Team USA Earns Five More Medals, Seven in Total at World Rowing Under 23 Championships

SARASOTA-BRADENTON, Fla.– Team USA earned five more medals, one gold, two silver and two bronze, on the final day of the 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships. After earning one silver and one bronze in the lightweight women’s pair and lightweight women’s quadruple sculls, respectively, the U.S. is taking home seven medals, the fourth most of the championships.

U.S. lightweight men’s single sculler Sam Melvin (Costa Mesa, Calif.) finished his A final in 7:06.67, earning the gold medal. 

“Honestly, it hasn’t sunken in,” said Melvin. “I don’t know, I feel pretty normal right now. It’ll sink in eventually.”

All rowers were within two seconds of each other at the 500 meter mark, with nobody having a clear advantage early on. Melvin went from last to first during the second 500 meters, but still having contact with all crews. He dominated the third quarter of the race, putting a three-second gap between him and The Netherlands. Crossing the finish line in first was something he could not quite put into words.

“[I was in] disbelief,” Melvin said. “Did that really just happen?”

The American also reflected on all the work he has put into training.

“It all paid off,” said Melvin. “It means the world to me. It confirms I’m on the right path and what I’m doing is working.”

The Netherlands finished with the silver medal followed by Austria with the bronze. The two finished in 7:06.83 and 7:08.92, respectively.

The men’s eight, coxed by Woods Connell (Bethesda, Md.) and rowed by Andrew Gaard (Madison, Wis.), Andrew Knoll (Greenback, Tenn.), Sam Halbert (Redmond, Wash.), Alex Miklasevich (Pittsburgh, Pa.), William Creedon (Denver, Colo.), Chris Carlson (Bedford, N.H.), Justin Best (Kennett Square Pa.) and Madison Molitor (Moses Lake, Wash.), won silver for the United States with a time of 5:36.21. The crew pulled their way into second place by the 1000 meter mark and held onto silver the rest of the way. The only crew that managed to hold off the U.S. was Great Britain, which finished in 5:34.30 to take gold. The Netherlands finished in third in 5:36.36. 

Emily Kallfelz (Jamestown, R.I.) repeated last year’s silver-medal finish in the women’s single sculls. Kallfelz strongly lead the majority of the race, but was overtaken by Australia in the sprint. She crossed the line in 7:37.61, just behind Australia’s 7:36.08. The Italians claimed bronze with a 7:38.13.

“[Medaling back to back years] is exciting. It was an okay race,” said Kallfelz. “In the middle of the race, I think the heat got to me a little bit. I got chills and couldn’t really see so it definitely wasn’t one of my better races, but I’m still excited. I can’t complain.”

The women’s four of Teal Cohen (Dallas, Texas), Meredith Koenigsfeld (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Kaitlyn Kynast (Ridgefield, Conn.) and Chase Shepley (Crystal Lake, Ill.) won bronze in 6:39.89. They were sitting in fourth place at the halfway point, but pulled into third by the 1500-meter mark. 

“It was a great effort all across,” said Shepley. “It was awesome racing out there, the other crews really gave us a good fight. I’m really proud of the way we performed consistently throughout the week.”

“I thought it was a good end to the summer, obviously,” said Kynast. “We were really proud to give the United States a medal and I’m happy to do it with these guys.”

After finishing, the crew needed reassurance that they had medaled.

“I wanted to know what place we were in,” said Cohen. “I think I knew we were in third but just making sure. We had a really good fight in the last 500 meters and I think we really used the fitness we gained this summer in the second half of the race when we needed to.”

While pleased with a bronze, the race didn’t pan out as the crew expected.

“No race ever goes according to plan,” joked Shepley. “I was proud we didn’t back down even when things didn’t go according to whatever plan we had and I think we stayed aggressive and attacked. I’m just really pleased with our performance.”

“I thought we stayed super relaxed,” said Cohen. “At 500 meters in, we were pretty down but I thought we stayed super internal in our boat and worked every stroke to get back in the race.”

Great Britain claimed the gold in this category, finishing in 6:34.22, followed by silver-medalists Ireland, which finished in 6:35.68.

The women’s eight, coxed by Isabel Weiss (Chicago, Ill.) and rowed by Larkspur Skov (Steamboat Springs, Colo.), Sophia Kershner (Palmyra, Va.), Mary Mazzio-Manson (Wellesley, Mass.), Kinsey McNamara (Chelmsford, Mass.), Kendall Fearnley (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Jeri Rhodes (St. Louis, Mo.), Sierra Tiede (Missoula, Mont.), and Madeline Perrett (Ann Arbor, Mich.) won the bronze medal with a time of 6:23.47, fending off the Romanians at the finish line. They got out to third at the beginning of the race and stayed strong in the position down the course. The Netherlands won gold in 6:17.93 followed by Great Britain who, by less than a second, edged out the U.S. boat with a time of 6:22.52. 

Brigid Kennedy (East Greenwich, R.I.), the U.S. lightweight women’s single sculler, finished in fourth place in 8:05.76. Kennedy trailed at the 500 meter mark but increased her speed in the second quarter, pulling her into fourth place at halfway. She held onto that position while pressure on the third-place finisher from Austria, which finished in 8:03.32. Great Britain won gold in a time of 7:58.28, followed by Germany in 7:59.98.

Elizabeth Ray (Miami, Fla.) and Grace Joyce (Northfield, Ill.) rowed the lightweight women’s double sculls to a sixth-place finish in 7:21.12. Switzerland took the gold in 7:03.83, followed by The Netherlands and Germany, which finished in 7:09.45 and 7:09.56, respectively.

In the B final of the women’s double sculls, the U.S. duo of Emily Delleman (Davenport, Iowa) and Elizabeth Sharis (Bettendorf, Iowa) exploded to a strong lead by the 500-meter mark pulling a 1:47.88 in the first quarter of the race. With the Canadians applying pressure down the course, the Americans held onto first and won the B final in 7:21.98. Canada crossed the line in 7:23.82. Delleman and Sharis finish in 7th place overall.

The men’s four finished their B final in second place with a time of 6:10.53. The crew of Liam Corrigan (Old Lyme, Conn.), George Esau (Long Lake, Minn.), David Bridges (Portland, Ore.) and Thomas Beck (Sandy, Utah) were in fifth place after the first 500 meters, but stuck to their race plan and made their way into second by the 1500-meter mark. The U.S. placed in eighth place overall in the Championships.

The men’s double sculls of Cole Dorsey (Rowayton, Conn.) and Mark Couwenhoven (Parkton, Md.) finished in fourth in their B final in a time of 6:48.03. They finish in 10th place overall. Great Britain won the B final in 6:35.87.

Placing fifth in the lightweight men’s double sculls B final was Luke Smith (Tampa, Fla.) and Alexandar Damjanovic (Alexandria, Va.). The two clocked 6:48.29, while Australia won in 6:38.86. That finish puts the U.S. crew in 11th overall.

For all results, visit World Rowing.

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

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