Gildersleeve Wins Heat, Three Crews Advance on First Day at World Rowing Junior Championships

Katelin Gildersleeve (Dallas, Texas/Oklahoma City High Performance Center) won her heat of the women’s single sculls and two other U.S. boats — the men’s single sculls and men’s pair — also advanced directly to the semifinals on Wednesday, the first day of competition at the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships in Tokyo, Japan.

Racing at her first World Rowing Junior Championships, Gildersleeve overtook Germany’s Alexandra Foester in the second quarter of the race and then rowed away from the German over the final 1,000 meters to claim the victory and a spot in Saturday’s semifinals.

“It’s my first time being at worlds, so it was kind of just establishing where I start and from here I want to get better,” Gildersleeve said. “The race went well, but I still have a lot of room for improvement.”

Foester held less than a second advantage on Gildersleeve 500 meters into the race before the American took a similar lead at the midway point. Gildersleeve crossed the finish line in a 7:50.25, with Foester claiming second place, and the other spot in the semifinals, with a time of 7:53.88.

“I’ll just be focusing on those technical points that my coach emphasizes to me every row – making sure I hit those on top of the power and not losing site of those despite the conditions,” Gildersleeve said about her preparations for the semifinals.

In the men’s single sculls, Nicholas Aronow (Laurel Hollow, N.Y./Oak Neck Academy) advanced to Saturday’s semifinals off of a second-place finish in his heat. The Netherlands’ Joost Schwarz took the slightest of leads off the line ahead of Thailand’s Siripong Chaiwichitchonkul. Schwarz continued to lead the Thai sculler at the midway point of the race, but that’s when Aronow began to chase the leaders down.

Aronow passed Chaiwichitchonkul in the third 500 meters and began to close the gap on the Dutch sculler. However, Schwarz was able to hold off the second-half charge from Aronow, crossing 1.41 seconds ahead of the American. Schwarz clocked a 7:16.76, with Aronow finishing in a 7:18.17.

“I felt I had a solid start,” Aronow said. “I did everything I wanted to. Settle early – that’s what I like to do – and then through the 1k mark, that’s when I really started to push on Thailand and started walking on the first-place boat. I definitely want to work on a faster start (going into the semifinals). I don’t want to have to make up that much distance at the 1k mark.”

In the men’s pair, Adam Campain (Ann Arbor, Mich./Ann Arbor Huron High School) and David Edington (Portland, Ore./Rose City Rowing Club) advanced to the semifinals thanks to a third-place finish in their heat. The duo got off the line in third and maintained that position throughout the race, staving off the challenges from the Greek crew. Romania won the race, pulling away from the field in the second 500 meters. Germany finished second. The Romanians clocked a 6:43.91, followed by Germany in a 6:47.37. Campain and Edington crossed the line in a 6:52.56. The crew will race next on Saturday.

“We were really happy with our race,” Edington said. “(We) had a really strong start, which put us up in the middle of the pack and kept the cruise going from there. Every stroke was just really powerful, really clean, just focusing on our boat, and it turned out really well.”

In the women’s double sculls, Taylor English (La Claire, Ill./Y Quad Cities Rowing) and Delaney Evans (Bettendorf, Iowa/Y Quad Cities Rowing) held off a late charge from South Africa to finish second in their heat. The duo will race in tomorrow’s repechages for the chance to advance to the semifinals. With only one to advance, Belgium and South Africa took the early lead before the Belgians made a powerful move in the second 500 meters to take control of the race. The U.S. inched ahead of South Africa into second position at the midway point and extended its lead over the next 500 meters. Belgium won the race in a 7:19.67, with the U.S. crossing in a 7:23.70. South Africa finished a canvas behind in third.

