when the Italians, the defending champs with the majority of their crew returning, made their big move in the third 500 meters, the boys trusted their pace and got the most out of each stroke. They didn’t cave in and unravel. It certainly didn’t hurt to nail the start and settle into our race plan.”

The women’s four of Catherine Garrett (Darien, Conn./Connecticut Boat Club), Kelsey McGinley (Westport, Conn./Saugatuck Rowing Club), Julia Braz (Sarasota, Fla./Sarasota Crew) and Margaret Hedeman (Concord, Mass./Community Rowing, Inc.) built more than a four-second lead on the field at the 1,000-meter mark on the way to its victory. The four jumped out to the early lead and was never really challenged, despite a late move by The Netherlands. The U.S. finished with a time of 7:01.08, with the Dutch boat finishing in a 7:02.71.

“It is always good to have your first race together internationally go pretty well,” said Coach Liz Trond. “We still have a few areas to clean up, but I’m happy our race was solid enough to move directly to the semis.”

In the women’s four with coxswain, the crew of coxswain Caroline Ricksen (Orinda, Calif./Oakland Strokes), Heidi Jacobson (Greenwich, Conn./Connecticut Boat Club), Kaitlin Knifton (Austin, Texas/Texas Rowing Center), Julia Abbruzzese (Ridgefield, Conn./Connecticut Boat Club) and Noelle Amlicke (Westport, Conn./Saugatuck Rowing Club) led through the 1,000-meter mark before dropping to third and into the repechage. The crew got off the line well and built nearly a two-second lead in the first 500 meters. However, Italy and Australia started to close the gap in the second 500 and overtook the Americans just after the midway point of the race. Italy won with a time of 7:15.84, earning a spot in Sunday’s final. The U.S. finished with a time of 7:24.29 and will race in the repechage on Friday against Belarus, Germany, Australia and Czech Republic.

The men’s eight of coxswain Dylan White (Newport Beach, Calif./Newport Aquatic Center), Harrison Schofield (Sarasota, Fla./Sarasota Crew), Eli Kalfaian (Milford, Conn./Princeton National Rowing Association/Mercer), John Mark Ozaeta (Moraga, Calif./Oakland Strokes), Harrison Burke (Westport, Conn./Saugatuck Rowing Club), Nicholas Fisher (West Hartford, Conn./Kent School Boat Club), Charles Fargo (Winnetka, Ill./New Trier High School Rowing), Henry Lowe (Pacific Palisades, Calif./Deerfield Academy Crew) and Ryan Beeler (Melrose, Mass./Boston College High School) also led through 1,000 meters before dropping to third in the final sprint. The U.S. led Great Britain by just under a second heading into the back half of the race. The British crew took the top spot in the third 500 meters, with the U.S. still in second place holding on to a qualifying position. However, the Americans were unable to hold off the Italian’s sprint and will now race in Friday’s repechage against the Czech Republic, Russia, The Netherlands, Hungary and France. Great Britain won the race in a 5:49.09, with Italy finishing in a 5:51.04. The U.S. clocked a 5:51.87.

In the men’s quadruple sculls, the U.S. crew of Nathan Phelps (Ridgefield, Conn.), Emory Sammons (Fort Plain, N.Y.), James Wright, (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Kristopher Schumann (Sarasota, Fla.) just missed an automatic qualifying spot for the semifinals, as Romania overtook them for second place in the final 500 meters of the race. Germany took the lead off the start, with the U.S. moving into second position. The Romanians began to close the gap during the third quarter of the race before moving ahead of the American crew in the final stretch. Germany won the race in a 6:04.08, with Romania finishing second in a 6:05.73. The U.S. crossed the line in a 6:06.58 and will now race in tomorrow’s repechage against Lithuania, Sweden, Italy, Croatia and Norway.

The men’s four of Grant Person (Newport Beach, Calif./Newport Aquatic Center), Alexander Degrado (Jacksonville, Fla./Sarasota Crew), Zachary Vachal (San Francisco, Calif./Pacific Rowing Club) and Kai Hoite (Berkeley, Calif./Oakland Strokes) also finished third in its heat and now will race in the repechages on Friday. With two to advance to the semifinals, Great Britain took control in the first 1,000 meters with New Zealand and the U.S. crossing the halfway point in a dead heat for second position. However, New Zealand pulled away in the third quarter of the race to claim the other spot in the semis. Great Britain won with a time of 6:07.76. The U.S. finished in a 6:19.87 and will take on Serbia, Sweden, Norway, Russia and Switzerland in their repechage.

