Team USA Grabs Two Medals at World Rowing Under 23 Championships

SARASOTA-BRADENTON, Fla.– Team USA earned two medals, one silver and one bronze, on day one of finals at the 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships. 

The lightweight women’s pair, rowed by Emily Molins (Wilmette, Ill.) and Sarah Maietta (Wayland, Mass.), crossed the line in 7:35.94 to take second. After holding third place through the first 1500 meters, the duo made a move, surging into second place and passing the Germans. 

“At the finish, we weren’t sure if we were second or third so we had to check that but it was a really tough sprint,” said Molins.

“We started sprinting 500 [meters out] just because we were thinking ‘let’s go for it.’ We really didn’t know, so we’d figure we’d go for it and we crossed the line and I looked over and figured I could see part of Germany so we were probably second. I was very relieved,” said Maietta. 

They had faith in their training and knew it could get them to this point in racing.

“I think we all came off of some tough collegiate racing,” said Molins. “We were a little tired, but really excited this summer to get together and prepare together. It was a lot of fun. It was a challenging boat, but I think being able to race together at [this] international competition made it all really worth it.”

“We had a really good group of girls pushing us at the camps, so any of our speed is partly their speed. They were the ones pushing us just like that in last 500 [meters] all summer, so it’s what we’ve been preparing for,” said Maietta.

Finishing in the gold and bronze medal positions were Italy and Germany, which finished in 7:30.98 and 7:37.32, respectively.

The lightweight women’s quadruple sculls of Sarah McErlean (Vevey, Switzerland), Caroline O’Brien (Darien, Conn.), Olivia Farrar (Pittsford, N.Y.) and Emma Starr (Walnut Creek, Calif.) won the bronze medal in 6:45.31. They established themselves in third place from the start and fought off France to hold their spot on the medal podium. 

“This whole summer, it’s all led up to this, so the bronze medal is just a little symbol of all the hard work we’ve done this summer,” said O’Brien.

“[The medal] is just icing on the cake of an entire summer of hard work that we did together,” said Farrar.

“I think one of the things we told ourselves is that, even though we are looking at the finish line from the start [of the summer], that final point isn’t why we did this,” said Starr. “This is for all of the days in between and that’s what gives value to this. If we were just racing and racing and winning, it wouldn’t mean nearly as much.”

Regardless, this finish serves as more than just another accolade. 

“This makes us want to work even harder and keep on going,” said O’Brien.

“I don’t want to stop here,” said McErlean. 

“We’re going to chip away until that bronze is a gold,” said Farrar. 

Italy won gold in a time of 6:26.68, well ahead of second-place Germany, which clocked a 6:33.38.

The U.S. earned fourth in the women’s pair, finishing in 7:24.06. Hadley Irwin (Washington, D.C.) and Sarah Johanek (Cleveland, Ohio) gained ground throughout the race, but just missed out on getting to the medal stand. Greece got ahead and stayed ahead, winning gold in 7:11.67. South Africa and Russia followed them in 7:16.24 and 7:18.35, respectively.

The lightweight men’s quad of Michael Wilson (Braintree, Mass.), Kieran Edwards (Arcata, Calif.), Jarrett Heflin (Wayzata, Minn.) and Edward “Cooper” Tuckerman (Bozeman, Mont.) finished just out of a medal place, coming in fourth in 6:07.90. The crew was sitting in sixth at the halfway mark before an incredible push vaulted them into fourth place by the end. Italy claimed first place in 5:59.12, ahead of France and Ireland, which finished in 6:00.20 and 6:01.98, respectively.

The women’s four with coxswain of Megan Varcoe (Porter Corners, N.Y.), Molly Gallaher (Snoqualmie, Wash.), Margaret Saunders (Arlington, Va.) and Kadee Sylla (San Francisco, Calif.), coxed by Aparajita Chauhan (Seattle, Wash.), crossed in 7:17.94, earning fifth place. Italy finished in first with a time of 7:02.22, a new World Rowing U23 Championships record. France and Australia finished in second and third place in 7:04.25 and 7:04.53, respectively.