The women’s quadruple sculls crew of Hailey Mead (Orinda, Calif./Redwood Scullers), Graciella Leon (West Palm Beach, Fla./Miami International RowHouse), Brenna Morley (Bettendorf, Iowa/Y Quad Cities) and Audrey Lyda (Pittsburgh, Pa./Three Rivers Rowing Association) just missed a spot in the semifinals, finishing fourth. The crew now will race in a repechage on Thursday. The Czech Republic took the lead off the start, with China following close behind. The two crews were in a virtual dead heat at the midway point of the race, before the Czech boat began to inch away. At the line, the Czech Republic secured a 1.35-second victory over China, crossing in a 6:42.33. Italy finished third to take the last automatic berth to the semifinal. The U.S. finished in a 6:55.53.

In the men’s quadruple sculls, the U.S. boat of Austin Lai (Oakland, Calif./Oakland Athletic Rowing Society), Malakai Leon (Sarasota, Fla./Sarasota Crew), August Altucher (Portland, Ore./Oregon Rowing Unlimited) and Theory Millar (Topanga, Calif./California Yacht Club) finished fourth and will race in Thursday’s repechages. The U.S. got off the line in third position and maintained that spot through the 1,000-meter mark. But New Zealand and Romania began to row away from the field over the third quarter of the race, securing the two spots in the semifinals. New Zealand won the race with a time of 5:58.58, followed by Romania in a 6:02.88. China finished third, with the U.S. crossing the line in a 6:08.36.

In the men’s double sculls, Gil Dexter (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Saratoga Rowing Association) and Peter Lawry (Alplaus, N.Y./ Saratoga Rowing Association) finished third in their hear and now will race in the repechages on Thursday. Off the line in fourth position, the duo rowed through Norway into third during back half of the race. With only one to advance to the semifinals, Russia took the lead off the line and slowly pulled away from Austria over the first 1,000 meters. The Russians finished with a time of 6:38.09, besting Austria by more than seven seconds. The U.S. clocked a 6:48.99.

On Thursday, six additional U.S. crews will hit the water for their heats in the women’s four with coxswain, men’s four with coxswain, women’s pair, women’s four, men’s four and men’s eight.

In the women’s four with coxswain, the U.S. crew will include five junior national team rookies in coxswain ​Carina Baxter​ (El Dorado Hills, Calif./Capital Crew), Lindsey Rust​ (Roslyn, N.Y./Friends of Port Rowing), ​Morgan Linsley​ (Princeton, N.J./Princeton National Rowing Association/Mercer), ​Aidan Wrenn-Walz​ (Arlington, Va./Washington-Lee Crew/Potomac Boat Club), and Alena Criss​ (Baldwinsville, N.Y./Baldwinsville Crew). Racing in the first of two heats, the U.S. boat will take on Australia, Italy and France, with the winner advancing directly to Sunday’s final. In 2018, the U.S. took the bronze medal behind Italy and Australia.

In the men’s four with coxswain, the crew of coxswain Elizabeth Romero​ (Pleasant Hill, Calif./Oakland Strokes), ​Michael Fairley​ (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Saratoga Rowing Association), Chase Haskell​ (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla./The Bolles School), Pablo Matan​ (San Jose, Calif./Los Gatos Rowing Club), and Jackson Stone (West Newton, Mass./Belmont Hill School) is looking to improve on last year’s silver-medal finish by the U.S. Fairley and Haskell return from that boat, which finished behind Italy and ahead of Australia in 2018. The crew will take on South Africa, China, Ireland and Australia in the first of two heats, with the top two finishers advancing directly to the final.

After winning the silver medal in 2018, the U.S. women’s pair features a new lineup of Heidi Jacobson​ (Greenwich, Conn./Connecticut Boat Club) and Kylie Oakes​ (Vero Beach, Fla./Treasure Coast Rowing Club). Jacobson won bronze in the four with coxswain at the 2018 World Rowing Junior Championships, while Oakes is competing at the international level for the first time. Greece took home the gold ahead of the U.S. last year, with Chile finishing third. With only the winner advancing directly to the final, Jacobson and Oakes will race China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Australia and the Czech Republic in the first of two heats.

