Athletes Pushing the Limit at National Championships

BETHEL, OHIO — Intermediate and senior/elite racing kicked off today with time trials in all events at the 2019 USRowing National Championships.

Rowing for Athletes Without Limits (AWL), a program for athletes with intellectual disabilities run by Patrick Johnson, were Benjamin Wierzbanowski and Nick Belvin.

We use to row together in high school and volunteered together for AWL,” said Belvin.  “Between volunteering, Patrick lets us use the boats when the disabled athletes aren’t using them.”

Because rowing is one of the few sports that can have any disabled athlete participate, representing AWL and working with athletes has been important to the two in their rowing careers.

“The process is pretty involved with disabled athletes,” Belvin said. “We row in the bow of all of the boats we take out, and we act as a secondary coach to [the rowers]. We are giving a lot of feedback and coaching the entire practice that day, just trying to get some good strokes in.”

Though the program has “really been growing the past couple years,” the duo is making an effort to keep expanding on that.

Belvin and Wierzbanowski now row for Auburn University and Stetson University, respectively, training throughout the year and working with AWL in the off-season. Coming to nationals with the team, the two raced in the intermediate men’s double and quad.

“We both did a lot of training to get here,” Wierzbanowski said. “We trained through spring and fall for our colleges, and we prepared a lot. We’re looking to get to finals. If we get there, I’ll be really really happy. ”

Belvin and Wierzbanowski teamed up with Brook Yimer and Josh Martini in the quad, qualifying for tomorrow’s semifinals in a 6:31.754. In the double, the two just missed out on a semifinal qualifying spot by about one second, clocking a 6:57.563. 

The men’s intermediate quad semifinals is scheduled to take place on Saturday, July 13, at 10:00 a.m. Saturday’s racing begins at 8:00 a.m. Finals are scheduled to take place on Sunday.

For all results from today’s intermediate and senior/elite time trials, click here.

Additionally, the 16th-Annual College Fair ran yesterday and today. It was an opportunity for rising seniors to meet with coaches from over 70 colleges from across the country. 

Attendees can catch some of the nation’s most competitive racing, as top athletes go head-to-head in the women’s and men’s elite/senior single sculls. With a new format for the U.S. Lotman Challenge races, the USRowing National Championships is one of three qualifying events this year, as the winners of the elite/senior singles will proceed to leg two.

This year, USRowing has again partnered with CaptainU as its exclusive online athlete recruiting partner, providing rowers with a free recruiting profile and resources for rowing in college. The profile allows athletes to publish erg scores, academics and videos all in one place, connect directly with college rowing programs, search colleges to find the best fit and receive guidance throughout the recruiting process.

Teams at the USRowing National Championships compete for the Colgan Cup Overall Team Points Trophy, the Sulgar-Barnes Men’s Points Trophy and the Marion D. Ventura Women’s Points Trophy.

USRowing will be live broadcasting all semifinals and finals on USRowing’s YouTube Channel. Athletes and families are welcome to view and download photos of the event for free on usrowing.photos. Galleries will be updated each day of the event.

Stay connected with us! Tag @USRowing in your photos and tweets by using the hashtag #USRnats19.

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