Camille VanderMeer (Elmira, N.Y./ Narragansett Boat Club) and Sarah McErlean (Vevey, Switzerland/ Club Aviron Vevey) finished fourth in their heat of the women’s double sculls and will race in a repechage on Friday. VanderMeer and McErlean stayed in the hunt for first with China and Belarus through the 1,500-meter mark before the Belarusians outsprinted the Chinese crew to earn the lone qualifying spot for the semifinals. Belarus won with a time of 7:22.91, finishing 0.59 seconds ahead of China. The U.S. finished with a time of 7:37.90. VanderMeer and McErlean will race crews from Hungary, Germany, Lithuania and Serbia in their repechage.

In the women’s quadruple sculls, the U.S. crew of Bridget O’Callahan (Los Angeles, Calif./California Yacht Club), Emmeline Laurence (Greenland, N.H./Great Bay Rowing), Kathleen Dolan (Barrington, R.I./Narragansett Boat Club) and Delaney Evans (Bettendorf, Iowa/Y Quad Cities) finished fifth and will race in tomorrow’s repechages. The U.S. sat in fifth position the entire way down the course. The Czech Republic won the race in a 6:39.77, with Germany finishing second. The U.S. clocked a 7:00.70. The crew will take on Japan, Canada, Sweden, Russia and Hungary in the repechage.

In the men’s pair, Jack Gallagher (Newtown, Pa./ Princeton National Rowing Association/Mercer) and Gregoire Le Meur (San Francisco, Calif./Pacific Rowing Club) finished sixth in their heat and will now race in the repechage on Friday against Turkey, Romania, China and Hungary. Gallagher and Le Meur sat in fifth position through 1,500 meters before dropping to sixth. Germany won the race in a time of 6:40.68 to advance to the semifinals. The U.S. finished in a 7:14.81.

After finishing fifth in her heat on Wednesday, Cassandra Reed (Belmont, Mass./West Cambridge Rowing) came back to earn a spot in the quarterfinals by placing second in her repechage on Thursday. Reed clocked an 8:25.51 to finish a little more than five seconds behind Greece. In tomorrow’s first quarterfinal, Reed will face off against scullers from Switzerland, Australia, Italy, New Zealand and Ukraine.

The U.S. will have two additional boats racing in quarterfinals, as well as the women’s eight opening its regatta in a race for lanes, on Friday.

Men’s single sculler Clark Dean (Sarasota, Fla./Sarasota Crew) will continue the defense of his world title in a quarterfinal on Friday. Dean won his heat by setting a junior world’s best time on Wednesday. He will take on scullers from Slovenia, Uruguay, Canada, South Africa and Estonia in the second of four quarterfinals.

The men’s double sculls crew of Cooper Tuckerman (Bozeman, Mont./Vesper Boat Club) and Kristopher Fisher (Oak Ridge, Tenn./Vesper Boat Club) advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals thanks to a fourth-place finish in its heat. The duo will take on boats from Lithuania, Germany, Russia, Austria and Chile in the fourth quarterfinal.

With only five entries in the event, the women’s eight of coxswain Alin Pasa (Westport, Conn./Saugatuck Rowing Club), Hannah Schaenman (Rye Brook, N.Y./RowAmerica Rye), Isabel Mezei (Brookfield, Conn./Saugatuck Rowing Club), Francesca Raggi (Maitland, Fla./Winter Park Crew), Azja Czajkowski (Imperial Beach, Calif./San Diego Rowing Club), Gabrielle Graves (Vashon, Wash./Burton Beach Rowing Club), Samantha Henriksen (Chicago, Ill./Chicago Rowing Foundation), Larkin Brown (Chattanooga, Tenn./Girls Preparatory School) and Jessica Mixon (Brentwood, Tenn./University of Pennsylvania) will take on the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and Romania in a race for lanes. Raggi and Czajkowski return from the boat that finished seventh last year. The remainder of the lineup are national team rookies. The Czech Republic, Germany and Romania won the medals last year.

Racing continues on Saturday with the semifinals and the start of placement finals. The medal races, along with the B finals for places 7-12, will take place on Sunday.

More than 750 athletes from 57 countries are racing in Racice. The U.S. and Germany have the largest teams, both with a full squad of 14 crews, followed by Italy with 13 crews.

Complete press coverage, athlete bios and links to event information are available at and Follow along with the U.S. Under 19 National Team at the 2018 World Rowing Under 19 Championships by using the hashtags #WRJChamps and #WRJChamps18.

World Rowing’s live stream for Wednesday through Friday’s racing will available via Facebook Live. Saturday and Sunday’s racing will be streamed through


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