July 24, 2006
HAZEWINKEL, Belgium - Five athletes from the Washington rowing team, including four members the Canadian men's eight, collected gold medals Sunday at the World Under-23 Rowing Championships on the Bloso regatta course.
Half of the rowers in the victorious men's eight were Huskies who helped Canada open more than a second advantage after 500 meters and maintain the lead throughout the 2000-meter race.
"After the 500, we were about a boat length ahead and at that point we had a comfortable rhythm," said UW sophomore Will Crothers who was in the stroke seat of the boat. "We're ecstatic right now."
Joining Crothers in the Canadian crew were Huskies Rob Gibson, Max Lang and Chris Aylard. Crothers and Lang were members of the Huskies' national champion freshman eight crew in 2006. Gibson rowed in the UW varsity eight that finished fifth at the IRA championships.
Germany, which trailed by two seconds at the halfway point, made a push at the end, but Canada crossed the line in 5:30.72 to the Germans' 5:31.78. Italy earned the bronze, finishing in 5:32.67.
The U.S. men posted a fifth-place time of 5:36.56. The American crew included sophomore Jessiah Johnson, a product of Mercer Island (Wash.) High School who is the only Husky ever selected to the under-23 squad. The U.S. boat was coached by Michael Callahan, the men's freshman coach at UW. Callahan guided the Husky freshmen to the 2006 IRA title.
The coxswain for that championship UW frosh crew was Katelin Snyder (Winter Park, Fla.) who Sunday directed the U.S. to a gold-medal performance in the women's eight. The Americans clocked a 6:06.68 to cruise to a 2.3-second victory.
The U.S. crew established its lead during the first 500 meters and continued to walk away from the field during the middle half of the race, building an open-water advantage with 600 meters to go. Belarus made a late push during the final quarter of the race but could not mount a serious challenge. Belarus finished second in a 6:08.98, while Germany claimed the bronze medal in a 6:09.97.
The Under 23 event has been in existence for nearly 30 years. Held for the first time in 1976 in Macon, France, under the title "Seniors Match" it eventually became the "Nations Cup" in 1992. FISA's 2005 Extraordinary Congress in Dubrovnik, Croatia, voted to upgrade the World Rowing Under 23 Regatta to the World Rowing Championships status.
Under 23 rowers raced under the FISA flag for the first time in 2004. With the annual participation of approximately 40 countries and 600 athletes, the world of rowing is looking forward to watching Under 23 rowers in the build up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
(Some text courtesy of Row2K)
For additional information, please visit Row2K.com