The men’s four with coxswain of Adam Gold (Seattle, Wash.), Eli Maesner (Redmond, Wash.), Peter Chatain (Winnetka, Ill.), Evan Olson (Bothell, Wash.) and Nikita Lilichenko (Orinda, Calif.) started strong, crossing the 500 meter mark in second place, just 0.13 seconds behind leading Australia. Hotly pursued by two other boats less than a second behind, the U.S. slid into fourth by halfway and finished in sixth in 6:17.61. Australia won gold in 6:10.03, followed by Great Britain and Italy in 6:10.12 and 6:10.66, respectively. 

Collin Hay (Shrewsbury, Mass.) and Matthew Marchiony (Weston, Mass.) pulled into a sixth place finish in the lightweight men’s pair, crossing the finish line in 6:59.83. The pair was sitting in fifth place after the first quarter of the race before being overtaken by Mexico. Italy won the gold medal in 6:40.96, followed by Germany in 6:45.02. The bronze medal winner in the event is Hungary, which crossed in 6:45.11.

In the men’s pair B final, Mark Levinson (San Francisco, Calif.) and Daniel Perez (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) finished in third place with a time of 6:56.75. Germany won in 6:44.39. The U.S. crew finishes their championships in ninth place overall.

In the B final of the women’s quad, Hannah Paynter (Lyme, Conn.), Arianna Lee (Folsom, Calif.), Camille VanderMeer (Elmira, N.Y.) and Katy Flynn (Churchville, N.Y.) crossed the line in fifth place with a time of 6:47.74, finishing in 11th place overall in the competition. The winner was Canada, finishing in 6:37.93.

Semifinals in the remaining race categories were held before the finals on Saturday morning, which included three U.S. crews. 

In the extremely close lightweight men’s single semifinal, Sam Melvin (Costa Mesa, Calif.) finished in third place. Edging out the single sculler from Great Britain by only 0.14 seconds, the American crossed the line in 7:03.00. Melvin was in fifth place at the 500 meter mark, but pushed into third by halfway and held his position through the remainder of the race. He will race in the A final on Sunday alongside The Netherlands and Cyprus, which clocked 7:00.85 and 7:02.76, respectively. 

The men’s double sculls of Cole Dorsey (Rowayton, Conn.) and Mark Couwenhoven (Parkton, Md.) finished in fifth place in their semifinal with a time of 6:42.09 and will race in Sunday’s B final. Italy, Russia and the Netherlands advanced to the A final with semifinal times of 6:25.74, 6:29.16 and 6:31.28, respectively.  

Luke Smith (Tampa, Fla.) and Alexandar Damjanovic (Alexandria, Va.) took fifth in their respective lightweight double semifinal, clocking  a 6:45.70. The two will race in the B final tomorrow. The crews that advanced to the A final were Germany, Italy and Greece, which finished in 6:23.22, 6:27.19 and 6:34.34, respectively. 

James Wright (Philadelphia, Pa.), the men’s single sculler, finished his C final race in 7:15.62, placing 17th overall and fifth in the race. Brazil won the race in 7:09.13.

For all results, visit World Rowing.

Racing is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow with finals in the other 12 events.

USRowing Productions will stream all five days of racing live on ESPN3, ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, a destination that delivers thousands of exclusive sports events annually. It is accessible on and the ESPN app across computers, smartphones, tablets and connected streaming devices. The network is available at no additional cost to fans who receive pay TV subscription from an affiliated provider. The network also is available at no cost to U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers, smartphones and tablets connected to on-campus educational and on-base military broadband and Wi-Fi networks.

Complete press coverage, athlete bios and links to event information are available on USRowing’s coverage page

Follow along with the U.S. Under 23 National Team as it prepares for the 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships by using the hashtag #WRU23Champs.

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