The U.S. women’s four won gold at last year’s World Rowing Junior Championships ahead of Italy and New Zealand but returns only Julia Braz (Sarasota, Fla./Sarasota Crew) from that lineup. This year’s crew of ​Julia Abbruzzese​ (Ridgefield, Conn./Connecticut Boat Club), ​Isabella Batistoni​ (Issaquah, Wash./Holy Names Academy),​ Braz​, and ​Katherine Kelly​ (Vashon Island, Wash./Burton Beach Rowing Club) will begin defense of the world title in the second of two heats against crews from China, Denmark and Germany. The top two finishers advance to Sunday’s final. In addition to Braz, Abbruzzese brings experience to the boat having won a bronze medal in the four with coxswain last year. Batistoni and Kelly are making their international debuts.

The men’s four of Erik Spinka​ (Southport, Conn./Fairfield Prep), ​Alexander DeGrado​ (Jacksonville, Fla./Sarasota Crew), Owen Corr ​(Sarasota, Fla./Sarasota Crew), and Zachary Vachal​ (San Francisco, Calif./Pacific Rowing Club) will race in the second of two heats against crews from Spain, Great Britain, Australia and Greece, with the top two advancing directly to the finals. DeGrado and Vachal return from last year’s 10th-place crew. Great Britain won gold in 2018, followed by New Zealand and Italy. The British will boat an entirely new lineup in 2019.

Last year, the U.S. won the silver medal in the men’s eight behind Great Britain and just ahead of Germany. This year’s lineup includes coxswain ​Audrey Gates​ (Orinda, Calif./Oakland Strokes), ​Harrison Schofield​ (Sarasota, Fla./Sarasota Crew), ​Jacob Hudgins (Andover, Mass./Phillips Academy Andover), ​John Mark Ozaeta​ (Moraga, Calif./Oakland Strokes), ​Ian Burnett​ (Arlington, Mass./Community Rowing, Inc.), ​James Patton ​(Houston, Texas/Deerfield Academy Crew), ​Travis Keating​ (Placerville, Calif./Capital Crew), ​Savas Koutsouras​ (Culver, Ind./Culver Academies), and ​Greg Le Meur​ (San Francisco, Calif./Pacific Rowing Club). Schofield and Ozaeta return to the eight, while Le Meur and Keating also were on the team in 2018. With one to advance to the final, the American crew will race Poland and Germany in the second of two heats on Thursday.

Racing continues on Friday with the remaining repechages and C/D semifinals, as well as the race for lanes in the women’s eight. Saturday’s racing is highlighted by the semifinals and the start of placement finals. The medal races, along with the remaining B finals for places 7-12, will take place on Sunday.

More than 550 athletes from 50 countries are scheduled to race in Tokyo. This year’s U.S. roster includes 14 athletes returning from the 2018 team. Last year, the U.S. led the medal table with seven.

Complete press coverage, athlete bios and links to event information are available at USRowing’s 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships Coverage Page. Follow along with the U.S. Under 19 National Team as it prepares for the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships by using the hashtags #WRJChamps and #WRJChamps19.

Live video streaming will be available on the World Rowing website. The video streaming will start 10 minutes before the start of racing each day and will cover all races from Wednesday, August 7, through Sunday, August 11. From Wednesday to Saturday, the last 1,000 meters will be streamed. On Sunday, the full 2,000 meters will be streamed.

For the most up-to-date schedule and results, click here.


USRowing would like to thank the following partners for their support of Team USA:

JL Racing — USRowing Official Outfitter and Apparel Supplier

Filippi — Official Boat Supplier of the U.S. Junior Men’s National Team

Vespoli — Official Boat Supplier of the U.S. Junior Women’s National Team

Concept2 — Official Oars of the U.S. Junior National Team

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