Graves, Forbes Claim Single Sculls Titles, Advance in Lotman Challenge
By John Bartman • July 14, 2019
Bethel, Ohio — U.S. National Team members John Graves and Jenifer Forbes took gold in the men’s and women’s elite/senior single sculls as 39 more national champions were crowned on Sunday at the 2019 USRowing National Championships. In the process, the two scullers also advanced to the second leg of the U.S. Lotman Challenge.
Graves, who rows for Craftsbury Sculling Center, was pleased with his performance this weekend, especially after winning the quadruple sculls and earning a spot on this year’s national team on Wednesday at the 2019 Senior National Team Trials. Having to transition from the quad to single can, however, be somewhat challenging.
“It’s really tough actually. I hopped in the car and drove out here. I hadn’t rowed the single since April, and it was really interesting hopping back in,” Graves said. “It’s a really different feel since [the single] is a much slower boat. It’s really fun to do the single, but it’s a real challenge to go from a boat that might be doing a five-minute, 40-second 2k to a boat that’s doing a seven-minute 2k,” said Graves.
The Cincinnati native also was proud to be racing back at a course with which he is so familiar.
“I had my first-ever single race here when I was 13 years old. I actually flipped and washed up on shore the first time I ever rowed, so it’s really fun to be back here racing because there’s a lot of memories,” said Graves.
Forbes, also from Craftsbury Sculling Center, made sure to enjoy the moment.
“It’s great and the course is awesome. I’ve never raced on this course before,” Forbes said. “It’s obviously hot, but that’s just summer racing. Everyone’s been awesome with being helpful and being responsive to any questions the athletes have. Everyone’s been extremely helpful.”
After taking a hiatus away from training to rehabilitate a back injury and focus on coaching, being able to still race is very meaningful for Forbes.
“It’s something I’ve been doing for the last 15 years. Through injury, through being slow, through not being sure what I wanted to do in life, I always ask myself why I row. This is one of the things I always come back to. It’s really special to me,” said Forbes. “The people in the sport are really amazing and [rowing] just makes me feel really good. I love being out there competing and training. I enjoy pushing myself and my friends and getting to see a side of people you wouldn’t otherwise get to see. It’s a great sport.”
Forbes’ next stop is the Pan American Games, where she will be representing the United States in the single sculls.
In addition to earning gold medals, Graves and Forbes advanced to the second leg of the U.S. Lotman Challenge. The USRowing National Championships was the last chance to qualify for leg two of the Challenge, with the winner advancing to compete at the Head of The Charles Regatta October 19-20 in Boston, Mass.
Teams at the USRowing National Championships competed for the Colgan Cup Overall Team Points Trophy, Sulgar-Barnes Men’s Points Trophy and Marion D. Ventura Women’s Points Trophy.
Winning the Colgan Cup for overall team points was TBC Racing, which totaled 199 points on the week (56 from women’s racing, 143 from men’s). Coming in second with 160 points was RowAmerica Rye. The third-place finisher in overall team points was Community Rowing, Inc., which finished with 141 total points.
The Sulgar-Barnes Trophy was won this year by New York Athletic Club, who claimed four golds, four silvers, and a bronze medal, totaling 159 points. They beat out TBC Racing and RowAmerica Rye, which finished with 143 and 129 points, respectively.
The Marion D. Ventura Trophy, awarded to the women’s team with the highest point total, was won by Row West Racing Camp, which earned one gold, four silvers, and two bronze medals for a total of 105 points. They were followed in the standings by Y Quad Cities, which came up just short with 102 points. Third place in women’s team points was Arion with 77 points on the week.
This year, USRowing 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.
USRowing streamed all semifinals and finals online on USRowing’s YouTube Channel. These videos are now available on demand. Athletes and families are welcome to view and download photos of the event and medal ceremonies for free on usrowing.photos.